Chelsea vs (0-1 on agg.) Tottenham Hotspur
It can be difficult for any football manager to motivate his multi-million pound players.
Just ask Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri right now.
What better way, though,than to be inspired by the chance of a trip to Wembley for a cup final.
That is the incentive facing the west Londoners as they welcome Spurs to Stamford Bridge in the EFL Cup.
Trailing 1-0 on aggregate after the first leg– ironically at Wembley –there is work to be done.
But after losing to a dubious VAR determined goal and up against opponents missing key players, they have a chance to exact revenge.
Chelsea were certainly very much second best during their trip to North London at the weekend.
The exasperated Sarri’s post-match comments were emphatically clear as he aimed a stinging rebuke at the attitude of some of his players.
Given that Chelsea have only won two of their past five matches and are now just three points clear of Arsenal in fifth and sixth-placed Manchester United in the Premier League, Sarri will justifiably feel some of his stars owe him a performance.
Given that they also trail to what they feel was an unfair decision, should arguably have returned from the first leg with parity and are now up against a Spurs side missing key men in the injured Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min at the Asian Cup, those players should not need extra motivation as they bid to book a place in next month’s final.
They could have a boost with a new arrival with Gonzalo Higuain reportedly on the verge of signing on loan for the remainder of the season.
If he does join the ranks of SW6, it will certainly improve an attack which has lost some of its potency in recent weeks with Olivier Giroud mainly consigned to the bench and the under-performing Alvaro Morata having returned to Spain by signing on loan for Atletico Madrid.
Maurizio Sarri is under pressure to qualify Chelsea into the finals
Higuain, who Sarri worked with at Napoli, will need little introduction to where the goal is as us fans will know, even if he has cut a frustrated figure during his time in Italy so far this term.
His arrival would provide one of the EFL Cup 2019 news stories but, more importantly, this tie offers a genuine chance for both sides to move closer to securing silverware, especially as their Premier League title hopes have evaporated.
It’s fair to say when the stakes are high, these teams often produce some of their most feisty clashes.
There have been many over the years with Chelsea generally holding the upper hand, until recently.
With Manchester City lying in wait for the winners, the EFL Cup 2019 should be quite a spectacle.
The only question now, looking at the EFL Cup 2019 betting odds, is who do you back?
After holding a hoodoo over Spurs for so long, Chelsea have struggled in recent years against their London rivals.
Spurs have won four of their last six meetings with Kane on target in both the first leg of this semi-final and the 3-1 league success in November, Sarri’s first defeat in the Premier League.
They also won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last season – their first success in 31 visits to Stamford Bridge in all competitions since February 1990.
Overall, Chelsea have triumphed in 68 of their meetings with Spurs enjoying victory 54 times and 40 matches ending all square.
When they met in the EFL Cup Final in 2015, Chelsea were 2-0 winners, thanks to goals from John Terry and Diego Costa.
Yet go back to the 2008 final and Spurs prevailed 2-1 in extra-time when a Didier Drogba opener was cancelled out by goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Jonathan Woodgate – the first final played at the new Wembley Stadium.
||Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur
||1X2 Draw @ 3.70
|January 25 03:45 (GMT+8)
Chelsea are firmer favourites than you would expect.
1X2 has them priced @ 1.70 with Spurs out @ 4.50 and the draw @ 3.70.
Asian Handicap betting favours the home side -0.50 @ 1.74 and Spurs +0.50 @ 2.21.
Double Chance Spurs or draw @ 2.04 is worth a punt and, if it’s tight defensively on what may be a tense night, the bet of under 2.50 goals @ 2.05 may grab your attention.
So which team will advance to the next round and the February 24 final?
Odds have Spurs @ 1.70 and Chelsea 0.00 @ 2.28.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:
| = €20 (Highly confident)
|| = €10 (CONFIDENT)
|| = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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