Chelsea v Tottenham: Team news, predictions & odds
April 22 2017, 16:11Football
April 22 2017, 16:11Football
Our match pack for Saturday's FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Tottenham includes team news, statistics, manager quotes, odds & our prediction.
The game kicks off at 1715 BST at Wembley, live on BBC One.
David John says: Spurs have definitely parked their tanks on the Chelsea lawn over the past fortnight and the spin doctors are advertising Saturday afternoon’s showdown as some sort of Premier League title decider.
Chelsea’s Gary Cahill was first out of the blocks as he desperately tried to play down the significance in the longer term of facing their fast-finishing rivals in the top flight.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane responded with the theory a victory here could have a significant psychological effect over the closing six games in a build-up where we all seem to have lost track of the fact there is actually an important Cup semi-final buried somewhere in amongst all the posturing.
Whatever the subsequent fallout, Saturday’s game has a beguiling quality coming in the midst of Antonio Conte’s stickiest spell as Chelsea boss while Tottenham stage a late-season blitzkrieg that stands at eight wins on the bounce.
Punters seem to be keeping faith with the Blues though as the market starts to take shape with them narrow favourites to win in 90 minutes and a fraction of odds-on to qualify for next month’s final.
That support suggests the team that has been the best in England for 4/5ths of the season will bounce back with gusto following a 2-0 defeat last weekend against Manchester United.
The excuses for a very lame effort at Old Trafford have poured out from the Chelsea camp – Conte blamed himself for not motivating his team enough. Officials blamed a bug affecting some of the squad. Players blamed a rare off day. Thibaut Courtois blamed the NBA.
The performance smacked of being outwitted by ex-boss Jose Mourinho mixed in with a case of good old fashion nerves after Tottenham had cut the deficit at the top to a very manageable four points 24 hours earlier.
They could not fashion a chance on target, Eden Hazard barely got a sniff, N'Golo Kante lacked his usual influence and Diego Costa returned to the narky, irritable character of last season as his domestic goal drought now tallies six games.
Conte might imitate a whirling dervish at times on the touchline but he strikes me as man who will not resort to bouts of panic – a lot of fuss surrounded Chelsea’s defeat to Crystal Palace but the Italian steadied the ship as his side immediately delivered big victories over Manchester City and Bournemouth.
He is going to have to really dig deep once more against the one side that has not chucked in the towel against them this season and played them off the park at White Hart Lane in early January with a thoroughly convincing performance.
There have been few setbacks since for Mauricio Pochettino’s men outside of a ropey Europa League effort and they seem to be making a perfectly timed run on the two competitive fronts remaining.
Confidence is sky high and reflected in an attacking verve that has seen them average over three goals per game during the current winning streak while the defence has not lost any of its miserly qualities.
Perhaps this season all the little things might be falling in their favour as well.
Kane’s ankle injury sustained against Millwall healed much quicker than expected and he is back in the goals although the versatility and dedication of this group of players covered his absence in ample fashion.
Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-Min and Mousa Dembele are an embarrassment of riches at the peak of their powers for Pochettino in midfield and man for man at the moment, this is a team that are a match for anyone in the country.
Perhaps the only thing left to conquer is the strange recent affliction developed playing at Wembley but it is not possible to hold some trivial mental block against a group this good for too long.
It is hard to believe Tottenham are the underdogs and I think it is going to be tough for Chelsea with those few creeping doubts to stop the current momentum of their rivals.
How the rest of the season will play out on the back of this fixture is a debate for another day but I am very keen on Spurs ensuring they are coming back here on May 27.
Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Chelsea
Defender Gary Cahill is almost certainly out of Chelsea's FA Cup semi-final with Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday due to illness.
Cahill was admitted to hospital this week with gastroenteritis, with Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma possible replacements and John Terry likely to be on the substitutes' bench.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is available again following an ankle injury which saw him miss last Sunday's loss at Manchester United.
Tottenham defender Danny Rose will not recover in time for the Wembley clash.
Rose has begun training again after missing almost three months with a knee injury but the full-back will not feature against Chelsea.
Erik Lamela and Harry Winks are both out with hip and ankle injuries respectively while goalkeeper Michel Vorm is also unavailable with a knee problem.
