Spurs to heal old wounds
FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea provides shot at redemption and momentum
TOTTENHAM Hotspur fans could be excused for putting their faith in the old mantra “what goes around comes around” as tomorrow’s seismic FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea looms.
Decades of misery have been inflicted by a club they once lorded it over, so victory at Wembley would not only heal some of the scars but also fuel belief that the Premier League title race could yet have a final twist.
While a win would put Tottenham in their first FA Cup final since they beat Nottingham Forest in 1991, possibly against north London rivals Arsenal who play Manchester City on Sunday, it could have wider ramifications for the final weeks of the season.
In the space of a few weeks Tottenham have whittled long-time league leaders Chelsea’s advantage down from 13 to four points thanks to their own dazzling form and defeats by Crystal Palace and Manchester United for Antonio Conte’s side.
The cracks that have appeared in Chelsea’s facade could open wider should they succumb to a rampant Totside seven tenham who have won successive league games. Conversely, should Chelsea prevail it would give them the impetus to claim the Premier League and FA Cup double they last achieved in 2010. “For the neutral it’s a fantastic game and for us it’s a great opportunity to go into a final,” Chelsea defender Gary Cahill said. “Two very good sides are going against each other. Every top player enjoys big games and this is a huge one at the weekend. But you only enjoy them if you win them.” The last of Chelsea’s seven FA Cup triumphs came in 2012 when they also met Tottenham in the semifinal. It proved to be a chastening experience for Tottenham as they were crushed 5-1 with the aid of a disputed goal scored by Juan Mata. If that were not a bitter enough pill to swallow, a few weeks later Tottenham saw a Champions League place ripped from under their noses when Chelsea improbably beat Bayern Munich in Bavaria to win the competition. Tottenham had finished fourth to Chelsea’s sixth in the Premier League and ordinarily would have qualified for the Champions League. Instead Chelsea did as winners and Tottenham dropped into the Europa League Chelsea have been at pains to distance the title race from Saturday’s duel, but momentum is key when the season reaches the final sprint and while an all-Lonnal don Cup semifinal hardly needs selling, the fact that it is between the two clubs contesting a two-horse title race
We all know you either go to the (FA Cup) final or you don’t and so we must put in 200% to reach the final. It won’t be easy because Tottenham now are the best team. They are in great form and they have a lot of enthusiasm because they are feeling the possibility of writing history.” If you analyse where we came from, it’s a fantastic time for Tottenham. And how you build your project is important to analyse. Tottenham is not building now in an artificial way. It is not about putting in money and building a fantastic stadium.”
MAGIC FEET: Chelsea’s Belgian forward Eden Hazard. STRIKER SUPREME: Tottenham midfielder Dele