Chelsea vs. Tottenham Semi-Final Preview

As the game kicks-off at Wembley this afternoon, so does my blog. Thanks for looking in on it, here are my views on this afternoon’s tie, written yesterday.

I hope Antonio Conte has given a place in the starting line-up to Captain, Leader, Legend, John Terry. I think it’s only fitting he should be given the chance to see out his long career at Chelsea on the field of play. It would be incredibly sad if he’s kicked his last football in anger for the Blues. Hopefully two final appearances at Wembley will culminate with him lifting the FA Cup on 27th May.

On the flip-side, one name I hope is missing, is that of Diego Costa. For me Costa’s had his chance for this season, maybe for ever. As the day’s pass, it seems less likely that he’ll be pulling on a CFC shirt next season. Michy Batshuyi should be given a chance in front of the ever-faltering Spanish Brazilian, there’s a phrase that conjures an image.

If Costa isn’t on the field, I suspect neither will be serial bench-warmer Batshuayi. Conte will be more likely to go with Eden Hazard playing the false nine role that worked well in the period Costa was injured earlier in the season.

With current captain Gary Cahill having been in hospital this week with an unknown illness, it seems unlikely he’ll make the ‘cut’. He’ll be replaced by either Terry or Nathan Ake who performed so well for Bournemouth in the first half of the season.

I’d like to see Chelsea line-up as follows – assuming he’s recovered from his ‘injury’ Courtois in goal, Terry to the right of Luiz, Azpilicueta to his left. Victor Moses right wing-back, Marcos Alonso left wing-back. N’Golo Kante alongside Cesc Fabregas in midfield. Up front I’d have Hazard, Pedro and Willian creating havoc in the Tottenham defence.

Chelsea need to take the game to Tottenham, move the ball quickly and not allow Spurs time on the ball or let them dictate. Spurs are on a terrific run but Chelsea can beat them. We need to be much sharper than against United last weekend though.

Following on from tragic passing of Tottenham Under 23 coach Ugo Ehiogu it’s going to be an incredibly emotional occasion. I’m sure the Chelsea fans in the stadium will give full respect to the minute’s silence prior to kick-off and to the minutes of applause in the 44th minute.

Footnote: Just seen the published team, no Terry, disappointing, no Costa, not so disappointing. Michy Batshuayi is in, will he take his chance? I really hope so, he’s got good players around him to create chances. As I say above, I would have preferred Fabregas over Matic, but providing Conte can be a bit more pro-active with his substitutions than he was last weekend then Fabregas could still have an impact at some point. Nathan Ake makes his 3rd appearance in the Cup this season, I’m sure he’ll step up to the plate.

Tottenham have gone with a strong starting line-up and looking at the starters they must favourites. Let’s hope the main course sees Chelsea get their just desserts and come out on top. See you on the other side. COME ON CHELSEA! COME ON CHELSEA!