Tottenham Hotspur need to make home advantage count in the first leg of their Carabao Cup soccer semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley on Tuesday (3pm ET).
Spurs swept Chelsea aside in a convincing 3-1 victory in their Premier League encounter at the same venue in November. Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min scored the goals and Spurs will hope to repeat that after a strong run through December and into the New Year.
Since their defeat to Arsenal on 2nd December, Spurs have won eight, draw one and lost just one of their subsequent 10 matches in all competitions. They are a strong third in the Premier League. A draw with Barcelona and victories over Arsenal and Tranmere saw them make progress in the Champions League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup respectively.
The last-mentioned of those came on Friday in a 7-0 thrashing of League Two side Tranmere Rovers. Fernando Llorente scored a hat-trick and Serge Aurier, Son and Kane got the others as their League Two hosts were comfortably seen off. The opposition were poor but it was nevertheless another demonstration of the attacking prowess Spurs have shown recently.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have scored two or more goals in 12 of their 17 matches since they last failed to score away to Manchester City in late October. Bournemouth and Everton were swatted aside 5-0 and 6-2 respectively over the festive period. Faced with a series of injuries in midfield, Pochettino has prioritised swift attacking transitions and his forwards have delivered.
Both Kane and Son have scored in five of Tottenham’s last six matches in all competitions. Son is in particularly good form, having provided seven goals and five assists in that time. Alli and Christian Eriksen provide creativity and a further goal threat. Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela are ready to deputize or make an impact off the bench.
Chelsea have not found goals as easy to come by recently. It is necessary to go back to early November to find the last time they scored more than twice in a domestic fixture. Over their last six they have twice been prevented from scoring in defeat to Leicester City and a draw against Southampton. In the same time span, they have averaged just a single goal per match – an average improved by their 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
After making a very good start to life in the Chelsea dugout, results have started to vary a bit more for Maurizio Sarri over the last couple of months. Chelsea have won five, drawn two and lost three of their last 10 in the league. They should still be fancied to hold onto their current place inside the top four, but anything further will have to wait until next season.
Sarri has succeeded in implementing his heavily possession-based style of football with a squad established to play more defensively. Chelsea have accumulated more points per match (2.10 vs. 1.84), with a wider goal difference advantage (1.05 per match vs. 0.63) than they did last season. It has been a promising start, and with a few appropriate additions next summer, one that should provide a solid basis for further development.
The League Cup, this season named the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons and also still referred to as the EFL Cup by some bookmakers, can often be a good trophy with which to open one’s account in English football. It certainly acted as such for both Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Having reached the last four, Sarri, who is yet to win a trophy in his career to date, will be keen to progress to the final.
Chelsea do have a bit of a psychological advantage over Spurs. They have twice defeated them in FA Cup semi-finals over the last seven years, most recently in a 4-2 win in 2017. They also triumphed when the two sides met in the final of League Cup in 2015. However, Tottenham’s last major trophy came as a result of a 2-1 win over Chelsea in the 2008 final.
Our Preview’s Spurs vs. Chelsea Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
Looking at the odds from the USA bookies, Tottenham are around evens to win this game with the draw and Chelsea both at +250 (5/2). The value appears to be with the away team, so our Tottenham vs Chelsea prediction and pick is: