As Manchester City runs away with the English Premier League title, now sitting 10 points above the pack, the domestic cup competitions in England take on a new importance for some of England’s top clubs as they chase silverware this season.
Chelsea and Tottenham will both find plenty of motivation when they meet in the Carabao Cup semifinals at Stamford Bridge in the first of two legs to decide who moves on to the final at Wembley. The meeting represents a rematch of the 2015 final when goals by John Terry and Diego Costa downed Spurs 2-0.
Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris were among the current Spurs players who took part in that 2015 match, and will be looking to avenge the defeat. Tottenham made the Carabao Cup final last year, too, losing 1-0 to a Manchester City team that also beat Chelsea on penalty kicks in 2019 in the Blues’ most recent appearance in the tournament’s title match.
Adding to the storylines, Tottenham manager Antonio Conte (press conference below) makes his return to Stamford Bridge where he spent two seasons and won both other domestic trophies — the Premier League and the FA Cup — but failed to come away with the Carabao Cup.
How to watch Chelsea vs. Spurs
- Date: Wednesday, Jan. 5
- Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
- TV channel: –– none ––
- Spanish-language TV: –– none ––
- Streaming: ESPN+ (subscribers only)
The Wednesday match between Chelsea and Tottenham from Stamford Bridge will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN’s streaming service ESPN+ which has carried every match of the tournament’s latter stages.
Chelsea vs. Tottenham projected lineups
Romelu Lukaku has apologized to manager Thomas Tuchel for his interview with Sky Italia and has been brought back into the fold, potentially starting against Spurs. Another influential player, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, won’t be there after departing for the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving Kepa Arrizabalaga as the first-choice option.
In midfield, Jorginho is back from injury and likely will return to the starting lineup, which means one of Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante will see the bench, though both were fantastic in Sunday’s Premier League draw with Liverpool. The guess is Kante drops to the bench, as Kovacic ran the show against Liverpool and Kante has struggled with nagging injuries of late.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is possibly set to feature after recovering from COVID-19, and Timo Werner could join him after both reportedly rejoined training. Andreas Christensen (back) and Reece James (hamstring) are out, and Trevoh Chalobah suffered a thigh strain against Liverpool and will miss out. So Thiago Silva should remain in the starting lineup for a thin Chelsea defensive corps.
Chelsea projected starting lineup (3-4-3, left to right): Kepa (GK) — Rudiger, Silva, Azpilicueta — Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Pulisic — Hudson-Odoi, Lukaku, Mount.
Tottenham’s only injury concerns are Steven Bergwijn and Ryan Sessegnon, both of whom are out for the next week or so as they continue recovery from injury setbacks.
As a result of its relatively healthy squad, Spurs have options in midfield: Giovani Lo Celso is back from his knee injury but he’s stuck behind Spurs products Oliver Skipp and Harry Winks, both of whom are in good form as they take turns rotating alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Dele Alli got a chance against Southampton but disappointed, and it’s unlikely Conte would go back to him for this match. Expect few changes, if any, from the weekend win over Watford.
Tottenham projected starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): Lloris (GK) — Davies, Dier, Sanchez — Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Emerson — Son, Kane, Lucas Moura.
Chelsea vs. Tottenham betting pick & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
Lukaku’s return means great things for Tuchel and the Blues. It’s clear that Chelsea is a better team with Lukaku on the field leading the attack. The Blues don’t have another player who can do what Tuchel asks of Lukaku — even if the Belgian may not like it. This next month sets up nicely for Lukaku to begin his redemption tour.
Tottenham, meanwhile, looks better under Conte lately, but the goalscoring has worryingly evaporated. Spurs failed to score in over a half against 10-man Southampton, and then barely squeaked by a leaky Watford defense. With matches against Arsenal and Chelsea (again) upcoming in league play, this match could possibly help the Spurs attack get back on track against a Chelsea defense that’s coping with key injuries.
So a high-scoring match is once again possible after their last meeting back in August, when the Blues dominated in a 3-0 road win on the strength of 2.5 expected goals. Assuming Lukaku lines up, it’s hard not to favor Chelsea at home when you’re getting the Blues at plus money (+100). And if you believe in the case for the over, the parlay only serves to sweeten the pot (+240).
Pick: Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
Prediction: Chelsea win & over 2.5 goals (+240)
- Moneyline: Chelesa +100 / Draw +260 / Tottenham +275
- Spread: Chelsea -0.5 (-105) / Tottenham +0.5 (-125)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over +100 / Under -125
- Both teams to score: Yes -120 / No -105