Chelsea and Tottenham lock horns for the first piece of silverware this season, the Capital One Cup, or more colloquially known as the League Cup on Sunday. The two London based teams go head to head in the finals of the league cup at the Wembley. Chelsea will look to avenge the 5-3 loss they had to endure at the hands of the Spurs on new year’s eve this January at White Hart Lane.
TEAM NEWS, INJURY UPDATES AND SUSPENSIONS
The biggest loss for Chelsea will be the absence of Nemanja Matic, as he was suspended by the FA for reacting in a violent manner after Ashley Barnes had made a terrible tackle. Barnes’ boots were aimed high up at Matic’s shin during the match against Burnley, which was shockingly deemed non-malicious by the FA. With Mikel out with injury, Ramires will be the natural replacement in the centre of midfield alongside Cesc Fabregas. Diego Costa will be spearheading the attack, with Hazard, Oscar and Willian behind him in support. Captain John Terry will lead Chelsea into yet another cup final while Cahill’s inconsistency may see Zouma start in his first ever Cup final for Chelsea. Ivanovic and Azpilicueta will play in the usual full-back positions. It will be interesting to see whether Mourinho chooses to go with the young and brilliant Courtois or the experience of the veteran Cech.
Tottenham have no injury worries, with all of the players fit. Manager Mauricio Pochettino had made several changes for the match against Fiorentina in the Europa League on Thursday. Usual first team players Harry Kane, Andros Townsend, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose were all played from the bench in order to keep them fresh for the Capital One Cup Final on Sunday. Local youngster and new club hero Harry Kane will be leading the line with Andros Townsend and Erik Lamela in the flanks. The positions of the midfield three will be occupied by Dembele, Bentaleb and the highly talented Christian Eriksen. Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker will make up the back four while French international Hugo Lloris will man the space between the posts.
Chelsea will be coming out of a disappointing draw against Burnley at home in the Premier League. The Blues finished the match with ten men, denied two clear penalties and having Matic sent off for an angry reaction in the process following a potential career-ending challenge by Ashley Barnes. Both the players and Mourinho have been riling and will be looking to improve the mood at the camp by winning the first trophy on offer this season. The draw against Burnley saw Chelsea’s lead at the top reduced to 5 points from 7. It was the first time Chelsea have dropped points at home in the league this season apart from the match against Manchester City. Nonetheless, Chelsea still hold a commanding lead at the top of the table. Both the players and the manager know that winning a trophy ahead of their League title charge during the business end of the season can be a huge confidence booster. Also, the players will be looking to avenge the humiliation they went through at White Hart Lane on the 1st of January, as they lost 5-3. So Chelsea will be going all out to secure the first trophy on offer and bring the first piece of silverware to Stamford Bridge.
Mauricio Pochettino and his players will realise that realistically, the Capital One Cup is the only trophy they can win this season. With a top four spot being fought for by five teams, winning a trophy will ease a lot of pressure and will boost the morale in the camp, especially after being eliminated from the Europa League by Fiorentina. Fans will be looking to Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, their two best performers this season, for inspiration. After a weak start to the season, Pochettino’s men have improved considerably, and will hope to start where they left off against Chelsea at White Hart Lane earlier this season, when they scored 5 goals against the Blues.
Chelsea last won the league cup in 2007 and also in 2005, both during Jose Mourinho’s first spell. The last time Chelsea faced Spurs at Wembley was in 2012 in the FA Cup semi-final, when they won 5-1. Chelsea however lost against Spurs at Wembley in the 2008 League Cup Final.
LAST 5 MEETINGS
Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea 01/01/2015
Chelsea 3-0 Tottenham 03/12/2014
Chelsea 4-0 Tottenham 08/03/2014
Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea 28/09/2013
Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham 08/05/2013
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPS
Chelsea: Courtois (GK), Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry (C), Azpilicueta, Ramires, Fabregas, Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Costa.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (GK), Walker, Dier, Vertonghen (C), Rose, Dembele, Bentaleb, Eriksen, Lamela, Townsend, Kane.
Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
Time: 1600 GMT / 2130 IST
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Referee: Anthony Taylor
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni