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League Cup: Spurs unlikely to climb semi-final mountain


League Cup: Spurs unlikely to climb semi-final mountain

Tottenham must attempt to somehow turn round a 2-0 deficit in their EFL Cup semi-final second-leg at home to Chelsea on Wednesday with a place at Wembley up for grabs.

Huge ask for Spurs

Antonio Conte will no doubt rally his troops and make all the right noises about the tie still being alive but, in truth, it's a huge ask for Spurs, who were very sluggish when just about beating League One Morecambe in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Spurs are 17/10 to win the second leg in the full-time market, Chelsea are 31/20 and a draw - which would suit the visitors - is currently 12/5.

The 2-0 reverse at Stamford Bridge in the first game could have been worse for Conte's men as Chelsea missed plenty of chances to secure a bigger advantage but that outcome at least ensures there is still a chance for Tottenham if they are able to score first on Wednesday.

First goal key

However, that's something that's only happened once in their last four games in all competitions - and that was a 90th minute-winner when they stumbled past struggling Watford on New Year's Day.

Throw in a 1-1 draw at Southampton just after Christmas and when analysing those games alongside the first-leg defeat and the most recent Morecambe display, then it becomes increasingly difficult to make a case for Spurs.

Sunday's 3-1 win in the other domestic cup competition was for so long looking like a huge upset as they had fallen behind in the first half and didn't even get on level terms until the 74th minute when Harry Winks finally equalised.

Even then, it wasn't pretty and took two players coming off the bench in Lucas Moura and Harry Kane to score and save their blushes with two more goals in the final five minutes.

Admittedly, there were plenty of changes and the likes of Lucas, Kane, Son Heung-min, Davinson Sanchez and Hugo Lloris should all return to beef Conte's team up but with the Blues two goals to the good, Chelsea can surely rest easy.

Chelsea back after wobble

There's no doubt Thomas Tuchel's side had a wobble throughout December with unexpected draws against Everton, Brighton and Wolves leaving them scrambling behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

However, they looked close to their best again when recovering from 2-0 down to deservedly draw 2-2 with Liverpool at the start of the month before comfortably despatching Spurs in the first semi-final clash and then non-league Chesterfield 5-1 in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Judging Tuchel's side in that third-round win - when they were 3-0 up inside 20 minutes - is probably unwise as they were taking on a team four tiers below and were in cruise control for much of it.

Overall, Tuchel's men do look like they've got their mojo back, though, and there were welcome goals at the weekend for Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech and the reintegrated Romelu Lukaku, who appears to have put his public fall-out with Tuchel now firmly behind him.

With Spurs needing to go on the attack, there will be plenty of room in behind for Cheslea to counter-attack and an away win on the night would not be a shock, with 2-1 in the correct scoreline appealing at 9/1. On a similar theme, a Chelsea win with both teams to score, on offer at 4/1, may also prove astute.

Team selection vital

It will be interesting to see what teams the repsective managers select with Conte likely to go strong to try and salvage the tie whereas Tuchel could be tempted to stick with a similar line-up to the one that dismantled Chesterfield.

Either way, anything but Chelsea progressing to the final overall, where they will face either Liverpool or Arsenal in the final, would be a massive surprise.

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