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Chelsea meet Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-final on the weekend in a match which could be hugely significant for the end of the Premier League season.
With Tottenham hanging on in the title race, a win for them at Wembley would not only mean a place in the FA Cup final come the end of the season but it would also land a blow on the team they are attempting to catch at the top of the Premier League table.
This is a massive game, with an FA Cup final place at stake but both teams know there is more to it than that. Whoever comes out on top in this match, will take the psychological advantage with them in to the Premier League fixtures next week.
Over the course of the last few weeks, Tottenham have whittled down Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League table thanks to their own excellent form and two defeats suffered by Antonio Conte’s team.
A few cracks have started to appear at Stamford Bridge and having gone twelve games without a defeat in all competitions, the Blues have suffered two in their last four games. The loss at home to Crystal Palace was a big upset and the defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday hurt Conte, who took all the blame for his team’s poor display.
Despite failing to find the back of the net against Manchester United, it’s in defence where the problems have emerged. Trends show Chelsea have kept just one clean sheet in their previous seven games in all competitions and that came back in mid-March in the FA Cup quarter-final. Manchester United played with ten men for almost an hour in that match.
While Chelsea have been struggling of late, Tottenham have been flying and trends show it is now ten games in all competitions without a defeat for Mauricio Pochettino’s team. Tottenham have won their last eight games in a row and have conceded only two goals in their previous six.
Tottenham fans will remember the FA Cup semi-final in 2012, when Chelsea took them apart to win 5-1 and go on to land the trophy. Not only that but in the same season Chelsea went on to win the Champions League in Munich, which was an unlikely victory and took Tottenham’s Champions League place away with it.
So, despite being the form team in the Premier League at present, Tottenham fans will be wary of getting too excited ahead of this match.
Looking at the team news and Chelsea could be without Thibaut Courtois, Gary Cahill, Diego Costa, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso, who are all rated as doubtful for the game. Courtois has an ankle injury whereas the other four have been suffering from illness. Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro could operate as wing-backs if Moses and Alonso fail to make it.
Tottenham are without Danny Rose, Erik Lamela and Harry Winks, who are all injured and reserve goalkeeper Michel Vorm is a doubt
Pochettino’s team have been disappointing at Wembley in European competition this season and have defeat Chelsea only twice in their previous sixteen meetings. However, Tottenham are playing the better football at present and have a fantastic opportunity to end Chelsea’s hopes of winning the FA Cup and add to the pressure in the Premier League title race.