Midweek Football Preview

More cups!

FA Cup 5th Round

Peterborough vs. Man City

Peterborough beat QPR in the last round and sit bottom of the Championship. They have since drawn one and lost five. Man City beat Fulham 4-1 in the last round and sit top of the Premier League. They have since won four and lost one of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Man City. Anything else and it would be a massive shock. 

Crystal Palace vs. Stoke City

Palace beat Hartlepool 2-0 in the last round and they sit 11th in the Premier League. Palace have since won one, drawn three, and lost one. Stoke beat Wigan 2-0 in the last round and sit 15th in the Championship. Stoke have won one, drawn two, and lost two since. Palace are the better team on paper and are at home so they should win this even if Stoke cause some problems. 

Middlesbrough vs. Tottenham

Middlesbrough beat United on penalties in the last round and sit 8th in the Championship. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Spurs sit 7th in the Premier League and beat Brighton 3-1 in the last round. They have since won two, and lost three of their games. With Tottenham away and the form that they are in this result could go either way. Spurs though are still favourites on paper.

Southampton vs. West Ham

An all Premier League clash as Southampton take on West Ham. Southampton sit 9th in the Premier League and beat Coventry City 2-1 in the last round. The Saints have since won three and drawn one of their games. West Ham sit 5th in the table and beat Kidderminster 1-2 in the last round. The Hammers have since won two and drawn two. Neither team is unbeaten in their last four but Southampton have won one more game. This should be an interesting game between two good teams and the result can go either way.

Liverpool vs. Norwich

The newly crowned Carabao Cup champions take on another cup as they welcome Norwich City in an all Premier League clash. Liverpool beat Cardiff 3-1 in the last round and have since won five and drawn one of their games. Norwich beat Wolves 0-1 in the last round and sit bottom of the table. Norwich have since drawn one and lost three of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Liverpool.

Everton vs. Boreham Wood

Everton beat Brentford 4-1 in the last round and sit 17th in the Premier League as they take on Boreham Wood. Everton have since won one and lost three of their games. Boreham Wood sit 3rd in the National League and beat Bournemouth 0-1 in the last round. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Everton are at home and even though Boreham Wood will give it their all Everton should win this game. 

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley vs. Leicester

Burnley sit 18th in the table as they take on Leicester who sit 13th. A win for Burnley would take them out of the relegation zone and into 15th in the table on goal difference with two games in hand remaining. A win for Leicester won’t mean much movement but it will take them closer to mid table with three games in hand remaining. A big game for both teams Burnley have only lost one of their last five games while Leicester have lost three and drawn two. One game to keep an eye on.

Copa Del Rey Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Valencia take on Bilbao with an aggregate score of 1-1. Betis take on Rayo Vallecano with an aggregate score of 2-1. The Valencia Bilbao game is finely poised and the result can go either way. Betis have a slight advantage but Vallecano are no pushovers and will give it a go. Any team can reach the final. 

Coppa Italia Semi-Final 1st Leg

Milan take on Inter, and Juventus travel to Fiorentina. Two very good games and neither team are clear favourites in their fixture. Milan and Inter are going though a rough patch at the moment while Juventus are inconsistent. Fiorentina are having a decent season. Who will take advantage in the 1st leg?

DFB Pokal Quarter-Final

Union Berlin take on St.Pauli, Hamburger take on Karlsruher, Leipzig travel to Hannover, and Bochum welcome Freiburg. Leipzig are the most high profiel team remaining in the cup. Freiburg are having a very good season though and so are Union Berlin. Anything can happen. 

Coupe De France Semi-Final

Nice take on Versailles, and Monaco travel to Nantes. Nice should beat Versailles and reach the final while Monaco and Nantes will be a more cagey affair. Nice will be favourites though with Monaco and Nantes being at a similar level this season. 

Midweek Football Review

Races heat up!

Premier League MW 24

Newcastle 3 vs. 1 Everton

This was a massive game at St.James’s Park as Everton travelled to play Newcastle. Everton took the lead in the 36th minute thanks to a Lascelles own goal and had been the better team up till that point. Holgate returned the favour a minute later to bring Newcastle back into the game. Fraser gave Newcastle the lead in the 56th minute and Trippier scored a brilliant goal in the 80th minute to seal the win. Newcastle climb out of the relegation zone and into 17th a point behind Everton with two games in hand and a point above Norwich. Lampard loses his first Premier League game in charge of Everton but they still have three games in hand. 

