Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea: Why this FA Cup semi-final match is 50/50
Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea meet again this year. This time, only one will walk away the victor.
That is what the stakes are on Sunday at Wembley Stadium when Spurs and Chelsea face each other in the second FA Cup semi-final deciding which of them face Liverpool, who themselves are gunning for a second piece of silverware to patch up the wounds from a terrible 2012 campaign.
Chelsea and Spurs’ fates seem inextricably linked this entire season. They have recorded 2 draws in their 2 meetings this season. In the Premier League, they are separated by 2 points only.
Chelsea have dropped from 5th place to 6th, courtesy of emerging thorn in the side Newcastle United. Alan Pardew’s men are mounting a strong push for a place in Europe and with Arsenal seemingly locking down that 3rd spot, both of these teams will have to play every remaining game as if it were a cup final.
And for Chelsea, herein lies the problem. While pushing for a CL spot, they are in contention for a current Champions League trophy as well. One cannot help but feel a slight amount of surprise that they are still alive and well in 2 cup plays and still challenging for at least 4th place considering their season started out akin to a sinking ship being led by stubborn skipper Andre Villas Boas.
How times have changed. Roberto Di Matteo is pulling off magic at Stamford Bridge. Exaggeration? His record speaks for itself. 8 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss in all competitions. Roman Abramovich himself could not have forseen this but in retrospect casting Boas off seems to have been the correct decision.
Tottenham started their campaign very strong indeed but have recorded 2 wins, 2 draws and a shock loss to Norwich mid week in their last 5 games. Spurs seem to have faded despite containing considerable depth in their squad.
Defenders Younes Kaboul and Michael Dawson are ruled out while Ledley King is doubtful having played so recently. On the positive side, Scott Parker and Rafael Van der Vaart both return. Gallas will be called upon in the back.
John Terry will be in action despite his cracked ribs. Romeu and Bertrand are ruled out while Ashley Cole is not 100%. Branislav Ivanovic is suspended for 3 matches by a retrospective FA ruling. Di Matteo will probably use Drogba and keep Torres fresh for next week.
This is a tough one to call. Chelsea will rest key players ahead of their clash next week against Barcelona. Di Matteo insists they have their eyes on the ball at Wembley. Harry Redknapp has hinted his desperation at a trophy.
The drama is still alive and well. But only one team can walk out of Wembley tomorrow.