Capital One Cup final preview

Can Poch avoid another European hangover? (©GettyImages)

Tottenham and Chelsea fans will descend on Wembley Way on Sunday with equal expectation of their team prevailing to win the first piece of silverware on offer this season.

In what is a repeat of the 2008 final, the London rivals will clash following disappointing draws in the league, but both possessing striker’s capable of the sublime.

Whether it is Harry Kane for Tottenham or Diego Costa for Chelsea, this latest instalment of the League Cup showpiece won’t be short of firepower.

Previous encounters

The recent Spurs mauling of the Blues will be fresh in the minds of both sets of players, and the North Londoners will also have the sweeter memories of the 2008 final.

Kane was the thorn in the Chelsea defence at White Hart Lane in January’s 5-3 victory, but he, like most of this Tottenham team, won’t be able to call on the experience of beating the West Londoners in 2008.

Only Younes Kaboul, who was a 102nd minute substitute, remains from the Spurs side that won 2-1 in extra-time that day, and he is unlikely to be a starter this time, while John Terry is expected to be the sole survivor for Chelsea.

Didier Drogba opened the scoring and Jon Obi Mikel started in midfield, but both aren’t considered first choice in the current Chelsea team.

It is a team, though, that will be missing one of their most influential performers after Nemanja Matic was red carded against Burnley last weekend.

Jose Mourinho has been up to his old tricks in assembling one of the strongest Chelsea squads of all time, but the loss of Matic is a massive boost for Tottenham, what with the Serbian’s importance for balance in the midfield.

European hangover

As for Tottenham, they will go into the game with only two days rest following the second leg trip to Fiorentina on Thursday in the Europa League.

It’s been a similar story all season for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

The Thursday/Sunday fixture schedule has proved a costly combination already, winning four, losing four and drawing once after playing in Europe.

The Final will be the 45th game of Tottenham’s season and this period of games they are in may well be defining in their season. Swansea at home followed by two tricky away games against QPR and Manchester United mean the result on Sunday could be pivotal for the remainder of the campaign. Defeat would be disastrous for their top four hopes, whereas a win would be the perfect springboard.

After dropping points at home to West Ham last weekend, Pochettino can’t afford to let the fixture congestion on three competition fronts derail them. If anyone can keep a squad fit, it would be the Argentinian who is known for incredible fitness levels of his team to suit his pressing game.

Yet, defeat on Sunday and the season will have an all too familiar feel to it for Spurs fans.

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