Chelsea are just four points ahead of Tottenham in the Premier League with just five more fixtures to go. Tomorrow attentions turn to the FA Cup as both teams meet in the semi-finals at Wembley.
The blues have not lost back-to-back matches for more than a year, a defeat to Spurs could have an even more damaging effect for Chelsea than seeing them crash out of the FA Cup. It would certainly ramp up the pressure ahead of tricky fixtures against Southampton and Everton in the league next week.
However, when it comes to this stage of competitions like tomorrows game Chelsea usually have the edge in terms of experience. The Blues have won the FA Cup six times since Spurs last lifted the trophy, most recently doing so in 2012.
What the managers say
Blues boss Antonio Conte says;
“Spurs are a great power in English football and can no longer be considered underdogs“
“I think if there is one favourite it’s Chelsea because they are top of the table, because of the experienced players and the manager that they have.
We are talking about one of the best teams in Europe. But we are in a good moment, too, and we are hungry to challenge this type of team.”
Gary Cahill looks almost certainly miss the cup tie due to illness, Thibaut Courtois (ankle) and Marcos Alonso (ill) both missed Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Manchester United but are expected to be fit to line up at Wembley.
Otherwise Conte has a fully fit squad to work with ahead of the facing what he recently described as “the best team in England”
Possible Line Ups
Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Gary Cahill; Victor Moses, N’Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Eden Hazard, Diego Costa
Tottenham: Hugo Lloris; Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen; Kyle Walker, Victor Wanyama, Mousa Dembele, Ben Davies; Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Harry Kane
The Blues have only lost one of their last five FA Cup semi-final ties, but it was in their last such appearance in 2013 (vs Manchester City).
Tottenham have lost each of their last six FA Cup semi-final appearances (1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2010 and 2012). Should they lose this, they’ll set a record for consecutive FA Cup semi-final defeats (Chelsea also six between 1920 and 1966).
The last time these sides met in the competition was in the 2012 semi-final, with Chelsea running out 5-1 winners en route to lifting the trophy.
Pedro has scored four goals and assisted a further two in his three FA Cup appearances for Chelsea this season.
Chelsea lost their last match against Manchester United – they’ve not lost back-to-back games in all competitions since April 2016 (vs Swansea and Man City).
The Chelsea v Totthenham betting odds have the Blues as slight favourites to overcome Spurs in 90 minutes on Saturday – priced at 8/5. Tottenham can be backed at 33/20.
However, Chelsea are odds on favourites to qualify for the FA Cup final with the bookies pricing them at 8/13, and Tottenham at odds of 6/5. Chelsea are joint favourites to lift the trophy, themselves and Man City can both be backed at 2/1 to take the silverware. (Prices from Bet on Brazil – odds may fluctuate)
Is the game on TV?
The match will be televised live on BBC One, with coverage starting from 4.50pm (UK)
It’s going to be a close game that could go either way. Tottenham are in the better form but Chelsea are more experienced when it comes to this stage of competitions.
When you look at both teams the defences so solid and then the attacking creative players are also similar. The only department where Spurs shade is in the striking department, Diego Costa has been awful the past couple of months where Tottenham’s Harry Kane has been scoring for fun.
I predict Chelsea to just shade it 2-1 in extra time.