Chelsea will be looking for revenge when they take on rivals Tottenham at Wembley tonight in their Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg clash.
Maurizio Sarri’s men were beaten by the north London club in the Premier League at the end of November in a 3-1 defeat that really should have ended with the home side winning by a larger margin.
It was a game where Chelsea were extremely poor with Mateo Kovacic just one of the under-performers on the day before being hooked off for Ross Barkley.
However, the Blues will need the Croatian when they take to the Wembley pitch later if they are to return to Stamford Bridge with a positive result. Without him, they have looked extremely lacklustre in the middle of the park.
£31.5m-rated (Transfermarkt) Kovacic has missed the west London club’s last couple of fixtures due to illness, and his absence has not gone unnoticed.
The 24-year-old plays a huge role in helping his side transition from defence to attack by picking up the ball before going on a brilliant run or playing a pass through the lines.
In contrast, Barkley, who is the alternative to Kovacic in the squad, has done nothing but pass to defenders David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta after receiving the ball, rather than turning and going for the dribble or more adventurous pass.
Consequently, among other factors to Barkley’s defence, Chelsea’s build-up play has suffered massively of late.
Furthermore, Sarri desperately needs a Kovacic return for his side’s mission of revenge tonight.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience