Tottenham Hotspur V Chelsea FA Cup Semi-Final Preview: Who Will Return To Wembley In May?

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 13/04/2012 14:36 Updated: 13/04/2012 16:11

Tottenham face Chelsea in the weekend's second FA Cup semi-final as one team will finally better its opponent this season.

On both occasions the two London sides have met in the league they have ended all square. A 1-1 December draw at White Hart Lane was followed by March's goalless stalemate at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea had Andre Villas-Boas in charge of the first clash before Roberto di Matteo oversaw the home match last month, and for the Lilywhites too it must seem like they have a different manager.

In the pre-Christmas game Harry Redknapp's hot Spurs were breathing down Manchester City and Manchester United's necks in third place, with title talk beginning to gain momentum.

But recently they have won just one from eight league games. Their slump has coincided with the media deeming Redknapp the heir apparent to Fabio Capello's England, but his inconsistent spell managing the club is now harming his chances of taking the national hot seat.

Tottenham defeat Chelsea at Wembley in the 2008 League Cup final:

It hasn't affected Gareth Bale's confidence however. The Welshman has stoked the flames ahead of the Wembley occasion by insisting Spurs are better than the Blues.

"If we are on our game on the day, then we can reach the final because I feel we have the better team," he assured the press on Thursday.

Spurs lost at this stage of the competition two years ago to Redknapp's former club Portsmouth 2-0, but Pompey were ultimately defeated in the final by Chelsea, who clinched the club's first ever double triumph.

Di Matteo himself has fond memories of Wembley (albeit the old one). He scored in two victorious FA Cup finals, including a 42-second strike against Middlesbrough in 1997 - the fastest goal in an FA Cup final until Louis Saha struck after 25 seconds for Everton against Chelsea in 2009.

Di Matteo scores in the 1997 FA Cup final against Middlesbrough:

The Italian is posed with a quandary though, since the Blues face Barcelona at the Bridge on Wednesday after a television-and-money dictated 6pm kick-off time on Sunday.

Liverpool's refusal to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster ensures that Chelsea will have 60 hours at the minimum between finishing their domestic semi-final starting against Barca in the Champions League semi-final.

With results between the two sides tight, it is reflected in the league table too. Tottenham lie just two points ahead of sixth-placed Chelsea on 57 points, with Newcastle the northern filling sandwiched between them.

Since Spurs last won the FA Cup in 1991, Chelsea have won it five times and lost two finals. Spurs meanwhile have made the semis just five times without reaching a final in those 22 years, losing to Arsenal twice (1993 and 2001), Everton (1995) Newcastle (1999) and Portsmouth (2010).

But they do boast eight FA Cups to the Blues' six.

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Who will win - Tottenham or Chelsea?

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William Hill FA Cup odds………

FA CUP WINNER: 9/4 Chelsea; 9/4 Tottenham; 5/2 Liverpool; 7/2 Everton

NOMINATE THE FINALISTS: 2/1 Tottenham/Liverpool; 11/5 Chelsea/Liverpool; 3/1 Tottenham/Everton; 16/5 Chelsea/Everton

**William Hill are offering 4/1 that there are two or more red cards over the two semi finals - (4/9 for none and 10/3 for one).

SEMIS……6/4 Liverpool; 2/1 draw; Everton 2/1. To go through – 8/11 Liverpool; Evens Everton…….Liverpool to go through via extra time or penalty shoot out – 5/1; Everton to go through via extra time or penalty shoot out – 6/1; 25/1 either keeper sent off.

13/8 Spurs; 2/1 draw; Chelsea 19/10………To go through – 4/5 Spurs; 10/11 Chelsea…….Match decided by penalty shoot-out 6/1

CHELSEA are 11/1 to beat both Spurs/Barcelona; 20/1 to win FA Cup/Champions League.

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