Chelsea vs Leicester: Predicted Foxes XI

The Foxes travel to Stamford Bridge for an FA Cup Quarter Final tie this weekend. Here, we predict the team Enzo Maresca will put out.
Fond memories for Foxes fans
Fond memories for Foxes fans / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

It is something of a relief for the Foxes to put their stuttering promotion campaign on hold for an FA Cup tie against Chelsea where they really have little to lose. Leicester fans will remember, of course, that the last time the two clubs met in the competition was the final at Wembley in 2021.

Predicting the starting XI for Sunday's match is difficult. On the one hand, Maresca has so far used the competition to rest key members of his squad whilst giving opportunities to players who have rarely featured in the league campaign. On the other, the international break means that league action won’t resume for a couple of weeks so those players not involved in playing for their countries will get an extended break before the encounter with Bristol City on March 29. Added to this is the fact that the Foxes are only one step away from a Wembley appearance with the kudos and – not to be sniffed at given the club’s current predicament – extra income that involves

All of these factors will determine Maresca’s team selection. What is for certain, the starting XI will not be quite as strong as some commentators are suggesting.

Jacob Stolarczyk is likely to start in goal as he has done in previous rounds, not least because Mads Hermansen will be away with the Danish squad after the weekend. At full back, Hamza Choudhury and James Justin will not be on international duty whereas Callum Doyle has been picked for the England under 21 squad. However, the need to rest Justin might be more important at this stage of the season. At centre back, Jannik Vestergaard and Wout Faes will represent Denmark and Belgium respectively so I expect they will be left out on Sunday to be replaced by Conor Coady and Ben Nelson.

In midfield, unlike in previous rounds, Harry Winks, not subject to an international call-up, is likely to feature. I suspect he will be partnered by Younis Akgun and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. Wilfred Ndidi is unlikely to be risked partly because he hasn’t played much since returning from injury and partly because he will be away with Nigeria in the international break. 

Predicting the wide players is tricky. Maresca might be tempted to choose Stephy Mavididi in one of the wide positions so he can play his way back into form. It also isn’t clear if Abdul Fatawu is in the Ghana squad for their upcoming friendly with Nigeria. Kasey McAteer is still out injured. It wouldn't surprise me if Marc Albrighton occupies one of the wide roles. 

Maresca is unlikely to opt for Patson Daka or Kelechi Iheanacho, both away on international duty after the weekend, for the forward spot. With Jamie Vardy unavailable, it looks like Tom Cannon will get the nod for a starting role.

My predicted XI is therefore:

Jacob Stolarczyk

Hamza Choudhury

Conor Coady

Ben Nelson

Callum Doyle

Harry Winks

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Yunis Akgun

Marc Albrighton

Tom Cannon

Stephy Mavididi