West Ham 1 vs. 0 Watford

Bowen scored in the 68th minute of this game as West Ham got all three points against Watford. West Ham move back into 4th with the win a point above Arsenal. Watford drop down to 19th with the loss but have two games in hand as they sit three points from safety.

Burnley 1 vs. 1 Man United

Pogba scored to give the United the lead in the 18th minute and United should have put the game to bed in the 1st half. Rodriguez scored the equaliser for Burnley in the 47th minute after some brilliant work by Weghorst. Burnley ended the game strongly but could not find the winner. Burnley remain bottom of the table with four games in hand and they sit four points from safety. Man United drop down to 6th with the point and have one game in hand and sit a point from top four.

Norwich 1 vs. 1 Crystal Palace

Pukki scored in the 1st minute to give Norwich the lead over Palace. Zaha scored the equaliser for Palace in the 60th minute. Neither side could find the winner. Norwich drop down to 18th in the table a point from safety with one game in hand. Palace remain 13th in the table with the point and have one game in hand. 

Tottenham 2 vs. 3 Southampton

Bednarek scored an own goal in the 18th minute to give Spurs the lead. Broja equalised for Southampton in the 23rd minute. Son restored Spurs lead in the 70th minute but Southampton had other plans. Elyounoussi equalised for Southampton in the 80th minute and Adams scored the winner for them in the 82nd minute. A collapse by Spurs and a big come back for Hassenhutl. Spurs remain 7th in the table  three points from 4th with three games in hand. Southampton move up to 10th with the win and have one game in hand. 

Man City 2 vs. 0 Brentford

Mahrez scored a penalty in the 40th minute and De Bruyne made it two in the 69th minute for a routine win for Man City. City remain top of the league with a 9 point gap as they go 13 points clear of 3rd placed Chelsea. Brentford remain 14th in the table but only six points above the relegation zone now. 

Aston Villa 3 vs. 3 Leeds

James scored in the 9th minute to give Leeds the lead. Coutinho equalised for Villa in the 30th minute. Ramsey gave Villa the lead in the 38th minute. Ramsey then made it three for Villa in the 43rd minute. James got one back for Leeds before half time. Llorente equalised for Leeds in the 63rd minute as Konsa was sent off for Villa in the 87th minute. A blockbuster game but points shared in the end. Villa remain 11th in the table with two games in hand. Leeds remain 15th in the table with two games in hand. 

Liverpool 2 vs. 0 Leicester

Jota scored a goal in each half to get a comfortable win for Liverpool over Leicester. Liverpool remain 2nd in the table but go four points clear of Chelsea and stay with in 9 ponts of City with a game in hand. Leicester drop down to 12th in the table with three games in hand. 

Wolverhampton 0 vs. 1 Arsenal

Gabriel scored the only goal of the game in the 25th minute as Arsenal got all three points at Wolves. Martinelli was sent off for Arsenal in the 69th minute as well. Wolves remain 8th in the table with two games in hand while Arsenal move up to 5th in the table a point from 4th with two games in hand. 

Copa Del Rey Semi-Final 1st Leg

Real Betis beat Rayo Vallecano 1-2 in the 1st leg of their semi-final while Bilbao and Valencia drew 1-1 in their first leg. Both games are evenly poised but Betis have a slight advantage going into the 2nd leg. Nothing to lose for all four teams. 

Coppa Italia Quarter-Finals

Inter beat Roma 2-0, Milan thrashed Lazio 4-0 with Giroud scoring another brace, Fiorentina beat Atalanta 2-3, and Juventus beat Sassuolo 2-1. Some big semi-finals are set and it looks to be a very exciting Coppa Italia this year. 

Coupe De France Quarter-Finals 

Monaco beat Amiens 2-0, Versailles beat Bergerac on penalties, Nice thrashed Marseille 4-1, and Nantes beat Bastia 2-0. One would say that Monaco and Nice are the favourites out of the teams that are left but anything can happen with Nice probably being the best out of all the teams. 

Al-Hilal 0 vs. 1 Chelsea Club World Cup Semi-Final Review

Onto the final!

