Sunday 1st March – 16:00 – Wembley Stadium
The first English trophy of the season is up for grabs at Wembley on Sunday as Chelsea and Tottenham meet in the Capital One Cup final. The Blues currently sit top of the Premier League, yet drew to 1-1 to Burnley last weekend, only the second time that they have dropped points at Stamford Bridge in the league this season. Tottenham also drew at home, needing a last minute equaliser against West Ham to make it 2-2. However, they were dumped out of the Europa League by Fiorientina on Thursday so need to pick themselves up quickly. Mauricio Pochettino’s side got to Wembley after beating Sheffield United 3-2 over two legs in the semi-final, whilst the Blues needed extra time to beat Liverpool 2-1 on aggregate. Both teams are looking to secure their fifth League Cup success, with the Blues’ most recent triumph coming in 2007, and Spurs’ in 2008, when they beat Chelsea in the final. Both games between the two sides this season have been high scoring, as was the last time they met at Wembley, in the 2012 FA Cup semi-final when Chelsea won 5-1. We should expect plenty of goals then…
The Key Battle: Jose Mourinho vs Mauricio Pochettino
I think that in a cup final, the battle which decides the game is that of the managers, and who gets their tactics right to lead their side to glory.
Jose Mourinho sealed his first trophy on English soil 10 years ago when Chelsea edged an entertaining League Cup final 3-2 against Liverpool at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
In his second spell in charge, Mourinho has transformed the fortunes of the men from Stamford Bridge, and success in Sunday’s final could be one of several trophies this season.
He finished 2013-14 trophy-less, so has made it his mission to win as much silverware as possible this season, and who is to get in the Special One’s way?
Mauricio Pochettino will attempt to stop him, and in the process try to win his first trophy as a manager since becoming a gaffer in 2009.
He endured a stuttered start to life at White Hart Lane, but the Argentine supremo has certainly turned things around, having instilled his high pressing game on his new side.
However, he has the tough task of picking his team up after what will have been a gutting defeat to Fiorientina on Thursday night.
- After getting sent off against Burnley last weekend for his reaction to a tackle by Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, Nemanja Matic is suspended for Chelsea.
- With Jon Obi Mikel injured, Ramires is the only other option for the holding midfield role in the Blues’ starting XI.
- Jose Mourinho has decisions to make in goal, with Thibaut Courtois likely to be selected ahead of Petr Cech, and in central defence, with Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill competing to start alongside John Terry.
- Mauricio Pochettino made seven alterations for Thursday’s Europa League tie at Fiorentina, starting the likes of Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker from the bench with the Wembley finale in mind.
- Deputy goalkeeper Michel Vorm has started every League Cup game so far, so the Spurs boss has a decision to make on whether to continue with the Dutchman or play Hugo Lloris.
- Captain Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor and Etienne Capoue will be sweating on their place in the squad after being left in London for the Europa League trip to Florence.
Chelsea wins = 61 / Tottenham wins = 46 / Draws = 36
Last Meeting: Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea (1st January 2015)
Chelsea were stunned by a Harry Kane-inspired Tottenham to surrender their lead at the top of the Premier League. Diego Costa’s tap-in put Chelsea ahead, but Kane’s 20-yard drive levelled and then Danny Rose followed up a rebound. Kane was tripped by Gary Cahill for an Andros Townsend penalty, with Kane’s turn and shot giving Spurs a fourth. Eden Hazard’s low shot gave Chelsea hope, but Nacer Chadli’s deflected effort meant John Terry’s late close-range goal was only a consolation. It was only Chelsea’s second defeat of the season and meant that they were only top of the division based on alphabetical order.
Stat of the Match
Petr Cech, John Terry and Didier Drogba played in both the 2005 and 2007 finals under Mourinho, with Drogba scoring in both (once in 2005, twice in 2007). The Ivorian also scored Chelsea’s goal in defeat to Tottenham in 2008.
Where can I watch it?
The final is being shown live on Sky Sports 1 from 2:30pm on Sunday afternoon, with kick-off at 4pm. The highlights will then be shown on The League Cup Show, which is on BBC One at 11:35pm.
My Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
Not only will Jose Mourinho want to get revenge for the loss to Spurs in January, but he’ll be very keen to bag his first trophy in his second spell at Chelsea. It won’t be easy though, with goals from Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas just about winning it for the Blues, with Harry Kane scoring for a Tottenham side who will push Chelsea all the way for the first piece of silverware of the season.