Chelsea (from): Courtois, Begovic, Fabregas, Zouma, Alonso, Kante, Hazard, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Pedro, Costa, Matic, Willian, Batshuayi, Terry, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Luiz, Eduardo, Aina, Ake.
Tottenham (from): Lloris, Lopez, Whiteman, Davies, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Dier, Wimmer, Walker, Trippier, Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Sissoko, Onomah, Son, Janssen, Kane.
Antonio Conte (Chelsea)
On Tottenham: "There is a moment you have to finish considering yourself an underdog. I think this is the right moment.
"Tottenham now is a really great power in English football. This is the third year for them (under Pochettino) and I think it's the right moment to finish (talking about being) considered (an) underdog and to find his excuse."
On whether the FA Cup clash will have an impact on the Premier League run-in: "I don't think if one team wins or loses it can affect the other competition."
On Gary Cahill's availability: "Our doctor preferred to bring him to the hospital and to check his condition,.
"Not a serious problem, but now Gary is getting better and is improving a lot."
"If you ask me for tomorrow, my answer is it is very difficult."
On John Terry's departure: "If you ask me is he a serious loss for next season? Yes, I think so.
"The problem is that John wants to play regularly and for this reason I think that we have to respect his decision."
Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)
On whether Spurs need silverware to be successful: "Here is a massive success.
"Yes, you can win titles. But with which teams? It is normal to win titles with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, maybe Juventus, Porto in Portugal.
"With a big team, you are already very close to winning. Look at Barcelona with Pep (Guardiola), with Tito Vilanova, with (Frank) Rijkaard, with Luis Enrique. All different managers but with the same group of players and they were successful.
"Success for me is to finish in the top four like last season. It was a big success for Tottenham and means maybe more than winning one title with Barcelona.
"I dream of lifting trophies but the way I did with Espanyol, two Copa del Reys with Espanyol, that is why I admire Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid. It is so difficult to win with Atletico Madrid. He deserves more credit maybe than some others."
On being ahead of schedule: "I think the process when we started three years ago, was the club creating new facilities, a new stadium, that was the plan and the team was here too.
"But it's true that the step was massive from the team, while the club is still growing up, but not in the same pace. And now maybe we need to wait a little bit for the club to arrive - to finish the new stadium, to move from Wembley to White Hart Lane again.
"And that moment will be the moment to push and try to win. But, if this season we can win, or next season we can win some titles, it's welcome."
On backing up last season's efforts: "We are, over two seasons, the best or the more consistent.
"We are showing that we are a team that you can trust. It is another thing to take 100 points and win the Premier League, and then another season to take 40 or 45 points and be fighting in the middle of the table."
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.
In all competitions, Spurs have won just two of their last 16 meetings with Chelsea (D7 L7), though they did win the last game between them 2-0 in January.
This will be the fourth meeting between these sides at the new Wembley, making it the joint-most played fixture at the ground since it re-opened in 2007 (Chelsea v Man Utd also four).
Since beating Chelsea in the League Cup final in 2008, Tottenham have won just one of their eight games at Wembley (D2 L5), beating CSKA Moscow in a Champions League group stage game in December.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have lost two of their last three games at the ground, with the victory coming against Tottenham in the 2015 League Cup final.
Son Heung-Min has been involved in more goals than any other player in this season’s FA Cup (6 goals, 1 assist).
Pedro has scored four goals and assisted a further two in his three FA Cup appearances for Chelsea this season.
Tottenham players have scored a hat-trick in each of the last two rounds (Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min).
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).
Tottenham meanwhile have won their last eight games in all competitions – they’ve only enjoyed a longer such run once in their history (13 games, April-October 1960).
Sky Bet find it almost impossible to pick a favourite for the first FA Cup semi-final, with Chelsea marginally shorter odds at 13/8 to win in 90 minutes and 10/11 to make the final. Tottenham will certainly have their backers at 9/5 as they arrive in red-hot form, while a draw and extra-time is a 23/10 chance. The first goalscorer market is also a tight one, with Diego Costa and Harry Kane inseparable at 9/2 apiece, followed by Eden Hazard (11/2), Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son (both 13/2). Click here to place your bets
Ben Coley believes the best way to bet on the FA Cup final is to keep things simple and side with the favourites.
A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed.
Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.