Chelsea took on Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal on Wednesday night in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup semi-final. The winner of the game would seal place in the final alongside Brazilian team Palmeiras. Al-Hilal picked a strong team with Marega, Pereira, and Ighalo all starting. Chelsea selected Kepa in goal with a back three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta and Alonso started as the wing backs with a midfield of Kovacic, and Jorginho. Havertz, Ziyech and Lukaku started up front. A strong lineup by both teams as they looked to reach the final.

Al-Hilal started well but Chelsea grew into the game in the first half. Chelsea had several good chances in the first half but the final finish was missing as usual. Al-Hilal didn’t have a shot on target for much of the first 45. The only goal of the game came in the 32nd minute as Havertz did well to dribble and put in a cross which fell into the path of Lukaku who smashed it into goal. The Belgian improved as the half went on but Chelsea failed to double the lead.

Al-Hilal came out to play for the 2nd half and grew back into the game. They got several corners and began to test Kepa. Kepa made a particularly brilliant save late on that kept Chelsea in the lead. Chelsea did hold on for the win though and will now play the final on Saturday.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

A cleansheet for Kepa as his redemption season continues to go well. It was a brilliant save late in the game and it is a testament to his quality that Chelsea have not missed Mendy. Another very good game for him.

Defenders

All the defenders did pretty well. Christensen made a particularly good challenge in the 2nd half to deny a counter. Rudiger handled Ighalo well. Silva was his calm self while Azpilicueta and Alonso were decent as the wing backs. Sarr came on in the 2nd half for Alonso to see out the game.

Midfielders

Jorginho and Kovacic did really well in the 1st half. Jorginho had to come off at half time and that did impact the fluidity with which Chelsea passed in the midfield. Kante came on in his place but didn’t have his usual impact. Mount came on in the 2nd half as well to add some bite and threat. Kovacic had a very good all round game and played some brilliant passes as well. 

Forwards

The forwards all did relatively well in this game. Havertz was a constant threat and his movement seemed to allow Lukaku to play better. Havertz should have scored but he hit the post. Ziyech again and had an influential game as he continues to enjoy game time at the moment. Lukaku began the game poorly and missed a chance from point blank range. His goal was a poachers one and he was more involved following the lead. Some good linkup play and a constant threat. 

Manager

Zsolt Low was taking care of the management side while Tuchel contnues to isolate in London. Tuchel though delievered the half time team talk and would have liked that the team kept a clean sheet. We should have been more clinical in front of goal though. Final no 5 for the German at Chelsea though.

Chelsea will play the final against Palmeiras on Saturday night. It is bound to be a big game for the club. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Al-Hilal vs. Chelsea Club World Cup Semi-Final Preview

Another trophy to win!

Chelsea will take part in the semi-final of the Club World Cup on Wednesday as they take on Saudi Arabian team Al-Hilal. The londoners have been in Abu Dhabi for the last few days and have had a mid season camp of sorts with warm weather training. The Club World Cup is no friendly tournament though and Chelsea have lost the final once before in 2013. Al-Hilal are the opposition and are managed by former Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim. 

Al-Hilal have won four of their last five games and beat Al Jazira 6-1 to get into the semi-final. They are in no way a team to take lightly for Chelsea and it seems that Tuchel and the players know that. Tuchel himself won’t be present for this game as he continues to isolate in London. Chelsea are hoping that he might make it for the final or 3rd placed game. 

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Plymouth Argyle at the weekend. It wasn’t the greatest of games and it took 120 minutes for Chelsea to get past the Championship team. The Blues were not poor but it was another game where there was no cutting edge up front. The only attacking player that seemed to play the whole game at a good level was Hakim Ziyech. The winger continues to thrive in Chelsea’s formation switch. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea will have Edouard Mendy back in the fold after he was crowned an Africa Cup of Nations champions with Senegal on Sunday. It is yet to be seen whether he will start the game though. For safety I will say Kepa will probably start. Mount was also touch and go but has returned to training recently. Chelsea should revert to a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger for this game. Hudson-Odoi, and Sarr should start as the wing backs with Kovacic, and Kante in midfield. Mount, Ziyech, and Havertz should start up front. 

Tuchel could of course start with a back four with Sarr probably starting on the left but Al-Hilal are a pacy team with plenty of attacking talent. I wouldn’t start Lukaku either because he was far from decent at the weekend. There are several options and I think the lineup above could easily transition to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 with Chalobah and Sarr playing as full backs. It’s a solid team either way. 

Al-Hilal Team Preview

Al-Maiouf is the goalkeeper with a back four of Abdulhamid, Jang, Al Bulahi, and Al-Shahrani. Kanno, and Cuellar serve as their two sitting midfielders. Up front is where the talent lies in the team. Marega the former FC Porto striker plays as a winger while Pereira who Chelsea fans know all to well from his West Brom days plays as the playmaker. Al-Dawsari plays on the left wing with Ighalo their striker. Ighalo the former Watford and Man United striker has been in fine form this season while all the front four scored against Al Jazira. They have Carrillo on the bench as well. A talented team with a talented manager. 

Starting XI Prediction

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The Club World Cup is the missing link for Chelsea as a club. It is the only trophy we have not one and the hunger for all the players should be real. It won’t be an easy game but if Chelsea play at their best level then we should book a place in the final. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Midweek Football Preview

League football is back!

Premier League MW 24

Newcastle vs. Everton

Newcastle were very busy during the winter transfer window as they spent nearly a 100 million euros. Trippier, Targett, Burn, Wood, and Bruno all came into the team with Bruno being the most eye catching acquisition from Lyon. A combative midfielder that has a knack to attack as well. Everton were also busy as they brought in Lampard as the manager and got Alli, and van de Beek into the team. Newcastle have two games in hand and sit 19th in the table one point from safety. The Magpies are unbeaten in their last three. Everton sit 16th in the table with three games in hand and haven’t won a game in a long time. A big game with pressure on both teams. The reverse fixture was postponed. 

West Ham vs. Watford

A London derby as Watford travel to West Ham. West Ham sit 5th in the table with no games in hand while Watford sit 18th with two games in hand. West Ham have lost their last two and are looking for a win to stay in the top four race while Watford will love to pull out of the relegation zone at least momentarily. Another big game with high stakes. West Ham beat Watford 1-4 in the reverse fixture. 

Burnley vs. Man United

Burnley are unbeaten in their last two and have four games in hand as they sit 20th in the table three points from safety. United sit 4th in the table with one game in hand and a point above 5th. Another game with both teams having plenty to lose. Burnley will not fear United and will know that they can get a result if they stay strong at the back. United beat Burnley 3-1 in the reverse fixture. 

Norwich vs. Crystal Palace

Norwich have won their last two and have a game in hand as they sit 17th in the table a point above the relegation zone. Palace sit 13th in the table and have only won one of their last five games. Norwich are the team in better form which is a rarity and Palace will want to bounce back. A tough game but Norwich lose more if they can’t get a result. An interesting one to watch. Palace beat Norwich 3-0 in the reverse fixture. 

Tottenham vs. Southampton

7th placed Spurs have three games in hand as they take on 12th placed Southampton who have one game in hand. Conte lost his first game in the league as Spurs manager to Tuchel and Chelsea the last time around. Southampton have only lost one of their last five games. An interesting game for sure but Tottenham can move closer to top four with a win. The reverse fixture was a 1-1 draw. 

Man City vs. Brentford

City sit 9 points clear at the top with no games in hand as they take on Brentford who sit 14th in the table and have lost their last four games. This should be an easy win for Man City as Brentford are in dismal form at the moment. City beat Brentford 0-1 in the reverse fixture. 

Aston Villa vs. Leeds

Villa sit 11th with two games in hand as they take on Leeds who sit 15th with two games in hand as well. No real stakes in this game but it should be an entertaining one for sure. The reverse fixture was postponed. 

Liverpool vs. Leicester

Liverpool sit 2nd in the table and have a game in hand as they cling on to some hope of a title race. Leicester sit 10th in the table with three games in hand but are in dismal form at the moment. Leicester beat Liverpool 1-0 in the reverse fixture. 

Wolverhampton vs. Arsenal

Wolves sit 8th in the table and are in brilliant form with two games in hand. Arsenal sit 6th in the table with two games in hand. Two point separate the two teams so this is a massive game. If Wolves win they go above Arsenal while if Arsenal win they open up a five point gap. One to watch for sure. 

