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Chelsea vs Tottenham Match Preview & Key Battles

Two of the three London teams still left in the competition will go head to head on Saturday in Wembley in the first semifinal as league leaders Chelsea take on second placed Tottenham Hotspur for a place in the show piece final.

Both sides have been the standard of which English football excellence has been measured upon this season, and just like they have done all season in the league, they will go neck to neck in their bid to lift the famous old trophy, and this will definitely be the tie of the round.

Both Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino respectively have fit squads to select from and will definitely pick their strongest available line ups as this is a game they will not only view as an excellent chance to win some silverware this season, but also a game that can swing the pendulum in their favor as far as the title race is concerned.

Games between these two sides have always been heated and competitive and nothing short of that is expected come Saturday, so below are some of the key battles that could be the thin line between victory and defeat:

1. Gary Cahill v Harry Kane-

In John Terry’s absence, Gary Cahill has been the undisputed leader and an absolute rock in the heart of the Chelsea backline and despite his obvious lack of speed, he’s got great positional awareness, reads the game superbly, is an excellent tackler and is formidable in the air, and come Saturday, he will have to display all these attributes and much more to shackle Harry Kane who has been in formidable form in front of goal, finding the back of the net 27 times in all competitions this season (3 in The FA Cup). Deceptively very quick and strong, the 23 year is a good dribbler as epitomized by his average of 1.1 dribbles per game, poses a direct and indirect aerial threat thanks to this 6 2″ frame and is a dead eye finisher from inside or outside the box.

A battle between a man whose task is to ensure that the ball doesn’t end up in the back of the net against a man whose task is to put the ball in the back of the net.

2. N’golo Kante v Dele Alli-

Easily the best midfield destroyer in the game today, N’golo Kante’s ability to cover a lot of ground, perfectly timed tackles , immaculate positioning which enables him to make numerous interceptions, and his ability to dribble his way out of trouble makes him the total package in that holding midfield role and very few attacking midfielders have been able to get the better of the Frenchman this season, but if there’s a midfielder who can, its Tottenhams ‘s Dele Alli.

The Englishman could make a Swiss Army knife jealous of his versatility. Standing at 6 2″, he is a skillful and balanced midfielder with an excellent burst of speed which enables him to glide past opponents with ease, is good in the air and has a phenomenal eye for goal as he has notched 20 goals in all competitions this season, which is hugely impressive for a midfielder. He’s not shy of his defensive duties either as his work rate and tenacity enable him to add that extra body when his side don’t have the ball and all these attributes rolled up into one make him the complete midfielder. The only weakness he has is that he’s foul happy, and he will have to watch on that if he is to win this battle as Kante is not as foul happy as the 23 year old.

3. Eden Hazard v Kyle Walker-

The best attacker in the country at the moment, the wiry Belgian is an explosive and fearless forward who can turn a game on its head with his vast plethora of attacking attributes which are that sudden burst of speed and mazy dribbling which oftenly leaves opponents on their backsides. He also has a decent goal scoring record with 19 in all competitions, and if Chelsea do win it all this season, he will definitely be at the heart of it. In his way however, will be a man who is touted as the best right back in the country at the moment- Kyle Walker.

The 27 year old is lightning quick, has got a good cross in him, athletic, good in the air and aggressive, attributes that enable him get up and down that right hand side relentlessly consequently shackling some of the league’s best wide men, so if there’s a man who can keep the Belgian quiet, it’s the Englishman.

4. Diego Costa v Toby Alderwiereld-

The 28 year old Brazilian born Spanish striker is a defense bullying combination of brute strength and nasty temperament, and while the latter has gotten him into trouble with officials, he does have the knack of getting under the skin of defenders, and his opponent for the weekend Toby Alderwiereld, will have to be wary of Costa’s cerebral game if he’s to get the better of the fiery striker.

That said and done, the Belgian centre half is the perfect man for the job- tough, mentally strong, error free, excellent ball distribution from the back and an excellent leader.