Premier League

TOTTENHAM VS CHELSEA – CARABAO CUP SEMI-FINAL (1ST LEG) MATCH PREVIEW: 8TH JANUARY

Tottenham Hotspur head into the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final with Chelsea looking to move a step closer to lifting their first trophy since 2008. They beat Chelsea on that occasion in the League Cup final (known as the Carling Cup at the time) 2-1 in 2008 at Wembley.

Chelsea make the short trip to Wembley Stadium keen to make amends for their 3-1 defeat to Spurs at the end of November. The Blues are looking for revenge, and if they do so- hoping to move closer to helping Sarri win his first trophy in his whole managerial career.

The West-London club will be looking for a positive result (either a draw or a win) to take back to Stamford Bridge, as they would fancy their chances in the second leg if the tie is still close after the first leg tomorrow.

Spurs come into this game on better form than Chelsea. Both teams were in FA Cup action at the weekend, with Tottenham thumping Tranmere 0-7 away from home. Whilst the Blues eased into the fourth round after their comfortable 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

Tottenham sit 4 points ahead of the Blues in 3rd place, whilst the Blues are placed in fourth in the Premier League.

What time is the game on? and is it on TV in the UK?

Kick off is at 8:00pm (UK time) tomorrow.

The game is televised in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football.

Recent Form in all competitions

Tottenham- WWWLWW

Chelsea- WLWWDW

Team News

Tottenham

Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele are all expected to be absent for Spurs, despite moving closer to a return from injury.

Lucas Moura is out for tomorrow’s game after the Brazilian sustained a knee injury against Tranmere Rovers on the weekend in the FA Cup.

Erik Lamela could be named on the bench after illness, as will Fernando Llorente despite his treble against Tranmere on Friday.

Hugo Lloris, Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Moussa Sissoko and Christian Eriksen are all expected to start after not playing at Prenton Park against Tranmere Rovers.

Chelsea

Pedro is expected to return to training this week after a hamstring injury, but this game may come too soon for the Spaniard to feature in the first-team squad.

Willian is out of this game due to the knock sustained against Southampton last week. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is out of this game due to the back injury sustained against Nottingham Forest at the weekend in the FA Cup. Unfortunately, the Englishman is likely to be out for the rest of January.

The injuries to both Pedro and Willian may mean that Hudson-Odoi starts consecutive games for Chelsea. This could help Chelsea to get the youngster to sign a new contract as he is getting first team football at this moment. And if he keeps impressing- this could be his chance to breakthrough into the Chelsea eleven permanently.

This could be Alvaro Morata’s last game for Chelsea as he is heavily linked to make a move to either Sevilla or AC Milan. But this won’t happen unless Chelsea find a replacement before the window shuts.

Olivier Giroud could be on the bench for this game after recovering from his injury sustained against Crystal Palace at the end of December.

Mateo Kovacic may feature after illness, with the Croatian potentially replacing Ross Barkley who has started the last two fixtures.

Predicted starting eleven’s

Tottenham predicted starting eleven- Lloris, Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies, Sissoko, Winks; Eriksen, Alli, Son, Kane.

Chelsea predicted starting eleven- Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Morata, Hazard.

Manager Comments

Tottenham Manager: Mauricio Pochettino

On tomorrow night’s game:  “We’ve started the new year very well, with victories at Cardiff and Tranmere. Now we are going to face another competition, the Carabao Cup and the semi-final. We know very well that it’s going to be again 180 minutes, two legs. We’re going to play the first leg against Chelsea and it’s going to be tough. Chelsea is a great team, a team that will be tough to beat. The tie is 50-50. It will be a very exciting game. Hope to have the possibility to win and go to Stamford Bridge in a very good position”

On Transfers: “I think it’s not dependent on some players leaving. It’s more about finding the right player who fits for us, not only in the football side but is going to be a player that fits in all the areas. We know very well that summer is always difficult but winter is worse. Sure for us it’s going to be difficult for us to add players. I don’t expect to add players but of course if in the end we have the opportunity to add the right players we are going to try, we are always open in trying to improve the squad but it’s not about players in if these players leave the squad. We will not operate like this.”

On Dembele’s situation and a reported bid from China: “I’ve heard nothing yet. I know like you there are a lot of rumours. In the moment the club communicate with me about something then we’ll communicate with you if something happens. But at the moment I don’t know anything. But like all the players we spoke about in previous press conferences, that business is a different part. The player, the club, the situation, that is so clear. It depends on what the different parts want to do. If something arrives we are going to listen and then it’s what we want to do or the player wants to do, it’s about to negotiate, talk, like always it happens in that business.”

Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri (Quotes Credit- @NizaarKinsella Twitter account)

Sarri on injuries: “Pedro, Willian and Giroud are doing better. Yesterday they had training with the group. I don’t know if they will be able to play tomorrow. Not for 90 minutes. Loftus-Cheek is out now. We have to understand the situation with his back.

Sarri on Fabregas: “Cesc, no. I have no news about Cesc. I don’t know if he can play tomorrow, in the last match he had cramp in his calf. He needs to rest, I think.”

Sarri on reports of Fabregas flying to Monaco : “Yesterday he had a free day, so I don’t know [what he did].”

Sarri reveals that he allows Cesc to go to Monaco: “In my opinion he must go. He has an offer of two years.”

Sarri on Cagliari’s Barella being linked with a move to Chelsea: “If Cesc will go, of course, we need a replacement. Now with the midfielders, we are in trouble. The situation with Loftus-Cheek, I don’t know if it is serious or not, without Fabregas we are five.”

Sarri says Ampadu will replace Cahill, if he leaves Chelsea : “His mind is not completely involved in our situation. We have to wait. For Cahill, the situation is different. We have Ampadu so we don’t need a replacement.”

Sarri on Hudson-Odoi: “For me, he is an important player.”

Sarri says Hudson-Odoi is better off at Chelsea than Bayern: “I don’t think so because he is an English player, he is very young, he has a future. He has a future here in England, with the national team. He is important, I think.”

Sarri says Hudson-Odoi being an academy player is an asset:“I want good players but we are lucky because our academy is very very good. I think it is important because if you have five or six players from the academy, you have a soul, more than with 25 foreign players”

Sarri on Morata’s reaction to Forest goals: “It is more important to score than celebrate.” Adds he can have a good second part of the season.

Sarri on whether Morata is happy at Chelsea: “I hope so but I don’t know”

Sarri on Hudson-Odoi playing in the Premier League: “I think so, he is ready I think. We have important players in the same position, you want Willian or Pedro on the bench? He is ready”

Sarri on Spurs defeat: “We need to approach this match in another way because we lost that way in the first 15 minutes. They were more aggressive and determined than us. We know if the approach is the same then there’s no solution for us. I want to speak before about this”

Sarri says Chelsea’s intensity is more important than tactics but adds: “We will change tactics, I think.”

Sarri’s message to Chelsea fans, who will be under scrutiny for behaviour at Tottenham : “We need the support of our fans, of course, but we would like to have their support for us and not against the opponents.”

Head-to-Head record.

These two rivals have met each other 161 times over the years in all competitions with Chelsea having the better head to head record. Chelsea have beaten Spurs on 68 occasions in all competitions. There have been 40 draws between these two sides over the years. Spurs have beaten Chelsea 53 times in all competitions.

In terms of recent head to head record, Spurs have had the better of it- beating the Blues in their last two encounters which were in the League. The most recent encounter between these two sides came in November earlier this season when Tottenham beat Chelsea 3-1 at Wembley in the league.

In terms of League Cup/Carabao Cup head to head record, these two sides have met 8 times in this competition over the years, with Chelsea knocking Spurs out of the League Cup four times. There have been two draws in the Carabao Cup over the years between these two sides. And Spurs have beaten the Blues two times in the Carabao Cup.

The last encounter in the League Cup between these two sides, came in the League Cup final of the 2014/15 season (when it was known as the Capital One Cup), where John Terry and Diego Costa goals helped Chelsea win their first trophy of Mourinho’s second spell incharge of the Club.

Betting Odds/My Prediction

Bet 365 have made Tottenham’s favourites to win the first leg of this Carabao Cup semi-final against the Blues, and therefore take an advantage to the Bridge for the second leg. A Tottenham win is being priced at 11/10. A draw between these two sides in the first leg is being priced at 11/4. A Chelsea win is being priced at 5/2.

First goalscorer odds  (Betfair) (Source- Evening Standard)

  • Harry Kane- 10/3
  • Eden Hazard- 13/2
  • Lucas Moura- 13/2
  • Alvaro Morata- 15/2

My realistic prediction for this game is, unfortunately, a 2-1 win to Tottenham. I think the fact that we have an injury crisis doesn’t help, and with our injury crisis- I think that they have the stronger side. Furthermore, I think that they will edge the first leg. But a 2-1 loss for Chelsea isn’t a bad result, as they are more than capable of turning that deficit around at the Bridge where they have a good record against Tottenham.

My optimistic prediction as a Chelsea fan for this game is a 1-1 draw. I think they will go ahead through Kane in the first half, and we will get a last minute equaliser through Hudson-Odoi. I feel like this could be the youngsters moment to shine on the big stage.

What are your predictions for this game tomorrow evening? Comment down below…

By Danyal Khan

Categories: Premier League

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