>Tottenham at Wembley is always a huge occasion. Followed by a Champions League semi final Vs Barcelona and then Arsenal at The Emirates makes it a colossal occasion. A win on Sunday could be the catalyst to salvaging a season that many wrote off, a loss could be the incendiary that truly blows the wheels from this campaign, leaving us lucky to be playing Metalist Kharkiv next season.
With such a congested April period, Roberto Di Matteo’s selection process will certainly be difficult. A 6 day resting period is enough to stop a repeat of the lethargic performance shown at Craven Cottage and more than enough time for the players to compose themselves for the task ahead. Branislav Ivanovic is currently waiting on the outcome of his appeal against a 3 match ban and he will be a huge loss if it is not overturned, Jose Bosingwa just doesn’t instil the same confidence the dominating Serbian does. Ashley Cole looks to return after missing the last two games with an ankle injury meaning will Ryan Bertrand will drop to the bench. John Terry is expected to play through pain as per usual and partner Gary Cahill or David Luiz. What’s a couple of broken ribs compared to a semi final against Spurs, eh?
Tottenham are sweating on news concerning Younes Kaboul after he hobbled off in the defeat to Norwich on Monday. Ledley King is also fighting to be fit after a recurrence of his knee troubles and William Gallas will need to prove his fitness by the end of the weekend if he is to feature. Scott Parker and Aaron Lennon are both set to return after slight knocks leaving Redknapp with huge decisions to make concerning tactics. Accommodating attacking options of late has been an issue and the 4-4-2 displayed last week certainly looked unbalanced and exposed.
Although Di Matteo has only lost once as Chelsea boss, there seems to be a worrying trend of fragile performances in the last 15 minutes of matches. The Wembley pitch is renowned for draining the legs of players and with the first semi final the day before not helping matters, Di Matteo needs to recognise the need for rotation before and during the game. It is defiantly the biggest and hardest game of our season yet but if the fight, spirit and tenacity shown against Villa can be repeated on Sunday there is no reason the many attacking threats of Tottenham cannot be contained and countered, especially in their stuttering form. Recent performances would point to the game starting as a timid affair, with both sides eager not to give an inch. A win against bitter rivals, in the semi final of the FA Cup, could be the platform for a memorable run-in. My prediction; 2-1 Chels after extra time.