Tottenham vs Chelsea – Carabao Cup 2018/19 Match Preview
We’ve reached the Semi-final stage of the Carabao Cup and with Manchester City having the relatively easier pairing of League One Burton Albion to deal with over two legs, it is fair to say that this is the first part of the main event at this stage as Tottenham play host to Chelsea this evening.
Both teams progressed to the Fourth Round of the F.A. Cup at the weekend after routine wins, although it must be said that Tottenham’s was far more comfortable after they hit League Two outfit Tranmere Rovers for seven at Prenton Park.
That result saw Spurs make a number of significant changes, largely with a view to this evening’s fixture while Chelsea had to name a stronger line up to make sure that they did not slip up against Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge.
Something that they eventually managed after Spanish international Alvaro Morata bagged a second half brace and although the former Real Madrid and Juventus man would have earned the plaudits, it was actually his compatriot Cesc Fabregas that was making the headlines.
That is because he all but said goodbye to the Chelsea fans during the win over Forest, first he was substituted late on and then subsequently he stayed behind to a receive a rapturous applause from the legion of home fans that were still in the ground.
And as of today it seems as if Tottenham are saying goodbye to a midfielder of their own, with the news that Mousa Dembele is to move to Beijing Quoan for a fee of £11m. The Belgian international will undoubtedly be missed, but at the same time it is fair to say that he is losing the battle against injury.
So much so, that he’s no longer to be fully able for battles such as the one that Chelsea will present later tonight. The two teams have already met this season at Wembley, with Spurs running roughshod over their crosstown rivals on their way to a 3-1 win.
However, you do get the feeling that Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri will not allow his players to make the same mistakes twice especially from a defensive point view, as they were ran ragged by the likes of Harry Kane and Heung min-Son.
For Son it is an opportunity to offer up a key performance before he heads off on international duty for South Korea, and there is no question that Spurs will miss his services while he is away. That said, he could offer a fantastic parting gift to the club, by pushing them one step closer to what I guess would be a home final of sorts.
Going into this tie you could well argue that Chelsea have the slight advantage what with the fact that they are playing the second leg at home, something that means that even if they lose by the odd goal then they know that being on their own turf will then play into their hands.
For Tottenham you almost get the feeling that they need to take a two goal advantage for Stamford Bridge, just to put a daylight between the two sides in the tie. At the same time, one should not forget the fantastic job they did their in the league last season.
The tie cannot be won tonight, but a heavy defeat for either club could well put things out of reach. We might see a bit of a feeling out process early on and the first goal will be crucial. I’ll leave it up to you, as to who manages to go in front.