Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the League Cup final as Chelsea take on Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium. Today's game sees two London rivals go head to head in the capital and it could well be a classic. Over the next few hours we'll be bringing you all of the build-up as well as the match itself. So, let's get this show on the road!
As soon as these two teams made it through their respective semi-finals there has been a huge amount of anticipation. Both Chelsea and Spurs are enjoying strong Premier League campaigns and there is sure to be a wealth of talent on show at Wembley today.
There are already huge throngs of supporters around the stadium, and they're already making plenty of noise as we head towards kickoff at 4pm. Let's hear a bit from manager Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino...
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho: "This cup final is the most important of my career. More important than the Champions League finals. More important than all the other cups I've ever played before.
"Do I look stupid? It's just because it's the next one. The others are in the club museum. My medals are somewhere at home, I don't know where... but the most important game of my career is always the next one."
Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino: "We believe that we are stronger than our opponents always. We work hard to provide the players with this feeling and it's a very positive thing for us to believe in our power.
"I'm not worried about Chelsea or their players. They are one of the best teams in the world and I think that whoever plays for Chelsea has the same philosophy. They are a great team, but we need to focus on our game."
So, how did these two teams make it through to the final? Chelsea saw off Bolton Wanderers, Shrewsbury Town and Derby County in the early rounds before beating Liverpool over two thrilling legs in the semi-finals. Their encounter with the Reds at Stamford Bridge was one of the game's of the tournament so far as they earned a 2-1 victory on aggregate. You can take a look at their results below:
Third round: Chelsea 2-1 Bolton
Fourth round: Shrewsbury 1-2 Chelsea
Quarter-final: Derby 1-3 Chelsea
Semi-final first leg: Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea Semi-final second leg: Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool
Meanwhile, Spurs had to beat Nottingham Forest, Brighton & Hove Albion, Newcastle United and Sheffield United on their way to reaching the final. Their semi-final against the Blades was also a cracker, with Christian Eriksen's late goal sending them through.
Third round: Spurs 3-1 Nottingham Forest
Fourth round: Spurs 2-0 Brighton
Quarter-final: Spurs 4-0 Newcastle
Semi-final first leg: Spurs 1-0 Sheff Utd Semi-final second leg: Sheff Utd 2-2 Spurs
Of course it's worth saying that this is a repeat of the 2008 League Cup final, which Spurs won 2-1 after extra time thanks to a goal from Jonathan Woodgate. Both teams have a respectable history in the competition, winning it four times each. However, neither have lifted the trophy since that day seven years ago. Chelsea's last triumph in the final was back in 2007 when they saw off Arsenal in what was a feisty encounter.
The big news from a Spurs perspective is that Hugo Lloris replaces Michel Vorm in goal despite Vorm having played in every previous round of the competition. That's harsh on the Dutchman. Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino has made a total of six changes following his side's Europa League exit to Fiorentina in midweek. Kyle Walker, Eric Dier and Danny Rose return in defence, while Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend and man of the moment Harry Kane are also recalled.
Following their controversial 1-1 draw with Burnley in the Premier League last weekend, Jose Mourinho has made five changes to his Chelsea side this afternoon. Petr Cech replaces Thibaut Courtois in goal, while Cesar Azpilicueta, Ramires, Gary Cahill and Willian are also given the nod by the Portuguese. In a slightly bizarre turn of events, Cahill looks as if he'll be starting the match as some kind of holding midfielder as Nemanja Matic sits out through suspension.
It's safe to say that there's no love lost between these two teams. They have a knack of playing eventful matches, but it's Chelsea who have the better head-to-head record with 61 wins to Tottenham's 46. There have also been a total of 36 draws played between them, though we know that this afternoon's game has to give us a winner.
Their two matches in the Premier League this season have yielded a whopping 11 goals, with Chelsea and Spurs both claiming victories against the other. Their clash at Stamford Bridge saw the Blues ease to a 3-0 triumph, while the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane saw Spurs earn a thrilling 5-3 victory.
KEY MEN: This final could well be settled by either Harry Kane or Diego Costa, both of whom have been in superb form in front of goal this season. Kane has found the net 24 times in 38 games for Spurs, while Costa has scored 17 goals in 29 appearances for Chelsea. Elsewhere, the likes of Eden Hazard and Christian Eriksen will be needed to provide some magic in midfield. The individual battles could be very important in this match, with both teams boasting a wealth of talent.
What are we to make of Gary Cahill being in midfield? The England international is a thoroughbred centre-back, but today he will need to be on his toes if he is to thwart Spurs in a key area of the pitch. There's no doubting that Chelsea will miss the suspended Nemanja Matic in midfield. Will Cahill be able to fill the Serbian's shoes?
Former Spurs midfielder Jamie Redknapp has had his say on where he thinks this final will be won or lost...
"Ryan Mason was rested in the Europa League on Thursday and that shows you how highly rated he is by Mauricio Pochettino. The middle of the park is where the game is won and lost and Mason must and can get after Fabregas. He can't let Fabregas dictate the game, he must hurry him up all the time, make him uncomfortable.
"I like Mason. Some players kick a ball and others pass it. He passes it. He'll be nervous — I remember cramping up in my first Wembley final — but he is key to Tottenham winning."
While Chelsea have been dominant against Spurs in recent years, there has been plenty of optimism around Spurs for this match. That said, Mauricio Pochettino's men have struggled both in the Premier League and in Europe in recent weeks. In all competitions Tottenham have won just one of their last five games.
Meanwhile, Chelsea haven't exactly had it all their own way in the past few weeks. The Blues have won two of their previous five matches, which, by their standards, signifies a bit of a drop in form. However, as we all know, form goes out of the window when it comes to a cup final.
Chelsea captain John Terry: "The 2005 win (in the League Cup final) was the first one for the team which made a big impact through all the squad, it set us on our way. It gave us a taste of what we wanted and we wanted it more, I think it brought the squad closer together.
"With that in mind this could be the first one for all of us - the manager is right, we have got to out and win trophies to put us right up there. Like everyone I felt something different when the manager came in. It was a different mentality, everything was about winning. He made that clear from day one.
"That rippled through the whole squad, through the academy, through the whole club really, and he has continued that, he has brought that back again this time. A lot of people write this competition off but for me it is huge and we look back on that 2004-5 season, it had a huge impact on our confidence and momentum."
Just 15 minutes to go until kickoff now and the stadium is filling up nicely. What will the players be feeling at this time? There's sure to be a fair bit of pacing around in both dressing rooms, while the managers will probably be reiterating the tactical approaches that they want their teams to take this afternoon.
Not long to go until kickoff now as the players start to emerge in the tunnel at Wembley Stadium. There's sure to be plenty of pageantry, pomp and circumstance when they walk out to this huge crowd inside Wembley.
KICKOFF! The teams are out, the national anthem has been sung and now it's down to business. Will it be Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur who are lifting the League Cup this evening? We're about to find out. Here we go!
It's been a positive start from Chelsea, who have seen the majority of the ball during the early stages. The Blues work themselves half a chance when Willian's free kick from the left is headed towards goal by Terry, but the defender can only nod over. Meanwhile, it looks as if Kurt Zouma is going to be playing in midfield rather than Gary Cahill.
Chelsea are continuing to ask most of the questions early on. A quick counter-attack that's led by Hazard ends with Ramires trying to get a shot away inside the box, but Vertonghen is there to thrown himself in front of the Brazilian's effort. Meanwhile, Costa and Dier square up to each other following a strong tackle by the latter on the former.
OFF THE BAR! Spurs come so close to taking the lead as Eriksen whips a free kick from 25 yards against the woodwork. Kane won the set piece following a good run into Chelsea territory and Eriksen so very nearly made it count.
Kane charges at the Chelsea defence again before hitting a tame effort at Cech from a difficult angle. The Spurs striker is starting to feel his way into this game. Meanwhile, his team are also starting to build up a bit of possession.
CHANCE! Another swift break from Chelsea sees Costa play in Hazard, who curl a decent effort narrowly wide of the post from the edge of the box. This is end-to-end stuff at the moment. Both teams are having a real go, as demonstrated by a dynamic run into the Chelsea area by Chadli which comes to nothing.
A slight worry for Chelsea as Hazard goes down under a robust challenge from Rose. However, it looks as if the Belgian will be fine to continue. In the meantime, Chelsea have a free kick around 20 yards from goal.
Spurs are doing a good job of keeping the ball off Chelsea right now, though they're not doing a great deal with it. It's very much a patient approach from Mauricio Pochettino's side as they look to find a way through the Chelsea defence.
Decent play from Walker, who takes on his man down the right before hitting a powerful cross into the heart of the Chelsea box. Unfortunately for him there's no one on the end of it. Still, this is all positive stuff for Spurs. They're looking the more likely to score at the moment.
Costa needs to be a bit careful here. The Chelsea striker gets involved with both Bentaleb and Walker after being fouled down on the touchline. He's clearly fired up today, but Jose Mourinho will not want him to do anything stupid, that's for sure.
YELLOW CARD! The first booking of this League Cup final goes the way of Eric Dier, who is cautioned for a foul on Costa. The defender went into the back of the striker and can have few complaints with that decision from referee Anthony Taylor.
The flow of this League Cup final has been hampered slightly in the last few minutes due to a few silly fouls being given away. Anthony Taylor has done a decent job of officiating this match so far, but the players are giving him little choice but to blow up every now and then. Tottenham's latest attack sees Eriksen surge forward, though he has no one with him and the move breaks down.
CHANCE! Rose does well down the right before picking out Eriksen inside the box. The Dane is forced to shoot from a tight angle, but he forces a low save from Cech. In all honesty it would need to be something special to beat the Chelsea goalkeeper from there.
The game suddenly turns a bit frantic as Chelsea go on the attack before Spurs break up the other end. Tottenham's counter is led by Chadli, who makes up plenty of ground before blazing an ugly shot high over the crossbar. Cue sarcastic cheers from the Chelsea fans.
