Ross Barkley came off the bench to take Chelsea to Wembley as the half-time changes made by manager Frank Lampard changed this quarter-final at Leicester City in the FA Cup.
The Foxes swayed at the King Power Stadium in the first 45 minutes, but it took a flying save from Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel to hold away the strong drive from Christian Pulisic.
The anger of Lampard could be heard ringing throughout the nearly empty arena-and he responded by adding Barkley, Mateo Kovacic, and César Azpilicueta at the break for Reece James, the relaxed Billy Gilmour, and Mason Mount.
When Chelsea changed dramatically it had the desired effect. Barkley, who was on target in last round’s 2-0 victory against Liverpool, scoring the winner after 63 minutes as he responded to get in just ahead of Jonny Evans and sweeping the clever cross of Willian past Schmeichel.
After the break, Leicester, without the injured James Maddison, was out of control, while late pressure was applied and defender Caglar Soyuncu was upset late when his header hit Azpilicueta and sailed over.
A quarter-final of the FA Cup behind closed doors involves none of the excitement and noise that normally surround such occasions, with a position on a stake in the last four. However, it enabled those few of us inside the ground to hear several loud blasts of Chelsea manager Lampard’s “liven up, liven up” as he expressed his disappointment at the early inability of his side to cope with the bright start of Leicester City.
In the first 45 minutes, Leicester struggled to get the most out of possession and Lampard was able to make some substitutions that turned the game back in favor of Chelsea.
Talented boy Billy Gilmour had one of those halves that all young players can have, giving away too much of the ball and having little impact-he’ll learn from it.