Everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup match at Wembley as the Blues face their rivals in a semi-final
Chelsea come up against fierce rivals Tottenham in the FA Cup on Saturday evening in a match could have wider implications for Premier League success as the two clubs compete for glory on two different fronts.
Spurs recently closed the gap on league-leaders Chelsea to just four points following their recent 4-0 win over Bournemouth, as Manchester United beat Chelsea at Old Trafford.
For now, though, Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino will turn their attention to cup success as they travel to Wembley on Saturday.
Thibaut Courtois is the biggest doubt to face Tottenham at the weekend after injuring his ankle during a commercial video shoot for the NBA. Asmir Begovic started against Manchester United with Courtois out of the match-day squad last week and is likely to do so again.
Marcos Alonso pulled out of the match at Old Trafford in the warm up due to sickness, while some reports also suggested that the sickness bug extended to Victor Moses and Diego Costa, who both struggled in Manchester.
Alonso is expected to recover in time for the FA Cup tie, while Chelsea are expected to have no other injury concerns ahead of the match.
David Luiz requires ongoing treatment for a knee injury, while Cesar Azpilicueta has played on with a broken bone in his hand in recent weeks, but neither injury has caused the key defenders to miss any of their team’s most important matches.
Chelsea have no players suspended for the match and have had few issues with discipline all season. John Terry has been their only player to be sent off, in the FA Cup against Peterborough United.
The cut off points for accumulations of 10 yellow cards passed two weeks ago and Chelsea avoided any of their players being banned. Costa reached 10 bookings after the cut-off point.
CHELSEA POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Jose Mourinho found a way to completely nullify Conte’s players in their 3-4-3 system which will raise concerns ahead of Tottenham.
Conte has been averse to making changes to his line ups throughout the course of the season but he may be motivated to experiment after his side’s worst performance since their 3-0 loss away to Arsenal.
Diego Costa has been out of form in recent weeks and several other players also performed poorly against Manchester United. Conte has the option of switching to a 3-5-2 formation which he used against Crystal Palace and Manchester City.
Kurt Zouma has broken back into the first-team in recent weeks and the FA Cup game is quickly followed by a home match versus Southampton on Tuesday – which might be another factor to encourage Conte to rotate his squad.
Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas will compete for a spot in central midfielder, while Willian and Pedro will also compete for a right forward position. Conte has used the same core of 14 players all season and any changes for Spurs are expected to be minor tweaks rather than radical overhauls.
TOTTENHAM TEAM NEWS
Harry Kane has recovered from injury, despite being a major doubt to face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final, having injured his ankle in the quarter-final against Millwall. Tottenham’s most significant injury is that of Danny Rose.
He isn’t expected to be fit in time to face Chelsea, as he recovers from his knee injury. Harry Winks has been ruled out for the season while Spurs continue to be without Erik Lamela who has missed almost the entire season with a hip injury.
Michel Vorm has a minor injury but should recover in time to make Spurs’ bench to deputise for Hugo Lloris. Pau Lopez may be the back-up to Lloris, in the case of Vorm’s absence.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
The Blues have only lost one of their last five FA Cup semi-final ties, but it was in their last such appearance in 2013 (vs Manchester City).
Tottenham have lost each of their last six FA Cup semi-final appearances (1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2010 and 2012). Should they lose this, they’ll set a record for consecutive FA Cup semi-final defeats (Chelsea also six between 1920 and 1966).
The last time these sides met in the competition was in the 2012 semi-final, with Chelsea running out 5-1 winners en route to lifting the trophy.
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
The game is being shown at 17.15 on BBC 1 in the UK on Saturday night. The match will be free to watch in the UK.