Harry Kane

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Chelsea 4-2 Spurs: Blues onto FA Cup final in thriller

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  • Willian scores free kick, PK
  • Spurs equalize twice
  • Hazard gets seeing-eye winner
  • Matic scores rocket insurance goal

Willian bagged a brace and Eden Hazard nabbed a match-winner as Chelsea overcame giving away a pair of leads to beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 in an FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Nemanja Matic finished the scoring with an absolutely thrilling hit.

Chelsea will get the winner of Manchester City and Arsenal’s Sunday semi on May 27 as the Blues’ bid for a double stays alive.

[ LIVE: Follow Spurs-Chelsea here ]

Willian opened the scoring early, bending a shot around the wall and past a leaning Hugo Lloris.

Kane equalized when he stooped to nod Christian Eriksen‘s cross overhead and inside the far post. It was a classy finish.

David Luiz was felled by a scary-looking stamp but returned to the match after treatment. Dele Alli caught Luiz on the right leg and then stamped down on ankle. Dele was looking away from the action, but his reputation will have a few questioning the intent.

Eric Dier nearly headed a cross home in the 36th minute, but he turned it just past the far post.

Heung-Min Son then gave away a penalty in the 42nd minute when he took down Victor Moses inside the 18. Moses jumped over the sliding Son and hit the deck to win the penalty, which Willian converted to make it 2-1.

Dele broke through in the 52nd minute, latching onto a fantastic ball from Eriksen. The ball swerved around and between David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta, and Dele lashed a half-volley by Thibaut Courtois.

Both pass and finish were sensational.

Antonio Conte replied by taking off Willian and Michy Batshuayi for Eden Hazard and Diego Costa. Decent players to have on your bench, we guess.

And better players to have on your pitch. Hazard have Chelsea its third lead of the afternoon in the 75th minute, collected a partially cleared corner kick and hammering it through traffic to make it 3-2.

They don’t come much harder than Matic’s goal, a hammered shot from distance that barely hard reason to rotate en route to the upper 90. What a hit.

Kane came close to making it 4-3 in stoppage time, as his free kick slipped under Courtois but spun back from the line.

AT HALF: Willian brace has Chelsea ahead in FA Cup semi (follow live)

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Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal between London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur is meeting lofty expectations head-on.

Willian has scored a magical free kick for the Blues, but Harry Kane responded with a classy header as Spurs leveled things at one.

Willian then added a penalty kick in the 43rd minute to make it 2-1 at the break.

[ LIVE: Follow Spurs-Chelsea here ]

Kane equalized when he stooped to nod Christian Eriksen‘s cross overhead and inside the far post. It was a classy finish.

David Luiz was felled by a scary-looking stamp but returned to the match after treatment. Dele Alli caught Luiz on the right leg and then stamped down on ankle. Dele was looking away from the action, but his reputation will have a few questioning the intent.

Eric Dier nearly headed a cross home in the 36th minute, but he turned it just past the far post.

Heung-Min Son then gave away a penalty in the 42nd minute when he took down Victor Moses inside the 18. Moses jumped over the sliding Son and hit the deck to win the penalty, which Willian converted to make it 2-1.

FA Cup Preview: Emotions run high as powers meet at Wembley

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It’s a weekend for the big boys, with no underdogs in sight as the FA Cup hits the semifinals Saturday and Sunday.

It’s a London-heavy quartet, with Spurs aiming to knockoff Chelsea at 12:15 p.m. ET Saturday and Arsenal hoping to grab some glory with a defeat of Man City at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday.

The winners meet at Wembley Stadium on May 27 for an opportunity to lift silverware.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks ]

Any anxiety regarding whether the FA Cup should mean as much as in years past goes out the window when there are four league monsters remaining in the competition, and no one will be dodging bragging rights should their side emerge victorious.

The Saturday semifinal has Antonio Conte wary of Spurs’ power, with the Chelsea boss bristling at the thought of Tottenham being an underdog in the Premier League or the FA Cup.

And there will be plenty of emotion in the air at a building Spurs have called home several times this season, as the club continues to mourn coach Ugo Ehiogu. Both sides will wear black arm bands and the match will be marked with a minute of applause for the well-loved U-23 coach and ex-Scotland international.