Copa Del Rey Semi-Final 1st Leg

Rayo Vallecano take on Real Betis while Bilbao take on Valencia. None of the traditional top three in the Copa Del Rey this season. I would say Betis are favourites to qualify from the first semi-final while Bilbao are the in form team in the 2nd. An interesting couple of fixtures. 

Coppa Italia Quarter-Finals

Inter take on Roma, Milan take on Lazio, Atalanta take on Fiorentina, and Juventus take on Sassuolo. All the four fixtures are tasty ones and it’s safe to say anyone could progress from them. A very interesting set of games. 

Coupe De France Quarter-Finals

Monaco take on Amiens SC, Bergerac Perigord entertain Versailles, Nice take on Marseille, while Nantes welcome Bastia. Some very interesting fixtures and all teams are relatively well matched. Should be some interesting outcomes. 

Midweek Football Review

Some surprises

Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Arsenal 0 (0) vs. (0) 2 Liverpool

Arsenal worked so hard to get this game called off and rescheduled. They got their main players back and fielded their strongest XI. They lost to Liverpool without scoring a goal. Jota scored in the 19th minute and in the 77th minute as they cruised to the final. Liverpool will face Chelsea in the final. Arsenal are now knocked out of all competitions and only have the Premier League to focus on. 

Premier League (Games in hand)

Leicester 2 vs. 3 Tottenham

Daka scored in the 24th minute to give Leicester the lead. Kane equalised for Spurs in the 38th minute. Maddison restored Leicester’s lead in the 76th minute and looked ot be heading for a win. Bergwijn came off the bench to score the equaliser in the 95th minute and get the winner in the 97th minute. Spurs made a brilliant comeback and Leicester again bottled the lead. Leicester remain 10th while Spurs move up to 5th now 11 points clear of Leicester. They are now within eight points of Chelsea with four games in hand. 

Brentford 1 vs. 3 Man United

Brentford dominated Man United for 45 minutes but failed to take their chances. There was only going to be one outcome from there on. Elanga gave United the lead in the 55th minute. Greenwood made it two for United in the 62nd minute and Rashford made it three for United in the 77th minute. Toney got one back for Brentford in the 85th minute. Brentford remain 14th in the table. United remain 7th now only two points from top four with two games in hand. 

La Liga (Games in hand)

Valencia drew with Sevilla 1-1. Sevilla play their game in hand and sit 2nd in the table but still four points behind Real Madrid. Valencia sit 9th in the table. 

Copa Del Rey Round of 16

Real Sociedad beat Atletico 2-0, Real Madrid came from behind to beat Elche in extra time 1-2. Eden Hazard got the winner for them. Bilbao beat Barcelona 3-2 to progress as well. Barcelona and Atletico dumped out and Barcelona especially are having one of their worst seasons ever. 

Coppa Italia Round of 16

Lazio beat Udinese 1-0, Juventus beat Sampdoria 4-1, Inter beat Empoli 3-2, and Roma beat Lecce 3-1. The favorites won their games and progress to the next round to potentially make up some very tasty fixtures. 

DFB Pokal Round of 16

St.Pauli beat Dortmund 2-1, Hannover beat Monchengladbach 3-0, Leipzig beat Hansa 2-0, and Freiburg beat Hoffenheim 1-4. Some big upsets here and the DFB Pokal will be getting a new winner this season. The biggest teams are out and only Leipzig remain among others. Freiburg especially are having a really good season. 

Ligue (Games in hand)

Lille beat Lorient 3-1. Lille play their game in hand and move up to 8th in the table. Only three points behind 4th placed Strasbourg. 

Midweek Football Preview

A mix of games in hand and cup competitions.

Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Arsenal (0) vs. (0) Liverpool

The 1st leg was played last week as Arsenal did well to hold on for a draw after going down to 10 men. Arsenal used a similar loophole to Liverpool to avoid playing during the weekend and will be fresh for this game. Liverpool beat Brentford during the weekend. This should be an interesting game for sure and either team can go through.

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley vs. Watford

A relegation battle as 20th placed Burnley take on 17th placed Watford with 3 points seperating the two teams. Burnley have five games in hand going into this game while Watford have three games in hand going into this game. Both teams are in extremely poor form so either team can win this game. The most likely result is a draw. 

