FA Cup Semi-final preview: Chelsea V Tottenham Hotspur – 22 April

It will be a clash between two teams whose present forms are moving in opposite directions. While the Spurs registered their 9th consecutive victory, beating Bournemouth 4-0 in a Premier League clash, EPL leaders Chelsea conceded their second defeat in 4 games after a run of 12 winning games. In the 0-2 loss against Manchester United on Sunday, the dreaded Blues front line looked jaded with Hazard being immobilized by Herrera, Diego Costa looking more confrontational than productive and Pedro ineffective – this despite a possession rate of 54 per cent. The inability to finish well could prove costly to Antonio Conte’s men when they run into a rampaging Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday for the FA Cup semi-final clash. The good news for the Lilywhites is that their top striker, Harry Kane, is back from a long injury hiatus and ominously for Chelsea has found his scoring touch almost immediately, finding the back of the net in his side’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth and even assisting in another. Mousa Dembele, one of the scorers in the Bournemouth win, will be a scourge at the Wembley and with a passing accuracy of over 90 per cent in most matches, the Chelsea defence is likely to be under immense threat from this attacking French mid-fielder. Not to speak of the men upfront, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli, Eriksen and Janssen who have all been among the goals of late.

For Chelsea, Thibaut Courtois should be back from a training injury to replace Asmir Begovic between the posts for the Wembley clash. Also, back should be Spaniards Marco Alonso and Cesc Fabregas. The return of these three key men should find Antonio Conte’s side in full strength for the semi-final clash. Although Spurs have recorded just a solitary win against Chelsea from their last 5 encounters, they managed to beat Chelsea 2-0 in as recently as January this year. Chelsea have won 7 FA Cups of which 3 have come in the 2009 to 2012 phase alone. Tottenham have 8 to their credit but haven’t won one since 1991.

Bookmakers seem to have factored in recent FA Cup history in giving Chelsea a wafer-thin edge in Saturday’s clash. But given the performance in March/April outings of these two, the momentum seems to be with Tottenham. One could see a possible score line of 2-1 for either sides.


Chelsea win: 8/5

Tottenham win: 7/4

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