OPPONENTS Chelsea at Wembley 
COMPETITION League  Cup Semi-final First Leg
DATE Tuesday 8th January 2019
PREVIEW Another big game and another London club, this time Chelsea at Wembley in the League Cup semi-final.  This is the first leg, so, playing at home we will need a lead to take to Stamford Bridge.

Spurs will be hoping to recreate the performance that saw them beat Chelsea earlier this season at Wembley in the Premier League, while Chelsea will be hoping to recapture their win here at the start of last season, but both sides are much changed since that day and with Spurs in fine form, even with changed sides, at the moment, they might just be slight favourites.

The flowing passing and clinical finishing has put a few sides to the sword lately, with big scores and the main aim of Chelsea's tactics will be to stop that before they think about going on the offensive.  Players like Kante and Jorginho will look to break up play and then move the ball forward through Hazard to get the Pensioners moving forward.  If Hudon-Odoi plays, he will also provide that link between the defensive midfielders and the forward line. 

Spurs have been able to get at Chelsea's defence since Terry and Cahill  have disappeared from their side, but Luiz had a mare at Wembley a couple of months back, which may be unlikely to happen again.  However, he does seem to have a thing about Harry Kane that sees him dive in recklessly and concede free-kicks and if he does it too often, it might be worse for him.  With a lot of the niggly players having gone, it makes things a bit easier, but Pedro, Azpilicueta and Morata seem to have adopted their mantle to make them a horrible side to play against.

It is imperative that Tottenham make a good start and keep their shape to make things difficult for Chelsea, who will have periods in the game where they have a lot of possession.  The team have shown that they can be disciplined without the ball despite having players missing through injury.  Pochettino has used the squad well over Christmas and New Year and while the Wolves game was a poor display, they have bounced back in style.

Moving the ball well and quickly is the way tog et at this Chelsea side, who have suffered with inconsistent results lately, having most recently drawn with Southampton and beaten Nottingham Forest 2-0 in the FA Cup.

Spurs could take a decisive step towards reaching the final, if they can get their game going and play between the lines, without getting carried away.  Patience and persistence might be the name of the game, but a lead is definitely necessary from this leg.  I guess Chelsea will turn up for this game, whereas they haven't for others recently, so a narrow win might be what we have to settle for.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2        Chelsea   1
Lucas Moura (knee), Eric Dier (appendicitis), Mousa Dembele (ankle) and Jan Vertonghen (hamstring) are all missing, but Erik Lamela returns tot he squad after being ill last week.  Victor Wanyama (knee) is also unavailable.

RUben Loftus-Cheek is out with a back injury,

Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

League Cup Semi-final  1st Leg Kick off 20:00
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1) Chelsea  0 (0)


Kane (p)  26m 01s



Winks (foul on Hazard)  29
Sanchez (foul on Hazard)  59
Lamela (foul on Hazard)  82 


Arrizabalaga  (foul on Kane)  23



Crowd :   44,371 Weather :  Chilly, dry
Referee :  Michael Oliver (Northumberland) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Simon Bennett; Mr. Michael McDonough
Fourth Official :  Kevin Friend  
VAR Referee :  Chris Kavanagh VAR Assistant Referees :  Mr. Steve Child
Spurs kicked off and played towards the East Stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Chelsea : kit

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ     
  3  Danny ROSE

17  Moussa SISSOKO
  8  Harry WINKS       (56  Oliver SKIPP  90)

23  Christian ERIKSEN  (18  Fernando LLORENTE  90+1)
20  DELE Alli
  7  Heung-Min SON  (11  Erik LAMELA  79     )

10  Harry KANE  (c) 

Unused subs: 
1  Juan FOYTH

    1  Kepa ARRIZABALAGA     

28  Cesar AZPILICUETA (c)
2  Antonio RUDIGER
  3  Marcos ALONSO

  7  N'Golo KANTE
  8  Ross BARKLEY  (17  Mateo KOVACIC  75)

20  Callum HUDSON-ODOI  (18  Oliver GIROUD  79)
10  Eden HAZARD
22  WILLIAN  (11  PEDRO  63)

Unused subs: 
30  David LUIZ
44  Ethan AMPADU

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Maurizio Sarri
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Yokohama Tyres
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

A tight affair saw Tottenham earn a slender lead to take to Stamford Bridge in a fortnight, with the aid of VAR, which handed Harry Kane the chance to score from the spot, which he did gleefully.

Chelsea were giving it large in the run-up to the game, with Sarri the prime suspect, trying to put pressure on Pochettino for not winning a trophy, but Mauricio hit back by saying if you spend 300 million, then you need to win a cup.  Both sides were changed from their FA Cup excursions at the weekend, with Spurs missing Lucas Moura, while Chelsea's duff striker Morata was unfortunately missing, having pulled a muscle in training.  He must put more effort into that than playing in most first team games, if that was the result.

The game started brightly, with both sides looking to probe with passes into each other's penalty areas, but there was a good shout for a penalty in the second minute when Christensen seemed to fall over Son in the box.  A couple of minutes later, Harry Kane launched into an overhead kick to Trippier's cross that unfortunately was straight at Arrizabalaga and when Chelsea got forward, Hudson-Odoi struck an effort straight at Gazzaniga, as was Hazard's shot on the 20 minute mark. 

