Tuchel has two brilliant substitutes he could use tonight, they've already hurt Spurs this season - TCC View

Although it might not feel like it, Chelsea do actually have quite an important football match coming up.

Romelu Lukaku’s regrettable words and subsequent apology has distracted everyone from the typically attention-grabbing game to be contested this evening.

The Blues host Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge tonight.

Ordinarily, that storyline alone would be the hook for most media channels.

Unfortunately, it’s all been about Lukaku, whether he likes it or not.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Hopefully, this rather unnecessary fiasco can be put to bed, allowing the focus to be retrained on the London derby.

Tuchel vs Conte

It will pit two of the best tacticians the Premier League has to offer against each other for the very first time.

Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte are masterminds in their own right, but they share a similar philosophy in terms of team setup.

Both preference a variation on the 3-4-3 formation, with the onus on a back-three and wing-backs.

The Chelsea Chronicle has suggested Tuchel alter his methods slightly to cope with the lack of wing-backs, yet the likelihood of him listening to us is pretty slim.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

He and Conte will almost certainly go like for like, which could cause a cagey, close-encountered affair.

A scenario that was not quite the case the last time the two clubs faced each other.

Chelsea crush Tottenham

Chelsea enjoyed arguably their best second-half of the season when they triumphed 3-0 over Tottenham in September.

Following a tight opening 45 minutes, Tuchel changed his side around and the results were resounding.

The catalyst for this win came in the form of two substitutes.

At the interval, N’Golo Kante replaced Mason Mount, which allowed the Blues to press Spurs higher up the field.

Photo by Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

Now on the front foot thanks to the relentless Frenchman, Chelsea hit three without reply.

Thiago Silva headed in from a corner, before Kante’s deflected strike doubled the visitor’s advantage.

Antonio Rudiger made it three virtually with the last kick of the tie, assisted by Timo Werner, who had entered the fray 20 minutes from time.

Werner and Kante create the winning formula

Werner’s speed stretched a tiring Tottenham defence, meaning their shape was swallowed whole.

Photo by Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

Nuno Espirito Santo was the defeated manager that day and although Conte’s men should surely offer a sterner test, Tuchel will have his two impact subs in reserve to call upon again.

Kante played the full 90 minutes against Liverpool last weekend, so could start as a substitute later today.

Meanwhile, Werner returned to training following a bout of covid and may also join his comrades on the bench.

All eyes are set to be on Lukaku, but it would be wise to keep a lookout for action in the background as well.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.