Leicester vs. Tottenham

10th placed Leicester have four games in hand as they take on 6th placed Spurs who have four games in hand as well. Both teams did not play during the weekend because of Covid related issues. A win for Leicester would take them to within three points of United while a win for Spurs would take them above Arsenal and a point behind West Ham. Tottenham were abysmal against Chelsea over two legs in the Carabao Cup so there is a need to put in a better performance against Leicester. An interesting game for sure.

Brentford vs. Man United

14th placed Brentford have only won one of their last five games as they take on United who sit 7th and have only lost one of their last five games. This is Brentford’s game in hand while United would have one more after this. United will be favourites but Brentford can get something out of this game especially since they are at home. 

La Liga (Games in hand)

Valencia take on Sevilla amongst other teams.

Copa Del Rey Round of 16

Atletico travel to Real Sociedad, Real Madrid travel to Elche, and Barcelona travel to Athletic Bilbao. Bilbao and Real Madrid just played the Supercopa De Espana final in the Middle East which Real Madrid won. Bilbao will be looking to bounce back while Madrid will want to continue the good form. Some interesting games. 

Coppa Italia Round of 16

Lazio take on Udinese, Juventus take on Sampdoria, Inter take on Empoli, and Roma welcome Lecce. Home games for all these big teams and one woulde expect all of them to progress to the next round. Milan, Fiorentina, and Atalanta are already through.

DFB Pokal Round of 16

Dortmund take on St.Pauli, Monchengladbach travel to Hannover, Leipzig take on Hansa, and Hoffenheim take on Freiburg amongst others. No Bayern in the DFB Pokal so that is a different. Winnable fixtures for most teams with Hoffenheim and Freiburg being the toughest fixture. 

Ligue (Games in hand)

Lille take on Lorient amongst other games. Lille can go up to 8th in the table with a win in this game.

Midweek Football Review

Some big results!

Carabao Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg

Liverpool 0 vs. 0 Arsenal

The first leg of this Carabao Cup semi-final was a drab affair after Oliver sent off Xhaka for what was not a red card offense. Arsenal had started the game well but post the red card it was attack against defence. Arsenal had key players missing as well while Liverpool showed without Salah there isn’t much to fear. The 2nd leg is setup to be a tasty affair though and the Emirates will be up for it.

Premier League (Games in hand)

Southampton 4 vs. 1 Brentford

Bednarek scored in the 5th minute to give Southampton the lead. Janelt equalised for Brentford in the 23rd minute but Southampton replied back. Fernandez scored an own goal in the 37th minute and Broja added a 3rd in the 49th minute. Adams scored the 4th in the 70th minute. Southampton move up to 11th in the table and have a game in hand while Brentford drop down to 13th with a game in hand.

West Ham 2 vs. 0 Norwich

Bowen scored a goal in either half to seal a win against Norwich. West Ham having played their game in hand move into 4th and 2 points clear of Arsenal. Norwich remain bottom of the table and have a game in hand but sit 3 points from safety. 

Coppa Italia Round of 16

Atalanta beat Venezia 2-0, Fiorentina beat Napoli 2-5, and Milan beat Genoa 3-1. Napoli stumble and are knocked out of the cup while Atalanta and Milan progress. The other games will be played next week. 

Tottenham 0 (0) vs. (3) 1 Chelsea Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg Review

We are heading to Wembley!

Chelsea took a short trip within London to play Tottenham in the 2nd leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final. Chelsea had a 2 goal advantage going into the game and Spurs had to come out and get 2 without reply to take the game to extra time. Weirdly Conte fielded an even weaker team on paper than the 1st leg. Son was already out injured but Gollini started instead of Lloris and Los Celso started in the front three. Tuchel went strong with Kepa in goal and back four of Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, and Sarr. Kovacic, and Jorginho started in the midfield with Hudson-Odoi, and Mount in front of them. Lukaku, and Werner started up front. A hybrid 4-2-2-2 of sorts that could switch to a back three. The likes of Silva, and Kante returned to the bench. 

The first half was all Chelsea once again. Spurs showed a bit more intitiative but Chelsea were able to silence the occasion and atmosphere within the stadium via possession. The only goal came in the 18th minute as Rudiger flicked the ball into the net with his back after Gollini failed to gather the ball. Rudiger then brought down Hojbjerg outside the box but the referee ordered a penalty. VAR intervened and cancelled it. Chelsea had a few more chances in the 1st half but could not take advantage. 

