2016-17 FA Cup Semi-Final Preview
Chelsea Vs Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday 22nd April 2017 – 17:15 Kick-off
The top two teams in the Premier League go head-to-head in what promises to be a cracking game. Chelsea have the upper hand in the title race, but Spurs are looking to pounce on every opportunity, should Chelsea slip up. The FA Cup is not without surprises though and anything can happen when these two sides meet at Wembley.
The sides last met at this stage of the FA Cup in 2012, with Chelsea comfortably winning 5-1; the goals coming from Drogba, Mata, Ramires, Malouda and Lampard. Chelsea went on to beat Liverpool 2-1 in the final and lifted what was their 7th and most recent FA Cup.
More recently, the two sides have had a mixed set of results against one another; each winning two, and drawing two of their last 6 meetings in all competitions.
You could argue that Spurs should feel more at home in this fixture, seen as they’ve used Wembley as their home venue in European competition this season. That said, they only won 1 out of the 4 home games that they played at Wembley and lost another 2. So perhaps it’s not that much of a home for them!
Spurs will be hoping to have key men, Alli, Kane and Eriksen firing on all cylinders, if they’re to beat a formidable Chelsea side. Spurs have traditionally been considered one of the classic ‘Cup Teams’; they’ve a long history of going far in cup competition. They’ve won 8 FA Cups and 4 League Cups. Their most recent cup honour being the League Cup in 2008, which coincidentally came courtesy of a 2-1 win over Chelsea in the final. However, their last FA Cup triumph came in 1991. Before that, they beat Sunday’s semi-final protagonists, Manchester City, in the 1981 FA Cup final Replay thanks to ‘that’ Ricky Villa goal. The Villa goal is still a sore sight for City fans nowadays, as my mum will tell you!
Turning to Chelsea, they’ll be hoping to further their chances of securing a League and Cup double. The Blues have been so hard to beat this season under manager Antonio Conte. They’ve changed formation to a 3-5-2 and it’s seen the likes of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso given a new lease of life. Eden Hazard has been the magic man and Diego Costa has been in good form too. Arguably the signing of the season has been N’Golo Kante, when he plays well, Chelsea play well.
After a less than smooth start to the season, Chelsea have been running full steam ahead at the top of the table and only a few weeks ago there was talk of the title having been already won. However, their recent form hasn’t been great and a defeat at home to Crystal Palace in particular has provided a bit of room to believe that there’s still a long way to go.
There was some strange news that came out of Stamford Bridge this week; it was announced that club captain, John Terry, would be leaving the club at the end of the season. I say this is strange because the timing and manner of the announcement just doesn’t add up. Why now? There’s so much left to play for, wouldn’t this just disrupt the teams focus?
All remains to be seen…
There’s not disputing the quality that these two sides posses, and when both teams are fully fit and in form, their arguably some of the best in Europe. Expect counter attacking football and some tough tackles going in. It’s a tough one to call and whilst I can see both teams scoring, I can’t see this being that much of a high scoring game.
Paul: 2-1 Spurs
David: 2-2 (Chelsea win on Penalties)
Mark: 2-1 Spurs