Sunday brings us City and Arsenal. Pep Guardiola admits that lifting a trophy in his first season would mean a great deal in the process of further establishing Manchester City as a European power.

And Wenger isn’t blowing off the opportunity do something big in a poor season by Arsenal’s standards:

“It’s always something special. I remember my first [semi-final], when we played at Villa Park against Wolves. That’s the day when I realized how big the club is, how much it means to our supporters because suddenly the stadium is divided in two for an away game and your fans are all there.
“So it’s a special experience and we are focused and highly motivated. Maybe not at the maximum of our confidence because we had recently some disappointing results, but that is a good opportunity to show we are ready for a fight and how much we want to go to the final.”
Arsenal won the FA Cup in 2013 and 2014, while Chelsea won in 2012 and Man City 2011. Spurs have to go back to 1991 for their last final appearance and win.

Premier League Preview: Tottenham vs. Bournemouth

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  • Spurs unbeaten in 3 career PL matches vs. Cherries (2W, 1D)
  • Tottenham trails leaders Chelsea by seven points
  • Cherries have won just two road matches all season

Tottenham continues to keep within striking distance of league leaders Chelsea but Spurs must find victory on Saturday when the club hosts Bournemouth at White Hart Lane (Watch live at 7:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Mauricio Pochettino‘s men have done their very best to keep pace with Chelsea to this point, however, Spurs will need to hope that the Blues slip up if they are to boast a first-division title for the first time since 1960/61.

After missing time with an ankle injury, Tottenham should receive more good news with the return of star striker Harry Kane, while Victor Wanyama is also expected to be fit for Saturday’s clash.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines for Week 33 ]

Meanwhile, Bournemouth has a seven-point cushion above the bottom three, but the Cherries cannot let their guard down or else the results could be catastrophic for PL side.

Since the turn of the new year, the Cherries have won just two of their 13 matches in league play and have allowed 28 goals in that span.

What they’re saying

Mauricio Pochettino on trying to pull Chelsea back to the pack“I think we’re playing and fighting for bigger things. If we look at the bigger picture it’s to try to reduce the gap with Chelsea. I think today it’s not important the gap we have with Arsenal. The most important thing is to do our job, try to win games and try to reduce the gap with Chelsea.”

Eddie Howe on possibility of gaining another result against Spurs“We’ll need to match our performance from the home game earlier this year or even surpass it to get a result at White Hart Lane. Mauricio Pochettino has done an outstanding job. I admire his style of play and the way he improves players.”

Prediction

If Chelsea’s form hadn’t been as good for as long as it has been, Spurs would be running away with the league right now. Pochettino’s men have taken points in 15 of their last 16 PL matches, and I anticipate they won’t slip up against the Cherries.

Tottenham 3-1 Bournemouth

Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford

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  • Spurs won 4-1 on New Year’s Day
  • Watford last won at WHL in 1994 League Cup
  • Spurs lead all-time 19W-3D-6L

Harry Kane could return for Tottenham Hotspur when the Premier League begins its weekend slate with a 7:30 a.m. EDT kickoff vs. Watford at White Hart Lane on Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

“I haven’t decided yet if he’ll be in the starting 11 or on the bench but the good thing is that he’s back,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

That’s good news, but Tottenham’s performance has meant it’s more a bonus than a relief. Spurs went 3-0 without Kane, scoring multiple goals in wins over Southampton, Burnley and Swansea City.

That last result was marvelous, as Swans scored thrice in the final moments of the match to overcome an early deficit and keep pace with Chelsea in the race for the Premier League crown.

Watford is in a bad way, with suspended Miguel Britos joining Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prodl as injured defenders. That’s just the back line, as Walter Mazzarri has six key players in doubt for the game and three more ruled out.

What they’re saying

Spurs backstop Michel Vorm on coming back to beat Swans“You see the power of Tottenham: it’s the team and the squad. We just kept on attacking and believing and you’ve seen the strength of our squad, we are a whole team.”

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri on their injury crisis“It’s our destiny. Against Tottenham, we are always in an emergency. Britos was important because Kaboul and Prodl were injured and we do not have a defense now.”

Prediction

It would take a brave soul to bet on Watford to find a point. We’re not that brave. Spurs 4-0.