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Preview: Carling Cup Final
Reuters, February 22nd, 2008 4:45PM



The first major trophy of the English season is up for grabs this Sunday, as Chelsea takes on Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup final at Wembley Stadium (Setanta Sports USA: 9:30 am EST). Chelsea is the competition's holder, beating Arsenal in last year's final, while Spurs has not won a major title since winning the competition in 1999. Chelsea, meanwhile, has won the Premier League, FA Cup and English League Cup since then, and is still alive in four competitions this season. Tottenham is still alive in two (the other being the UEFA Cup).

Indeed, one would normally cast Spurs as major underdogs for Sunday's final, but Tottenham is a reformed team under Juande Ramos, who took charge of the team in late October. Spurs were in the relegation zone when the Spaniard arrived; they've lost just five of 27 matches since.

However, Chelsea's record has been even more impressive under Avram Grant, who took charge of the club in September. The Blues have lost only three of 41 matches in all competitions this season, and none since their 1-0 defeat by Arsenal on Dec. 16. They also enjoy a hugely superior head-to-head record vs. Spurs, losing just twice in their last 42 contests since 1990.

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