Team news, match facts and manager quotes for the League Cup final between Chelsea and Tottenham at Wembley.
Tottenham’s hectic week of fixtures reaches a crescendo in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday against a Chelsea side that have been able to put their feet up before the first piece of domestic silverware of the season is decided. Spurs go to Wembley hoping for a repeat of their 2008 League Cup victory over Chelsea when they came from behind to win 2-1, which was also the scoreline when they beat them there in the 1967 FA Cup final.
Tottenham also enjoyed a 5-3 victory at White Hart Lane in the Premier League on New Year’s Day, but Chelsea head to Wembley having beaten Spurs 5-1 in the FA Cup semi-final in 2012. While Spurs have been busy gallivanting around Europe, London rivals Chelsea have enjoyed a week on the training ground after last Saturday’s frustrating 1-1 draw against Burnley.
Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic is suspended. Matic sits out the first of his two-match suspension after his dismissal for his reaction to a tackle by Burnley’s Ashley Barnes last weekend, while John Obi Mikel (knee) remains out, so Ramires is likely to start in midfield. Boss Jose Mourinho has decisions to make in goal, with Thibaut Courtois likely to be selected ahead of Petr Cech, and in central defence, with Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill competing to start alongside John Terry. Tottenham have no fresh injury worries. Mauricio Pochettino made seven alterations for Thursday’s Europa League tie at Fiorentina, starting the likes of Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker from the bench with the Wembley finale in mind. The Spurs head coach has to choose whether to start Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm in goal, while captain Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor and Etienne Capoue will be sweating on their place in the squad after being left in London for the last-32 tie.
Stat Attack: Chelsea v Tottenham – Eurosport
Jose Mourinho: “We must take care of our football. It’s not about how many millions are watching on television. It’s about the feeling and respect and credibility, what people think about it. Strong credibility. This is something English football cannot lose. You lose credibility when a player like Matic is suspended, and another player can play this weekend. I don’t think you can have any doubt that all around the world people open their mouths with surprise at how this can be possible.”
Mauricio Pochettino: “Players want to play always and in all competitions. Every time you pick the starting XI or the squad of 18 it is always difficult to communicate to the players who are not in the squad. But this is football, this is our job and us and the players need to understand always about my decision. In each game and every game I take a decision and analyse which is the best side to pick. It’s not a different rule for the final. The players, like on the first day, need to understand that I am the boss. I decide the squad, I decide the starting XI and I decide who plays and who does not. It is true that it is a final and an important game but the players need to accept my decision.”