The 2nd half saw Spurs try to get back into the game and they had another penalty ruled out by VAR after Kepa made a legitimate tackle on Moura but the referee awarded a penalty. Kepa then made a poor pass and Kane was able to score but was ruled offside. Three goals by Spurs but all ruled out. Chelsea didn’t have any big chances in the 2nd half but managed the game well despite being their own worst enemy. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

Cleansheet for Kepa and some solid saves from him in the game as well. The offside goal did stem from his mistake and he should know that in a pressure situation just boot it. A confident performance and good to see him doing well.

Defenders

A cleansheet for the defenders but some shaky moments through our own mistakes. Sarr was very good throughout the game and continues to do well when given a chance. Silva and Alonso did come in the 2nd half and managed to see out the win. Kane was the only real threat at times.

Midfielders

Jorginho and Kovacic controlled the midfield and passed around whatever Spurs through at them. Mount looked off pace and looked like he was struggling with something. Loftus-Cheek and Kante came on in the 2nd half with Chelsea flexing their depth. 

Forwards

Hudson-Odoi did well on the wing again and was dangerous. Werner and Lukaku linked up well in the first half with Werner especially invovled in a lot of the good moments. This is a formation that suits him. Ziyech came on in the 2nd half to see out the game along with the other substitutions. 

Manager

Tuchel post match said he was happy with the first half but the 2nd half was lacking and we weren’t playing at our full potentional. The German said that there is always room for improvement as well. There was good ingame management to change the formation when Spurs looked like gaining some momentum. Another final for him and that will please the team.

27th February the Carabao Cup final at Wembley. The opponent will be Arsenal or Liverpool but Chelsea can park the tournament for now. Next up is a trip to Manchester City in the Premier League, COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Tottenham (0) vs. (2) Chelsea Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg Preview

Big game at Spurs!

Chelsea travel to North London to play the 2nd leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham. Chelsea have a 2 goal advantage going into the game but there is no away goal advantage. Spurs go into this game having beaten Morecambe during the weekend and will have to score a minimum of 2 goals without reply to take the game to extra time. Spurs in the first leg were extremely poor for much of the game so there is alot of room for improvement in this 2nd leg.

Chelsea go into this game with the 2 goal advantage and having beaten Chesterfield 5-1 in the FA Cup. Tuchel pre-match said that the advantage doesn’t exist and the players need to treat this as a one off game. A tough team at a tough stadium with an amazing coach. Chelsea can expect tougher opposition with Spurs at home and Spurs will have to come out fighting in this game. The first leg was straight forward but Chelsea could have easily scored a few more and finished this tie off. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Kepa should return to goal after the rest during the weekend. I expect a back three of Azpilicueta, Silva, and Rudiger. Pulisic, and Alonso should start as the wing backs with a midfield of Jorginho, and Kovacic. Mount, Ziyech, and Lukaku should start up front for Chelsea. Plenty of these players were rested during the weekend and should be fresh for this game. The likes of Werner, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Saul, and Kante should be available off the bench. Chelsea did switch between a 3 at the back and 4 in the first leg and I expect the same here. Pulisic, and Ziyech can then move up with Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, and Alonso as the back four. Lewis Hall is also still with the squad after his brilliant performance against Chesterfield. I doubt he will start as a left wing back in this game. It’s a good lineup and one that has players in some sort of good form.

Tottenham Team Preview

Tottenham will not have Son available for this game as he has been ruled out for the month. Conte was able to rest key players during the weekend but the likes of Moura and Kane did eventually come on to get the win for Conte. Lloris should start in goal with a back three of Tanganga, Sanchez, and Davies. Emerson, and Reguilon should start as the wing backs with Skipp, and Hodjberg making up the midfield two. Moura, Gil, and Kane should start up front for Spurs. I doubt there is a gung ho form of Conte but maybe Alli could start in one of the midfield positions if they want to attack more or Winks. 

Starting XI Prediction

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Tottenham failed to bring the fire in the 1st leg and Chelsea dominated the game. The 2nd leg should see Tottenham come out fighting because they are at home and the crowd will demand it. Cheslea will treat this game as a one off and will know the job is not done until the whistle has blown to end the game. COME ON CHELSEA!!!