Chelsea v Leicester FA Cup Final: Back Tuchel's men to lift the cup
Chelsea look worthy favourites to beat Leicester in Saturday's FA Cup final and Andy Schooler has found a way to back them at 11/4...
Blues' Tuchel turnaround
Chelsea have improved markedly under Thomas Tuchel and look worthy favourites for Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley.
Most always felt the Blues' squad was a strong one but Tuchel has got them sorted out defensively and turned them into a side much more likely to win football matches.
Long-term, his methods may win criticism for a lack of entertainment but right now his team stand on the verge of a two-trophy season, something which looked highly unlikely a few months ago.
Chelsea, 1.53 to lift the trophy and 2.0 to win the match in 90 minutes, have lost just three of 26 games since the German's arrival, and each of those comes with a caveat.
West Brom beat a side who played for an hour with 10 men, Porto won 1-0 in injury time in the second leg of a tie Chelsea already led 2-0, and Arsenal were 1-0 victors on Wednesday night against a much-changed XI, clearly selected with one eye on this match.
Tuchel said afterwards he had picked the wrong side for the job - and the result now leaves the race for a top-four finish very tight - but his decision-making showed he is far from taking this game lightly.
The likes of Timo Werner and N'Golo Kante will return, although both Mateo Kovacic and Andreas Christensen - two of the players rejuvenated under Tuchel - remain injury doubts.
Evans worry for Leicester
Leicester, 2.8 to win the Cup and 4.4 to do so in normal time, are sweating over the fitness of key defender Jonny Evans. Given what was said by Brendan Rodgers on Thursday, even if he does play he'll be doing so at less than 100%.
They are already missing Harvey Barnes and James Justin, star performers earlier in the campaign but then struck down by long-term injuries.
Such absences have begun to be felt of late with Leicester's form coming into this match hardly sparkling - a major concern with Liverpool closing in the race for those top four spots.
After being forced to come from behind to earn a late win over Palace, the Foxes were unable to beat Southampton despite playing against 10 men for 80 minutes. They then lost 4-2 at home to Newcastle when Evans was missing and although they righted the ship on Tuesday at Manchester United, they basically beat a reserve side that night.
On the plus side, Leicester have only lost one of their last six meetings with Chelsea and they also have a strong record against the big boys this season - they've won a league game against every side bar West Ham and Everton.
But this is a different prospect to taking on Chelsea under Lampard - Evans himself admitted so on Thursday - especially given the goal drought Jamie Vardy has suffered, while James Maddison is yet to return to his pre-injury form.
Chelsea have kept 18 clean sheets in Tuchel's 26 matches so far, including against Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.
They've regularly delivered in the big games and look capable of completing the job here.
The best way to back Chelsea
While the 90-minute odds about Chelsea look perfectly acceptable, it's worth checking out at some bigger prices which the stats suggest make sense.
They've won without conceding more often than not since Tuchel took the reins - 14 of those 26 games have gone this way - so 2.92 in the 'win to nil' market makes plenty of appeal.
But the 11/4 about Chelsea and under 2.5 goals looks the best bet.
This has also occurred 14 times out of 26 under the tactically-astute Tuchel.
The unders are a clear favourite on the 2.5-goals line - 1.73 will be based largely on Chelsea games landing this 22 times out of 26 under Tuchel - so if you also fancy the Blues, this looks a strong way of getting a good price.
For those concerned about Leicester's goalscoring ability - fortunately for them, Kelechi Iheanacho has filled the Vardy void well of late - Chelsea and under 3.5 goals provides a safety net and certainly has merit at 7/5.
Consider final cards play
The other bet I like in this game comes in the cards market where over 30 bookings points is at 4/5.
Domestic cup finals (FA and EFL) have seen some strong card make-ups in recent years with 10 of the last 13 having 50+ booking points.
Clearly a huge amount is at stake but another reason I'd suggest for this is that the referee in such a game is very much in the spotlight in terms of potential promotion (to UEFA positions, for example) and so applies the letter of the law, which these days is pretty strict.
Michael Oliver is the man with the whistle on this occasion and he's averaging 32.5 booking points per game in the Premier League.
Only six teams have seen more yellow cards than Leicester this season and while Chelsea's card figures have gone down considerably under Tuchel, they have picked up two or more in four of their last eight games in all competitions.
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