CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) takes a view on the fascinating first FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Tottenham,
Chelsea v Tottenham | Saturday 17:15 | BBC One
The FA Cup has been a real contradiction this season. We’ve heard that the big sides haven’t taken it seriously yet four of the current Premier League top six have made the semi-finals. We’ve heard it was the year of the outsiders with Lincoln and Sutton providing big shocks but once again a major club will win the trophy.
Anyway, let’s not worry about that. It’s been a pretty dull FA Cup year for me but these semi-finals add real glitz to the competition.
First up on Saturday, England’s top two meet at Wembley as Chelsea face a trophy-starved Tottenham side.
Questions for Chelsea
Chelsea have a real chance of winning the Double after what’s been a sensational season but for the first time in seven months there are some questions to ask.
Two league defeats in the last three weeks has seen their lead at the top of the table cut from 10 points down to four and their loss at Old Trafford on Sunday was a meek one.
Chelsea were missing Marco Alonso last Sunday and the break up of their back five does seem to rattle them. The fact that Gary Cahill looks likely to be missing is a real concern for the club.
Defensively they’ve been wayward in recent weeks and January was the last time they kept a clean sheet in the league. Yup, that’s 10 straight games where they’ve conceded. It’s almost like the start of the season again.
It’s worrying for sure, but the way Chelsea bounced back after their Palace loss to beat Man City was impressive. It’s definitely in their arsenal to do something similar on Saturday.
Pressure falling on Spurs
The pressure is starting to creep back on Spurs again. They’re now just four points behind Chelsea and superlative after superlative is being heaped on them.
It’s usually a scenario that cripples the club and the fact they have such a poor record at Wembley gives an indicator of their big game mentality.
But maybe this is a new Spurs eh? Didn’t we see that in January when they beat Chelsea in the league? I’m not entirely convinced yet to be honest.
It’s eight wins in a row for Mauricio Pochettino’s side and they’ve been stunning in their last two matches as they’ve ripped apart Watford and Bournemouth. This will be a different test though.
I’d love to believe that this Spurs side is the real deal, but we still need to see more evidence. They’ve lost to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United and were shown the door in the Champions League group stage. Can they do it on the big day?
There are negatives around both sides heading into this semi-final and it’s Both Teams To Score that really stands out for me. I’m amazed to see it as big as 11/13. Chelsea can’t stop conceding while Spurs struggle at this venue and in these kind of games. Exactly 2-3 Goals and 1-1 also look big runners.
Chelsea v Tottenham – Both Teams To Score (11/13 188BET)