Michael Owen predicts Chelsea vs Tottenham Carabao Cup semi-final result
The Carabao Cup semi-finals get underway this week, though Chelsea v Tottenham is the only game on the slate after Arsenal's meeting with Liverpool was postponed.
There will be plenty riding on the game at Stamford Bridge, though, despite it only being the first of two legs between the London sides.
Former England striker Michael Owen has given his predictions for the game, which could see Blues striker Romelu Lukaku return to action after holding showdown talks with manager Thomas Tuchel and apologising for comments made to the Italian media.
It looks like being a tightly-fought contest between two teams with plenty of quality, and Owen expects things to be very much alive when the teams meet at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium for part two.
Who are you backing: Chelsea or Spurs? Have your say in the comments section.
Read more : Liverpool vs Arsenal postponement could have big impact on Gunners' fixture list
" Chelsea recovered well to get the draw against Liverpool, thanks to two brilliant goals. Mateo Kovacic’s in particular was exceptional!" Owen wrote in his preview for BetVictor.
"Ultimately, it was two points dropped which makes their chances of winning the league unlikely."
Still, while the 42-year-old has recognised Chelsea's ability to impress in the cups, he knows things won't be straightforward for Tuchel with former Blues boss Antonio Conte in the opposite dugout.
"[The league situation] could be a good thing for them in the cup competitions though," Owen continued.
"Chelsea showed last season that they are so strong in the cups, particularly when they are the club’s primary focus. This won’t be an easy tie; Antonio Conte will be really up for this, and Spurs are desperate to end their long trophy drought.
"I think Chelsea will get the win in this EFL Cup first leg. I don’t see much in it but I’m going for 2-1 to the Blues."
Conte has yet to lose a domestic fixture since joining Tottenham, keeping the team in top-four contention with a victory over Watford on Saturday.
He won the league in the first of his two seasons at Chelsea, before only finishing fifth in the second, and has fond memories of his time at Stamford Bridge.
“For me for sure it will be great to come back to Stamford Bridge [for the] first time after I left Chelsea as manager,” the Italian said in his pre-match press conference.
“What I can say is that I spent two amazing seasons, created a lot of friendships in the club.”
The semi-final first leg is the first of three meetings between Chelsea and Tottenham this month, with the second leg following next week and a Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge pencilled in for January 23.
Conte's predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo was in the dugout for the last league meeting between the sides, when second-half goals from Thiago Silva, N'Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger gave Chelsea a 3-0 away victory.