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FA Cup

  • 15 April 2012
  • • 18:00
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 85731
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Tottenham - Chelsea Preview: Spurs target first FA Cup final appearance since 1991 with victory over 2010 winners

Harry Redknapp's team go into this season-defining clash in a patch of sticky form, while Roberto Di Matteo continues to press his claims to be handed the Blues' job full-time


PROBABLE LINEUPS

TOTTENHAM

Friedel
Walker, Gallas, Nelsen, Assou-Ekotto
Lennon, Modric, Parker, Bale
Van der Vaart, Adebayor

CHELSEA

Cech
Bosingwa, Terry, Cahill, Cole
Ramires, Mikel, Lampard, Mata
Sturridge, Torres


Both Tottenham's and Chelsea’s selection headaches prior to this crucial fixture will be dominated by thoughts about problems at the back.

For Harry Redknapp’s side, Younes Kaboul has been ruled out after hobbling off during the defeat against Norwich at home with a knee injury. Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Gomes are all long-term absentees too.

William Gallas has been declared fit, though doubts remain over whether Ledley King (knee) and Scott Parker (hamstring) will be passed fit in time, with King the most likely of the two to miss out.

For Roberto Di Matteo, John Terry (ribs) and Ashley Cole (ankle) remain concerns, but both are likely to start given the paucity of alternative options available. Branislav Ivanovic misses the game altogether through suspension, after picking up a three-match ban for striking Wigan’s Shaun Maloney, after his appeal was turned down by the FA.

Elsewhere, Oriol Romeu is still laid low through illness and Ryan Bertrand has been ruled out with a calf complaint.

With one eye on the club’s Champions League game against Barcelona, the interim boss may spring a few surprise last-minute changes to his line-up, and expect to see only one of either Fernando Torres or Didier Drogba start the match.



DID YOU KNOW?
  • Tottenham have not won the FA Cup in 21 years since beating Nottingham Forest 2-1 in 1991.
  • While it may not be considered a drought by some of the club's long-suffering supporters, Tottenham are also without a trophy in four years since winning the 2008 League Cup against their opponents on Sunday, Chelsea.
  • There has been nothing to choose between the two teams so far this season, as they drew 1-1 at White Hart Lane and 0-0 in the reverse fixture.
  • Tottenham are in a poor recent run of form and have picked up just one league win in eight.
  • The two clubs have faced eachother eight times before in FA Cup history, with both teams winning four times apiece.
  • Chelsea have won the competition three times in the last six years.
  • Chelsea have conceded 20 goals in the last 15 minutes of league and FA Cup matches this season.
  • Juan Mata (pictured right with Fernando Torres) is Chelsea's top scorer in the competition this season with three goals. Jermain Defoe is Tottenham's with three to his name also.
  • Chelsea have lost only two of their last 32 FA Cup matches, and one of those defeats was on penalties.
  • Roberto Di Matteo's record as interim boss so far reads won eight, drawn two, lost one across all competitions.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
23Carlo CudiciniGoalkeeper
32Benoit Assou-EkottoDefender
2Kyle WalkerDefender
20Ledley KingDefender
13William GallasDefender
7Aaron LennonMidfielder
11Gareth BaleMidfielder
19Luka ModricMidfielder
23Rafael van der VaartMidfielder
28Scott ParkerMidfielder
10Emmanuel AdebayorStriker
24Brad FriedelGoalkeeper
-Ryan NelsenManager/Coach
3Danny RoseMidfielder
14Jake LivermoreMidfielder
15SandroMidfielder
18Jermain DefoeStriker
17Giovani dos SantosStriker
1Petr CechGoalkeeper
3Ashley ColeDefender
23David LuizDefender
26John TerryDefender
3José BosingwaDefender
8Frank LampardMidfielder
12John Obi MikelMidfielder
7RamiresMidfielder
11Didier DrogbaStriker
8Juan MataStriker
8Salomon KalouStriker
21Ross TurnbullGoalkeeper
24Gary CahillDefender
15Florent MaloudaMidfielder
-Michael EssienMidfielder
14Raúl MeirelesMidfielder
15Daniel SturridgeStriker
9Fernando TorresStriker
Players to Watch
Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Welsh winger's form has fluctuated in recent weeks and rather unsurprisingly considering his importance to this Tottenham side, the whole team's form has coincided with this drop. With Chelsea missing their first choice right-back, and Aaron Lennon likely to return and add width on both sides of the pitch, Bale should be back to hugging that left-hand flank and Jose Bosingwa could be in for a torrid afternoon.
Juan Mata
Juan Mata
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 8
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
It's quite simple, when Mata plays well, so do Chelsea, and the diminutive midfielder makes Di Matteo's side tick. He is by far the team's most creative player and he has struck up a decent understanding with fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres in recent weeks. His ability to drift relatively undetected and exploit the gaps between midfield and defence should give the returning Scott Parker something to keep an eye on.

Prediction
Roberto Di Matteo's hand may be forced in terms of selection with such a huge game on the horizon against Barcelona looming, and that could have an adverse effect on the side he puts out. The return of Aaron Lennon should see a return to the free-flowing Tottenham side that became the norm earlier on in the campaign, and while they may not have been firing on all cylinders of late, worryingly for a Chelsea backline short of full fitness, they've been creating cast-iron chances aplenty and a trip to Wembley could be just the ticket to get things going again.
Editor's Prediction

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