In the 24th minute, a long ball forward, over the topof the Chelsea defence, saw Kane break free and as he got into the box, Arrizabalaga chopped him in half with a hefty challenge.  The referee's flag was up when Kane went through and with VAR in operation, we sat back and awaited the lengthy decision.   The big screen showed VAR Review on a penalty, but the more questionable issue appeared to be the offside.  Anyway, a good couple of minutes later, the referee eventually pointed to the spot.  The way he reffed the rest of the game, I was pleased this decision was taken out of his hands.  Play was further delayed while Chelsea players moaned, tried to stop the penalty being taken and when it was, Kane buried it to the keeper's right to give Spurs the lead.  Harry's 160th goal took him clear into the fourth all-time goal-scorer's slot.

Play was being stopped when, for example, Sissoko bumped into Barkley, but not when Son was blocked by Rudiger.  The biggest miss by the ref was not booking Christensen when he snidely tripped Son, as he raced away from him, deep in the Spurs half.  Kante had a shot that Gazzaniga saved well at chest heights, but he was static when Kante met Alonso's cross from the left by getting ahead of Alderweireld and Sanchez, to touch a shot at goal from in front of the near post.  Luckily for Tottenham, the ball cannoned off the outside of the post and the post was involved again when Hudson-Odoi put in an imperfect cross, t hat Paulo had to get a touch on to divert the ball onto the far post, before it was kicked out of the goalmouth by Toby.  COming right on half-time, a goal then for Chelsea could have changed the dynamic of the game.

At the start of the second half, Christian Eriksen had a good effort well stopped by the Chelsea keeper and then five minutes in, Kane was set up 25 yards out and his low drive was turned away for a corner by Kepa, who looked to have dived almost too soon, having to get his right arm up to push the ball away as he dived to his right.  It was really the wrong hand to go for it.  This stirred Chlsea up and Gazzaniga made quick saves from Hazard and then beat out a Kante drive as they got into the game for the first time.  Their fans got noisy for a long while when Azpilicueta hit a cross at Rose from close range and they wanted a penalty.  I suppose that was nearer to a handball than the one they wanted later on when Rudiger headed a corner back towards the middle of the goal fro the far post and the ball hit the back of Dele's head !!

Just before the hour, the visitors carved out a good opening for Christensen, coming in at the far post to a corner on their right wing, as Barkley flicked it on, but the centre-half missed the goal by a distance when unmarked.   It wasn't a great day for the Blues defence.  Alonso, who had a shocker of a match, was booed every time he touched the ball and that seemed to put him off; Rudiger failed to win a ball in the air without  depriving Kane of  the ability to get off the floor and Azpilicueta was a narky presence, who wanted to get involved with every incident, but did little when he was in possession.

It was around this time that Eden Hazard started to show the less savoury side of his game, with over-acting (and very loudly too) every time he was tackled.  He is a very talented player and started to pull the strings in midfield, but Willian and Pedro when he came on both failed to cause too many problems, leaving Hazard as their main weapon.  One this occasion he was a mis-firing one.  Tottenham were finding it hard to keep the ball at the other end, with fewer white shirts around Kane, he ploughed a lone furrow, allowing Chelsea to re-launch attacks as we had no out ball.  What it did was keep a lot of our players behind the ball and force Chelsea to shoot from long-range, which they did, but not at all very well.  Jorginho skied one over the bar, as did Pedro, while anything coming into the box low from wide positions was gathered by Paulo, apart from one shot that he patted down and Toby was there to tidy up, by clearing a long way upfield.

Both Rose and Trippier were winning headers at the far post all night and even Winksy headed a corner away at the near post, as Chelsea did not make the most of their set-pieces.  Spurs had a breakaway at the end with Kane playing the ball through the middle for Erik Lamela to run onto and when he got to the edge of the box, Alonso seemed to try to pull him back, but the referee handed a free-kick to Chelsea for a foul by Lamela !!  No VAR used on that one unsurprisingly.   There was one last chance for Chelsea, when Skipp produced a fine tackle from behind on Hazard in the box, when it looked like he might be lining up a shot from a narrow angle.  From it, Hazard played it in to the near post and there was a melee that saw a shot blocked before Kane booted the ball away.  A crunching tackle from Danny Rose, who was magnificent all night, as the ball ran loose and Kante steamed in 25 yards out typified the determination to keep the opposition out.

It wasn't a great game and tense rather than exciting, with both sides having chances and Chelsea the majority in the second half, but their inability to hit the target or even have a target man until Giroud came on was their downfall.  Spurs didn't have a great number of chances but did hit them more accurately than the Pensioners.  A 1-0 win is a confidence booster going to Stamford Bridge and we have now won three on the trot against Chelsea, with the away form being particularly impressive.  Nothing should be taken for granted and they will come at us, but this might leave the opportunity to hit them on the break.

It's only half-time, but Pochettino will have the easier team talk at the start of the second match.

Burton Bradshaw

Match sponsors -
Match sponsors -
Match ball sponsors -
Match programme sponsors -
Match shirt sponsors -



What you thought
East Stan How funny, seeing the Chelsea management jumping around and getting in the faces of the fourth official at almost every decision.  It was like watching Little and Large, with Sarri and Zola a comedic double act.

And how scary must it have been out there ? With all the screaming that Eden Hazard did anytime anyone went near him, he duped referee Oliver into giving him free-kicks from tackles that Harry Kane suffered in silence.  Ironically, the referee only had one difficult decision to make (not that difficult though) and he passed that on to VAR.  Easy money if you ask me !

- -.


Score in the other semi-final  :
Manchester City 9 Burton Albion 0 Wednesday

Back to homepage