Match Preview

PMB: Tottenham v Chelsea - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for tonight's semi-final...

• His team did not recover from a ponderous start against Tottenham in the corresponding league game, Maurizio Sarri said yesterday, while suggesting he would tweak his own tactical approach as a result. Spurs instantly put the Blues under pressure that day by winning free-kicks and corners and managed six attempts on goal from set-plays over the 90 minutes. Aerial strength will be important this evening.

• The versatility of the squad was in evidence during Saturday’s comfortable cup victory over Nottingham Forest. At various times Cesar Azpilicueta was at left-back, N’Golo Kante in the centre of midfield, Ethan Ampadu on the right, Emerson a false no.9, and Callum Hudson-Odoi on the right.  

• It was the latter unleashing Alvaro Morata that caught the eye, and he became the first Chelsea teenager to set up two goals in a game since Scott Sinclair in October 2007. With injuries or doubts concerning some senior forwards, there may be involvement for the 18-year-old this evening. Sarri will hope for more efficiency in front of goal against the in-form Lilywhites. Only Watford and Manchester City have missed more of what OPTA describe as big chances in the league this season than the west Londoners.

• Mauricio Pochettino identified fatigue as the key factor in his side’s second-half submission to Wolves 10 days ago – their first loss to a newly-promoted team since 2012. However, at the weekend, they played on Friday night so have had a day longer to recover and prepare for tonight’s game than Chelsea.

• With Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele sidelined, the hosts’ midfield pair could be Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko; Davison Sanchez may deputise for Jan Vertonghen. Paul Gazzaniga has been between the posts in recent cup games and may have another opportunity.

 

• The leading goalscorer in this competition with three, Son Heung-Min, will miss the second leg on Asian Cup duty, but is available this evening.

Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes
'The level of the opponent is very high. We have had to play against Liverpool. Now we have to play against Tottenham, and in an eventual final it would probably be against Manchester City.

‘It’s like playing in the Champions League, but in the League Cup.’

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino’s pre-match quotes
'It’s not going to be the key, the tactics. Chelsea know how we play, we know how they play. It’s more about our performance and in 180 minutes we need to deserve to go through to the final.

'We know that tactics are secondary. The most important thing is the way we approach the game, our mentality... we need to fight for every ball.'
 

Squad news

Chelsea

Injured

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Doubt
Cesc Fabregas
Olivier Giroud
Pedro
Willian

Suspended
None

Tottenham

Injured
Mousa Dembele
Eric Dier
Lucas Moura
Jan Vertonghen
Victor Wanyama

Doubt
Erik Lamela

Suspended
None

Matchday weather outlook

Cold, cloudy and a gentle breeze in north-west London tonight.

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