One aspect of this first half that is sure to have frustrated Jose Mourinho is how his side have given the ball away far too often. Chelsea have struggled to keep hold of possession, allowing Spurs the chance to attack up the other end. They will need to improve their passing if they want to get at Spurs.
Chelsea take the lead in the League Cup final thanks to captain John Terry! Willian's free kick from the right causes problems in the Spurs box before Terry smashes the ball in from about eight yards out. Could Tottenham have done a better job in clearing that? Probably. However, it's Chelsea who make the breakthrough.
CHANCE! Chelsea almost double their lead instantly as Cahill meets a cross from the left, but his header is well held by Lloris. The Frenchman had to get down quickly there to stop the ball creeping into the corner.
Anthony Taylor brings an end to a cagey opening half at Wembley Stadium, where Chelsea lead 1-0 thanks to that goal from John Terry. Tottenham have arguably been the better side so far, but it's the Blues who have been the more clinical in the final third.
Spurs certainly created the better chances in the opening 45 minutes, and they could have taken the lead early on when Eriksen's free kick rattled the crossbar. Mauricio Pochettino's team continued to put some good attacking moves together after that, though their finishing has been wayward.
There was an incident right on the half-time whistle that's worth mentioning. Eric Dier, who is already on a booking, took out Costa and could easily have picked up a second yellow card. Anthony Taylor has had a solid game so far, but he could well have sent the Spurs defender off there.
Despite being in front in this League Cup final, will Jose Mourinho be happy with how his side have played so far? The Portuguese is likely to be demanding more from his players in the dressing room as they prepare for the second half. Their passing has been particularly poor, while the likes of Fabregas, Ramires and Hazard have struggled to make an impact in midfield.
It's been a cagey start to the second period, but Chelsea suddenly burst into life and nearly make it 2-0. Hazard does well down the left, making some space before hitting a dangerous cross into the box. Spurs fail to clear the danger and Fabregas's effort is saved by Lloris.
Chelsea come under pressure as Kane bobs and weaves his way through their defence before Ivanovic hoofs the ball clear. The Spurs striker has yet to cause the Blues any real problems, but we all know that he's capable of producing something from nothing.
Spurs are beginning to force the issue a bit more, though they're lacking that bit of magic in the final third. Rose tries to make some ground down the left with a marauding run, but it all breaks down when he fouls Willian. It's worth noting that the rain is now coming down rather heavily at Wembley.
Could that be game over in this League Cup final? Diego Costa doubles Chelsea's lead, but he needs a big slice of luck to find the net. The striker is fed by Fabregas before seeing his shot on the angle take a big deflection off Walker and go past the helpless Lloris. It's a long way back for Tottenham now.
Spurs try to hit back instantly as Bentaleb works some space down the left before getting a cross in, but the Chelsea defence cut it out easily. Will Mauricio Pochettino shake things up by looking to his bench as we head towards the final 30 minutes? Tottenham need a goal quickly if they want to get back in this.
Chelsea aren't taking their foot off the gas just yet. They're on the hunt for a third goal - one that would surely seal them the victory. A neat passing move around the edge of the Spurs box ends with Hazard curling the ball inches wide of the far post. Lloris looked like he was beaten there.
Spure have offered very little in this half, particularly since Chelsea extended their lead. They're struggling for any kind of inspiration up front - when they manage to get the ball in that area of the pitch. Chelsea are controlling more and more of the ball as we enter the last 20 minutes at Wembley. It would be a miraculous comeback should Tottenham somehow turn this around. That said, a goal would change everything.
CHELSEA SUB: The Blues shake things up as Juan Cuadrado, making his League Cup debut, takes the place of Willian. Meanwhile, Azpilicueta is back on the pitch after receiving treatment for a cut to his head. The full-back is bandaged up, Terry Butcher-style.
Tottenham are starting to frantically push forward more and more in the hope that they can reduce the deficit. They showed last week that they are capable of coming back a 0-2 scoreline in their draw with West Ham, but you have to say that this is a different type of opposition. Chelsea are defending well and dealing with everything that's being thrown at them.
CHANCE! Close for Spurs as Kane bursts into the box before being denied by a wonderful tackle from Terry. That was superb from the Chelsea skipper. The resulting corner comes to nothing as Lamela misses his header.
CHELSEA SUB: Fabregas's afternoon comes to an end as he's replaced by Oscar. The Spaniard was quiet in the first half, but he made up for it by setting up Costa for Chelsea's all-important second goal.
There it is! Chelsea win their first piece of silverware of the season as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 thanks to goals from John Terry and Diego Costa. It wasn't all plain sailing for the Blues, but they come away with a deserved victory in the end. Spurs will be disappointed not to have pushed their London rivals more, though they can certainly be proud of their efforts.
That's all from our live text coverage of today's game, but don't forget that you can keep up to date with all of the reaction from both teams right here on Sports Mole. Thanks for your company, we hope to see you again soon. Goodbye!