Why FA Cup semi-final will affect Premier League title race
Written by: Sourav Neogi
As Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur prepare to do battle at Wembley Khel Now looks at how the result of tonight's club clash clash could affect the Premier League title race...
As the English domestic season heads to another exciting finish Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have undoubtedly emerged as the two best teams of the campaign. The Blues lead the title race but Spurs are just four points behind hem. It is in this backdrop that the two teams meet tonight at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final. Whatever the result, one thing is for certain there is more at stake than just a place in the Cup showpiece.
The two London clubs have been dominating the domestic leagues since the beginning of the season. Chelsea will compete against Tottenham Hotspur today coming from a dreaded 2-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United the previous weekend. Tottenham, on the contrary, are in a healthy run of form, which they have been in for quite some time. The fact that Tottenham has scored 15 goals in their last five fixtures while conceding only two is a major concern for an off-color Chelsea vanguard.
What’s at stake?
While Spurs have the tougher fixtures they have the momentum while Chelsea are wobbling.
As far as the run-in is concerned Antonio Conte's men definitely have the easier fixures but after recemt slip-ups against the likes of Crystal Palace and United its fair to say that Spurs have the momentum. The Blues have home gaes against Southampton, Middlesbrough, Watford and Sunderland, while they are away to Everton and West Bromwich Albion. The Toffees will be their toughest opponents but they should get 15 points from the other five games. The Cup semi-final presents them the opportunity to stop their own slide and halt high-flying Tottenham in their tracks.
Spurs have won their last seven on the trot, but they have the tougher fixtures. Away trips to Palace, West Ham United, Leicester City and Hull City will not be easy, while Arsenal and United are both still to come to White Hart Lane. That said, a win tonight could provide Mauricio Pochettino's men the added edge they need to sweep through the rest of the season.
One thing is for sure, the psychological effect of defeat tonight could have a big bearing on either team's form in the run-in. It could be especially damaging for the North Londoners given their fixtures and the fact that they have to play catch-up.
Conte vs Pochettino
Antonio Conte, the highly rated Italian manager has been banging the Italian drums at Stamford Bridge since his arrival. However, with a tricky time pursuing him and his team, Conte will need to step up and let his managerial abilities take over. Diego Costa, one of the prime jewels of the Chelsea forward line is out of form since some time now and will pose a headache to the Italian maestro.
Pochettino has been accused of choking at the challenging and most significant points for some time now. However, the Argentine is breaking all stereotypes about him since when Spurs have been in a magnificent form and stand only four points short of table toppers Chelsea FC in the Premier League.
So, as England's two best teams preprepare to meet in the world's oldest Cup competition it is clear that the result on the night will detail a lot about the substance of their respective seasons and determine where they go from here. It is this added context that makes this fascinating clash, one that the world will watch.
Published: Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:05 AM IST