Chelsea v Leicester City: These Foxes must Start in Quarter-Final Clash

Enzo Maresca will get another tough test as Leicester City enter the quarter-finals of the FA Cup against Premier League strugglers Chelsea. Here are the players the Italian must start if the Foxes are to progress to the semi-finals.

Hull City v Leicester City - Sky Bet Championship
Hull City v Leicester City - Sky Bet Championship / George Wood/GettyImages

The Italian head coach has had a brilliant start to life at the King Power. However, with Championship form inconsistent of late, the FA Cup represents a huge opportunity to test our metal and give the team hope of actually winning. The closer we get to the semis and the final, the better we can expect the confident Foxes to perform.

That being said, the side still have to face off against a Premier League club which is struggling in the top tier, so will be looking at the cup for their own opportunity of winning something. Chelsea will likely rotate their team significantly, but that rotated XI will still be a strong squad: they do sign enough players.

Three Leicester City stars who must play

Maresca should not look to play a weak side, and at the same time an amount of rotation should be expected and preferred: using the same team which drew to Hull City is not the best choice against a PL team, while also risking further fatigue for the team. This means key players will be dropped, but some simply must star.

1. Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho
AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City - Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round / Warren Little/GettyImages

The Nigerian striker has fallen out of favour after his return from AFCON: with Jamie Vardy returning to form recently, and Patson Daka being the main choice until lately. 'Seniorman Kels' has 0.78 in xG+xA/90 and has some of the best expected assists statistics of his career. Against Chelsea, we need someone strong, creative, and can play with their back to goal: that is Kelechi Iheanacho.

2. Marc Albrighton

Marc Albrighton
Leicester City v Birmingham City - Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round / Michael Regan/GettyImages

The English winger is a versatile, experienced, and ready-to-go legend capable of playing in multiple positions and with a couple of tricks up his sleeve: particularly crosses. Against Chelsea, we can expect to be on the backfoot for most of the fixture, so it makes less sense focusing on using a technically gifted Stephy Mavididi who will have the ball too little. Instead, the experienced Albrighton will offer a different way to create chances and a defensive acumen on the wing to support us in winning the ball back.

3. Jakub Stolarczyk

Jakub Stolarczyk
Leicester City v Birmingham City - Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round / Michael Regan/GettyImages

The Polish goalkeeper has been stellar this campaign. During Stolarczyk's EFL Cup run out, the 'keeper only conceded against PL title contenders Liverpool. No goals conceded in his one appearance against Huddersfield in the Championship, and then only two goals conceded in the FA Cup thus far. Those stats are exceptional, and represent a good team in-front of him and a strong sense of positioning from the Polish goalie.

Leicester City must start these three if it wants the rotation, hunger, experience, and reliability to have a chance at beating Premier League opposition. None of them have let us down recently, and all three have put out performances deserving of an opportunity against tough opposition. Furthermore, with the Championship fixture run the Foxes have, Maresca has to adequately rest the core of the side.