MX23RW : Friday, July 23 22:53:17| >> :120:14225:14225:
Jan 8, 2019 at 8pm UK at Wembley Stadium (London)
Attendance: 44,371
SpursTottenham Hotspur
1-0
Chelsea
Kane (26' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

Tottenham Hotspur head into the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final with Chelsea looking to move a step closer to lifting their first trophy since 2008.

Chelsea make the short trip to Wembley Stadium keen to make amends for their 3-1 defeat to Spurs at the end of November.


Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino pictured on December 29, 2018© Reuters

Spurs have been presented with one of the more difficult routes through to the last four of this competition, having been given three successive ties against Premier League opposition.

Mauricio Pochettino's side required penalties to eventually see off Watford, but convincing away triumphs away at West Ham United and Arsenal have followed and it has left supporters considering the possibility of a first trophy in over a decade.

Pochettino will regard the EFL Cup as one of his smaller priorities, but Spurs find themselves in a position where they have a realistic opportunity to claim some silverware at a time when they are only considered as outsiders in the Premier League title race.

Speculation persists regarding Pochettino's possible switch to Manchester United in the summer, but emerging victorious in this competition may only leave Pochettino further convinced that he is building something special ahead of the move to the club's new stadium.

Spurs also head into the match in excellent form, with 14 wins coming from their last 17 outings in all competitions, although their capitulation against Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last match at Wembley may linger in the minds ahead of this contest.

Last Friday's FA Cup tie at Tranmere Rovers gave Pochettino the chance to rest a number of his first-team stars, and that should lead to a strong team being named for the game on Tuesday evening.

Harry Kane heads into the match having contributed a goal or assist in his last eight appearances, and the club captain will be confident of adding to that tally against a Chelsea backline who struggled to handle the England frontman in their previous meeting.

Pochettino will be keen for his side to continue their impressive statistics at the back, with six clean sheets coming from nine matches, but the in-demand boss will be delighted with any advantage ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge in two weeks.

Recent form (all competitions): WWWLWW


Chelsea

Maurizio Sarri on the touchline during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace on November 4, 2018© Reuters

Chelsea can claim to have had to work hard in order to reach the last four of this competition, with victories being earned against Liverpool, Derby County and Bournemouth, and it has left Maurizio Sarri beginning to think about winning his first trophy as a manager.

The Italian has received widespread praise for the jobs that he has done at Empoli and Napoli, but the 59-year-old will be desperate to achieve success in the form of silverware before the end of his career.

Sarri may have plenty of time left in the dugout, but appearances in the semi-finals of cup competitions can be few and far between, and the 59-year-old will be desperate to take advantage of this opportunity.

However, the game comes with Chelsea having put together an inconsistent run of form, while there are also doubts over the fitness of a number of his first-choice players in the final third.

Sarri is able to call upon Callum Hudson-Odoi at a time when the youngster is being heavily linked with a switch to Bayern Munich, and Blues supporters will be desperate for their head coach to show the 18-year-old that his long-term future can be at Stamford Bridge.

The winger created both goals for Alvaro Morata in the 2-0 triumph over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup at the weekend, although the Spaniard continued to look like a player desperately short of confidence.

Morata's future in West London will remain uncertain until the end of the January transfer window, but another positive contribution in this fixture may convince Sarri that he can rely on the former Real Madrid and Juventus man.

Chelsea head into this match having registered three successive clean sheets, but there will still be battle scars from the ordeal which the backline suffered against Spurs on November 24.

Recent form (all competitions): WLWWDW


Team News

Pedro in action for Chelsea on December 30, 2017© Reuters

Pedro is expected to return to training this week after a hamstring injury, but this game may come too soon for the Spaniard to feature in the first-team squad.

Willian is also a doubt due to the knock sustained against Southampton last week, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Olivier Giroud are expected to be sidelined.

Mateo Kovacic may feature after illness, with the Croatian potentially replacing Ross Barkley, who has started the last two fixtures.

Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele are all expected to be absent for Spurs, despite moving closer to a return from injury.

Erik Lamela could be named on the bench after illness, as will Fernando Llorente despite his treble against Tranmere on Friday.

Hugo Lloris, Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Moussa Sissoko and Christian Eriksen are all expected to start after not playing at Prenton Park.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Morata, Hazard


Head To Head

Tuesday's match will represent the 162nd competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Chelsea registering 68 wins in comparison to 53 victories for Spurs.

Chelsea used to hold a dominant recent record over one of their nearest rivals, but Spurs have only lost four times in the last 10 encounters.

Pochettino has also guided his side to three victories over the Blues in five attempts, with 3-1 wins being registered in both of their games during 2018.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Chelsea

Chelsea have seemingly recovered from their defeat against Spurs just over six weeks ago, but we cannot see anything other than another convincing success for Pochettino's side, who are scoring goals for fun.



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Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli celebrates scoring against Arsenal in their EFL Cup quarter-final on December 19, 2018
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