A 2-0 first-leg victory at Stamford Bridge has put Chelsea in the driver’s seat ahead of locking horns with Tottenham Hotspur in the return leg fixture. The winners will travel to Wembley on 27th February to clash heads with Liverpool or Arsenal in the League Cup final.
Spurs are still unbeaten in the league under Antonio Conte. But the Italian was tactically outplayed by Thomas Tuchel as the Lilywhites failed to script a turnaround after conceding a couple of early goals last midweek. Conte is likely to make one desperate attempt to stun his former employers and the neutrals and thus we can expect to witness a fierce contest on Wednesday night between these two London giants.
Spurs avoided a FA Cup upset against minnows Morecambe and clinched a late win on Sunday afternoon. The manager won’t field an experimental lineup this time around but, at the same time, should show more aggression in terms of tactics and formation. The 3-4-3 must not retreat and form an ultra-defensive 5-3-2, whereas the likes of Harry Kane and Lucas Moura need to convert the opportunities in the absence of Heung-min Son. It is to be seen how Conte breaks down the Blues’ defensive resilience without conceding goals.
Tuchel, on the other hand, played the trick by fielding his men in a 4-2-2-2 set-up. He has rarely opted for a ‘back four’ and the change of plan worked stupendously after a few underwhelming outcomes. Having said that, he should keep it simple on the road and bank on a three-man backline to defend the two-goal cushion. Chelsea have shown grit and composure while defending deep and the same must be replicated this Wednesday to knock out last season’s runners-up.
Tottenham would be without star attacker Heung-min Son due to a muscular problem. Cristian Romero and Steven Bergwijn remain sidelined with calf injuries.
Tottenham Hotspur Predicted XI
Hugo Lloris; Japhet Tanganga, Eric Dier, Ben Davies; Emerson, Oliver Skipp, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Sergio Reguilon; Dele Alli; Lucas Moura, Harry Kane.
Trevoh Chalobah continues to be sidelined with a hamstring strain and the likes of Reece James and Ben Chilwell are ruled out through long-term injuries. Edouard Mendy has left the camp for AFCON and the gaffer is set to make late decisions on N’Golo Kante and Thiago Silva who returned positive covid results just over a week ago.
Chelsea Predicted XI
Kepa Arrizabalaga; Cesar Azpilicueta, Malang Sarr, Antonio Rudiger; Hakim Ziyech, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso; Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner, Romelu Lukaku.
All eyes will be on England skipper Harry Kane who must step up his game and make the difference. Hugo Lloris should stay alert between the sticks as a goal from the Blues would ruin their dreams.
Romelu Lukaku is back among goals shaking off controversies and criticism. In-form Mateo Kovacic should exhibit his midfield mastery as he did against Liverpool.