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The FA Cup semi-final: Chelsea versus Tottenham Hotspur – the fan's view

By Claire Bloomfield
LONDON, Apr 21 (REUTERS) Premier League title rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur go head-to-head at Wembley tomorrow in the first FA Cup semi-final.
Despite Spurs’ poor form at the national stadium, Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be hopeful after winning their last eight consecutive matches.
Here is what the fans have to say about their two clubs:
Martin Buhagiar, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust
“I love The FA Cup and its history - particularly our tradition and association with this competition over the years.
“Spurs are on the up and winning the competition would be an illustration of us turning a corner and winning major trophies again. I also want to see this team win a trophy because, firstly, they deserve it and, secondly, it will no doubt keep them together as we look to win more silverware.
“We are playing well, we are the in-form team in the league, so hopefully this game has come at the right time for us.
“If I had to put money on it I’d say I think Mauricio Pochettino will play three at the back and bring Victor Wanyama in for Heung-Min Son. That formation also gets the best out of Dele Alli in my opinion.
“I’m going for a 2-0 win to Spurs. I’m hoping given our unbeaten run, mean defence, relatively new mentality and Diego Costa’s barren spell (famous last words!) that won’t happen.
“As the game gets stretched, I’m hoping Chelsea will attack us. We’ve seen recently they are quite open to a counter attacker and believe we can exploit that.
“I think Antonio Conte will probably make a few changes after their two recent defeats. If Chelsea line up as we all expect, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen will find a lot of space which they will make good use of. I hope.
“It would be wonderful if we went on to win The FA Cup. It’s been too long. We used to be THE FA Cup team. Not winning it since 1991 is too big a gap.
“Getting to the final would be wonderful and also, having knocked Chelsea out in the semi-finals and being in the title hunt, we’d fancy our chances whoever we got in the final.”
Mike Walsh, Chelsea, Vital Football
“I think we will lose this semi-final, in my opinion. But I think it will work in our favour when it comes down to winning the Premier League title race.
“In my opinion we are underdogs given our current form, so that means we as fans have to raise our game. We know what it’s like to play at Wembley, we’re comfortable and confident – but Spurs might just get carried away with the romance of The FA Cup.
“The problem is, I just can't see us keeping a clean sheet because we have looked so dodgy at the back in recent weeks. Take the trip to Old Trafford, for example. It looks like we may be without Gary Cahill for this game, too.
“Spurs are playing a good attacking style of football right now so I can seem them scoring a few on Saturday. Their front line is possibly the best in the league at the moment. We'll need to score three or four goals to win this one, I think.
“I'm hoping Anontio Conte can again come up with a tactical master class because we’re in need of a change. I think if we lose this Cup fixture then we can still win the league but surely it would upset the psychology of the team and the fear factor would set in. Equally, we could derail Spurs’ title surge if we were to win.
“After giving it some thought, I'm hoping we play an incredibly defensive game and allow Spurs to have around 70% possession – but then knick a goal in the 95th minute to win a place in the final. Mauricio Pochettino would have a meltdown if we hit home a stoppage-time winner.
“Interestingly, I read that Spurs have lost all six of their last FA Cup semi-finals. If they were to lose this one against us this weekend then they will set an all-time record for consecutive FA Cup semi-final defeats. That’s something to smile about at least.”
REUTERS AKC 1736
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