Chelsea vs Tottenham tactics: Predicting where the Carabao Cup semi-final will be won and lost

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·1-min read
Chelsea vs Tottenham tactics: Predicting where the Carabao Cup semi-final will be won and lost
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Chelsea and Tottenham go head to head tonight in the first leg of their eagerly-anticipated Carabao Cup semi-final tie.

There are subplots aplenty as the two London rivals clash, most notably Spurs boss Antonio Conte returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time since his 2018 sacking.

Throw in the return of Chelsea’s record signing Romelu Lukaku after he was dropped by Thomas Tuchel in the aftermath of an explosive, unsanctioned interview and you have all the ingredients for a cracking contest.

Here, Standard Sport’s chief football correspondent Dan Kilpatrick looks at where the game could be won and lost...

Full-back dominance

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Both managers are likely to start with a back three and wing-backs, so control of the flanks should be crucial.

Spurs pair Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon are raw, and not yet at the level of Conte's wing-backs at Chelsea, but the hosts are still missing Reece James and Ben Chillwell, and Tuchel will have to make do with back-ups again.

Stopping Lukaku

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Spurs pair Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen knew how to handle their Belgium teammate when Lukaku was at Everton and Manchester United.

Now, though, Spurs have a new-look back three, who will likely have to shackle an extra-motivated Lukaku with a point to prove to Tuchel and Chelsea's fans.

Midfield battle

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Centre midfield has long been a Chelsea strength and a Spurs weakness, although that is changing under Conte.

The Italian has made Oliver Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg his preferred pairing, and establishing midfield dominance will be key for service to the wing-backs and forwards.

Chelsea may make changes, with Ross Barkley and Saul Niguez hoping for minutes.

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