Tottenham v Chelsea FA Cup betting preview: Spurs to roll back the years

 

A season that was shaping up to be an extraordinary one for Harry Redknapp and his swashbuckling Tottenham side has drifted off course since the turn of the year, but all is not lost and we believe victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday can breath fresh life into their campaign, setting them up for a grandstand finish on two fronts.

We already have the Lilywhites onside at 8/1 in the outright market but we're not about to take cover on our original stake by siding with Chelsea. Based on the campaign to date, we don't see why we should.

With a dominant Tottenham display in the league game at Stamford Bridge still fresh in the memory, we firmly believe that Spurs are the better side and that's why we're backing them to produce the goods and get the job done inside 90 minutes at 17/10.

To punters of a certain age, Tottenham is a club steeped in FA Cup tradition. Back in the pre-Sky era when the FA Cup final really was an occasion to savour, the North London club were regular visitors to Wembley. Between 1981 and 1991, they appeared in four finals, all of which went to extra time, three of which they won, needing a replay in two.

But 21 years have passed since their last appearance and now it's Chelsea who can lay claim to being the most successful FA Cup team of the modern era. Since the turn of the Millennium, the West London outfit have appeared in five finals and won four, including three out of five at the new Wembley.

However, the climate is changing and it seems as though the layers are letting history get in the way of their better judgement. As things stand, Tottenham are two points ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League table in spite of a dodgy eight-match sequence during which the Blues have made up eight points.

The 2-1 home defeat to Norwich on Easter Monday is likely to be a key stumbling block for many punters but a watershed performance can be no bad thing immediately prior to a game as big as this - just ask Manchester City fans how they felt going into last season's semi-final with United on the back of an abject 3-0 defeat at Liverpool.

The sense of debt the follows such a display, the sheer desire to quickly make amends, can often over-ride any nerves that may otherwise have surfaced to hinder the next performance.

Of much greater significance, we feel, is the distraction of a Champions League semi-final against Barcelona that Chelsea must cater for. It's a little harsh on Roberto Di Matteo that this game must be played on Sunday evening, leaving him with just two full days to prepare for the first leg against the all-conquering European champions.

You simply cannot peak for a game like this and then expect to live with Pep Guardiola's men so soon afterwards, so compromises will have to be made somewhere and we see that coming in the shape of Chelsea's tactics.

Given the obvious attacking threat that Tottenham pose, it would be folly for the Blues to become embroiled in an emotional rolloer-coaster and we should expect them to try and suffocate the play. As such, we should expect a low-scoring encounter and there's added value to be found in backing Tottenham to win 1-0 at 8/1.

Recommended bet:

2pts Tottenham to beat Chelsea at 17/10 (Ladbrokes)

1pt Tottenham to beat Chelsea 1-0 at 8/1 (Bet365)

For more betting news and views, please visit Bestofthebets.com. You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB

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