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Chelsea vs Leicester City: FA Cup quarter-final preview and prediction as Courtois puts recent Barca gaffes behind him

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has held his hands up for Chelsea’s defeat to Barcelona in mid-week, saying that individual errors, including his own, cost his side on the night. 

Antonio Conte’s men were beaten 3-0 at the Camp Nou by the La Liga leaders, eliminating them from the last-16 stage of the Champions League for the third season running.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring for the hosts after just three minutes as he slotted through the legs of Courtois, before teeing up Ousmane Dembele to make it two after just 20 minutes.

Chelsea pushed hard but were unable to find a response and were punished once again by Lionel Messi after 63 minutes hit his second of the night and 100th ever Champions League goal to complete the scoring.

Following the defeat, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was keen to stand up and accept responsibility for his mistakes on the night.

“Individual mistakes cost us in both legs,” the Belgian said, “For the first goal, I didn’t expect the shot from Messi, and I was too late to close my legs, so it’s a mistake on my part and it’s not nice to start the evening like that.

“The others were missed passes and we paid for them, they scored from our mistakes.”

Courtois was on hand to deny Barca on numerous occasions on Wednesday night, but the Belgium international admitted ultimately it will be a game remembered for what he did wrong rather than what he did right.

He continued: “It’s annoying but I have to come out, say I made a mistake, I made some good saves as well, and it’s unlucky to go out to goals from mistakes. We just have to work hard and continue.”

Hopefully Thibaut Courtois is back on his game as he could be facing (if selected ahead of Willy Caballero) Leicester City and their predatory striker Jamie Vardy who certainly poses a number of threats to the Chelsea defence in their Sunday FA Cup quarter-final with a win meaning a trip to Wembley for the semi-final.

Jamie Vardy can certainly take chances when they come his way with his impressive pace and willingness to run in behind and chase lost causes plus he is capable of the spectacular so the Chelsea backline will have their hands full with the trio of likely England World Cup squad member Vardy, the sublime skills of the super-talented Riyad Mahrez as well as the emerging, pacy starlet Demarai Gray facing them on Sunday.

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The Foxes have 10 wins, 9 draws with 6 losses across all competitions since Craig Shakespeare was fired. Replacement Claude Puel has his side sitting in a very comfortable 8th position already well safe with 40 points and perhaps is now showing Southampton just what they are missing as the Saints languish in the relegation dog-fight with Mark Hughes given the job of saving them from the drop.

Puel perhaps has aspirations of catching Arsenal for 6th spot and Europa League qualification or at least overhauling the impressive Burnley side in 7th, who absolutely demolished former Everton and Man United boss David Moyes’ sorry West Ham outfit 3-0 at the London Stadium last weekend.

Chelsea have a relatively decent run-in to finish their last 8 Premier League fixtures and do face Moyes’ Hammers on April 8th at home but first they face Pochettino’s talented Tottenham Hotspur team in two weeks also at home when the League returns.

Chelsea’s next massive game (not that any games at this stage of the season are insignificant) is when Antonio Conte pits his wits against Jurgen Klopp and his currently 4th placed Liverpool side crucially to be played at Stamford Bridge in the second to last game of the season.

Liverpool are capable of scoring a load of goals but also of conceding a few while their attack can be managed as Manchester United showed last weekend at Old Trafford in their 2-1 defeat.

So other than playing Newcastle on the last day of the season which could quite possibly determine if Chelsea finish in the Champions League places, the Blues will only face 3 top 10 sides in the remainder of the 8 games in the season with the earlier postponed game against Sean Dyche’s 7th placed Burnley team making up the last of the top 10 teams the Blues will play when it gets fitted in.

We think the Blues will just have enough to beat Puel’s men at the King Power Stadium and we are calling for a 2-1 Chelsea win with Giroud and Hazard scoring.

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