Welcome back to everyone’s least favorite cup, though if we can knock out José Mourinho’s Spurs from this year’s Carabao nonsense, it would certainly elevate the occasion.
The Special Sour One has already lined up his excuses — which, in fairness, is very easy considering that they have to play four (4!) games in eight (8!) days — but trust me, that won’t take away from the joy of beating them, or, for that matter, the disappointment in losing to them.
But it’s all about belief and togetherness and visualizing a win, right?
Date / Time: Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 19.45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, N17
Referee: Lee Mason — no VAR (only in use for semifinals and final in the Carabao Cup this season)
Forecast: Mild and dry
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); none (USA);
none Colors Infinity (India); SuperSport Maximo (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); ESPN+ (USA); JioTV (India); DStv Now (NGA) — We (WAGNH) have an affiliate link for ESPN+ if you’re in the US and would like to sign up for the best value in sports streaming (or, if you’re like me, sign up for the Disney-Hulu-ESPN+ bundle).
Tottenham team news: Spurs fell victim to the silly new handball rule — well, not new, but newly implemented for this season — in drawing just 1-1 over the weekend against Newcastle, and the literal injury to that insult was Son Heung-min’s hamstring giving way. He’s going to be out for “a while”, and joins Japhet Tanganga and ... Gareth Bale in the treatment room.
No, that’s not a throwback, or a Kyle Walker — Kyle Walker-Peters situation. It’s the same Gareth Bale, back on loan from Real Madrid. But he’s currently out with a knee problem. Moussa Sissoko also missed their last match with an illness, though we trust it’s not COVID-19.
Speaking of the ‘rona, Spurs have yet to actually play a match in this competition, receiving a bye in the third round thanks to Leyton Orient’s positive tests. But that was only temporary reprieve for their ridiculous fixture list, which sees them with not one but two (2!) midweek matches, one in the League Cup and the other in the Europa League. Ouch. It pays to get into the Champions League, Spurs.
That said, Spurs will be motivated and regardless of whom they put out, they will be a good side ready to get one over their rivals. Don’t fall for José’s pity party.
View from the enemy: Cartilage Free Captain
Chelsea team news: The injury situation has improved slightly from the weekend, with both Ben Chilwell and new goalkeeper Édouard Mendy declared fit and ready, though it’s unclear if either will start. Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech are still out, but the latter’s back in training, so he should be getting close. Billy Gilmour is making progress as well, recently seen lacing up some boxing gloves at Cobham and getting that literal fighting spirit back. G’wan, Billy G!
Billy Gilmour’s recovery seems to be going well, via Mason Mount’s Instagram pic.twitter.com/NCF47h0GNn— PresidentPulisic (@BridgeBlues1) September 28, 2020
The big breaking news is the supposed Lampard vs. Alonso situation, with the head coach “lambasting” the veteran left back for a bit of unprofessional behavior after he was subbed off at half-time against West Brom. We’ll see if anything more comes from that, but I certainly wouldn’t expect Alonso to play anytime soon.
Chelsea’s rousing three-goal comeback in that game was a bit lost amid the other issues and individual errors that continue to plague the team on the pitch — Thiago Silva coming up to speed real quick in that regard, unfortunately — but if we can build on the second half performance, we just might be okay.
Previously: Chelsea got the double over Spurs last season, and have in fact won four in a row against them in all competitions. We recently met in the League Cup as well, with the Blues prevailing on penalties in the semifinal second leg, back when we used to have time to play second legs. WARNING: includes Kepa being good.