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Semi-Final Preview, Team News And Prediction: Chelsea Vs Tottenham

Antonio Conte takes his Tottenham troops to Chelsea for the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi final, returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time since leaving the Blues in 2018.

Spurs approach the game and indeed the double header as underdogs but will be confident of springing an upset against a Chelsea side that have shown frailties of late. Indeed, Thomas Tuchel’s side have kept just one clean sheet across their last nine league games, while the off-field issue with Romelu Lukaku has been an unwelcome distraction.

It’s an issue that, for the time being at least, has been resolved, with the Belgian set to be named in the squad in midweek having issued a public apology. All eyes on the teamsheet to see if he is immediately restored to the starting XI ahead of a meeting with former Inter boss Antonio Conte.

There will no doubt be changes for both sides but it’s surely Spurs, with no European commitments and without a trophy in 14 years that will be more motivated to rectify that long wait for silverware.

Tournament: Carabao Cup, Semi-Final 1st Leg

Kick off: 19:45 GMT – Wednesday 5th January, 2022

Venue: Stamford Bridge, London

Where to watch: Sky Sports Football

Team News

Chelsea bid farewell to Edouard Mendy, who left on AFCON duty without Hakim Ziyech – ommitted from the Morocco squad – but would likely have been replaced by Kepa Arrizabalaga here regardless. With Reece James joining Ben Chilwell in the treatment room and Andreas Christensen also sidelined, Cesar Azpilicueta could play on the right of a three or at wing-back, with the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jorginho likely to return elsewhere.

Chelsea vs Tottenham: Semi-Final Preview, Team News and Predictio

Tottenham have fewer injury concerns but reports of a number of unconfirmed COVID cases in the squad cast real doubt over their potential lineup. Conte could hand the likes of Japhet Tanganga, Matt Doherty, Harry Winks, Dele Alli and Giovanni Lo Celso a rare chance to start if avaialable. However, given their cup craving and the form of the pair, Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min will surely remain if fit to do so

Chelsea vs Tottenham: Semi-Final Preview, Team News and Prediction

Head-to-Head: Romelu Lukaku vs Harry Kane

Two of the games finest strikers that, for one reason or another, haven’t been able to prove as much this season could face off on Wednesday as we wait to see if Romelu Lukaku is off the naughty step at Chelsea. While Kane made his displeasure at his club clear ahead of the season, Lukaku has done so during it but both will be keen to start 2022 as they left off at the end of 2021.

Lukaku has scored in each of his last three meaningful appearances either side of a 3-minute cameo against Leeds, while Kane also scored three times in December, quadrupling his meagre league tally for the season in the process. Both have five goals in domestic competition this season, though Lukaku’s modest return has come from significantly less playing time.

Chelsea vs Tottenham: Semi-Final Preview, Team News and Prediction

That said, the Chelsea star has a rotten record against Tottenham with just one goal – back in 2017 at Everton – in 14 appearances against them. Kane’s record in this fixture is modest by his standards too, it should be said, with the last of six goals against Chelsea coming in Spurs aforementioned last win against them back in 2019.

Prediction

It’s Chelsea that have had the better of recent meetings between the two, with Spurs’ last win inside 90 minutes over their London rivals coming at this stage of this competition back in 2019 before ultimately crashing out on penalties in the second leg. Chelsea are unbeaten in seven meetings between the two, conceding just three goals in that time.

That said, their defence is looking far more suspect of late and the Blues fans have become accustomed to witnessing draws on home soil, and a fifth in six matches at Stamford Bridge is a distinct possibility. Tuchel’s side have in fact drawn half of their last 14 matches in all competitions and ended eight matches after 90 minutes with a 1-1 scoreline, so that’s our tip for this one, with Tottenham having scored exactly one goal in four of their last five away games.

Smart pick: Tottenham exactly 1 goal

Value pick: Draw

Long shot: Match to end 1-1

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