Tottenham Hotspur plays the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final today at Stamford Bridge, so what do Spurs need to do on the away trip to advance?
Often when playing a two-legged tie, if you start as the team on the road, the goal is to keep things close and leverage your home game. However, given the current state of things Tottenham needs to do more if they want to set themselves up for advancement next week at home. Here are three things to look for as Spurs try and start strong against Chelsea in the first leg.
Tottenham needs to realize Chelsea is hard to beat
Since joining the Blues, Tomas Tuchel has made Chelsea is a difficult team to beat. In 31 matches in all competitions this season, Chelsea has only lost three times. The Blues have lost to Juventus (1-0), Manchester City (0-1), and to West Ham United (3-2).
Juve counter-attacked Chelsea
Making matters worse, none of the three losses were really the same. Chelsea dominated play against Juventus – at Allianz Stadium – controlling over 70% of the possession. Juventus was comfortable sitting back, absorbing pressure, and hitting Chelsea on the counter. Despite taking 16 shots on the day and all that possession, Wojciech Szczesny only had to make one save and a single goal just after the break was enough for Juventus to win.
City dominated the Blues
Manchester City’s win had a similar final result with a 1-0 win for the Cityzens, however, the game was much different. Whereas Juventus sat back and allowed Chelsea to dominate possession, City, did what City does and took control throughout. 60% is not total domination, however, the Sky Blues outshot the Blues 15 to 5 and Chelsea did not have a single shot on target.
West Ham out-slugged Chelsea
West Ham took a different approach to beat Chelsea, outscoring the Blues 3-2 in a slugfest at London Olympic Stadium. Like Juventus, West Ham played mostly without the ball – Chelsea held 64% of the possession – however, the Hammers attacked quickly and managed 11 shots to Chelsea’s 19. West Ham twice fell behind the Blues but came back to level both times before hitting the game-winner just 3-minutes short of injury time.
Given three very different teams have beaten Chelsea in three different ways, the good news is that the Blues can be beaten, the bad is it is not easy. So how should Tottenham approach Chelsea and why will their approach work?