Chelsea are on the brink of being welcomed back to Wembley once again.
Thomas Tuchel might not like to admit it, but his group have one foot in the Carabao Cup final.
Their comprehensive 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur this time last week caused many supporters bearing blue to feel highly optimistic about tonight’s tie.
Antonio Conte’s men looked out of sorts and out of shape in the reverse fixture, whilst the Champions League holders stood tall in the face of their shrivelled opponents.
This is despite the fact Chelsea made six changes from the 2-2 draw with Liverpool they had played just a few days earlier.
Spurs meanwhile went arguably as close to full strength as possible, yet, unlike their hosts, failed to produce anything like a coordinated performance.
Tottenham’s right get it wrong
They seemed to especially struggle down the right channel, where Emerson Royal featured in front of Japhet Tanganga.
The pair had only previously started together three times before the cup clash at Stamford Bridge last Wednesday.
Evidence of an embryonic relationship was clear, as Chelsea managed to find much joy around their area of the field.
Tanganga sold Emerson short after just five minutes with a weak pass, that was latched upon by Marcos Alonso.
Alonso then rolled a ball in behind the Tottenham defender for Kai Havertz to run onto, who stabbed his shot into the back of the net, via a deflection.
Spurs continue to struggle
Havertz found himself in a decent position again on the Tottenham right, after Conte’s men failed to disperse the danger from their own box.
Emerson and Tanganga had left a huge hole for the German to shoot from, however, he ultimately scuffed his effort.
Spurs decided to double Chelsea’s lead for them, by cultivating a comical own goal.
Ben Davies could do very little about the ball that bounced off his head and past Hugo Lloris.
Guess who directed his clearance against Davies? Tanganga.
A theme is appearing…
Although Tottenham tightened up in the second half, the Blues still enjoyed some success via the right flank.
Timo Werner, brought on at the break, drove at Emerson and just flashed his effort wide of the far post.
Werner had another chance a few moments later, following a defense-splitting pick-out by Hakim Ziyech that took Tanganga and Emerson completely out of the game.
The £45m (Sky Sports) arrival from RB Leipzig couldn’t get the right trajectory to lob Lloris, but the approach was enough to shake Spurs.
Will Werner be the answer?
Tuchel may have identified this overarching weakness and put his players to work on the training ground to exploit it once again.
If this is the case, Werner would be the ideal weapon to take a chink out of Tottenham’s armour.
Whether they like it or not, Conte’s men must throw caution to the wind this evening in search of two goals.
This means spaces should appear at the back for the Blues to run into.
There are few better in the profession at bursting into gaps than turbo Timo.