Tottenham return to action yet again in Capital One Cup action against Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa. Tottenham could only muster a 4th Round position last season where they fell to the hands of former player Chris Hughton and his Norwich side.
Tottenham and the League cup is a relationship that has formed quite well since the Carling Cup winning side of 2008. Spurs managed to get all the way back to the final in 2009 however previous seasons have shown a more concentrated focus on the league itself rather than the former Worthington Cup. Spurs have a good history in the competition however. Since 1971, Tottenham have picked the trophy up 4 times (1971, 1973, 1999, 2008). Spurs have given fans their most treasured memory in recent years after beating Chelsea 2-1 in Wembley Stadium in 2008 to see Spurs legends Ledley King and Robbie Keane lift the coveted trophy together.
Tottenham’s last outing in the competition was a tough one to bare. Spurs dominated for most of the game and Gareth Bale put them in front with a second-half drive. But the Canaries replied late on through a deflected Alex Tettey shot off of Jan Vertonghen and Simeon Jackson’s poached effort. Clint Dempsey had the chance to level the score late on after Kyle Walker won a penalty however the American’s effort was saved. Tottenham fielded a team of Lloris, Naughton, Dawson, Walker, Caulker, Dempsey, Carroll, Livermore, Sigurdsson, Falque and Bale and AVB’s side looks to entertain quite a different setup with only 5 of those starters still at the club presently.
Paul Lambert could be missing up to 10 players, with Saturday’s league win at Norwich coming at the cost of injuries to key men, most notably Christian Benteke, Gabby Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph, Ashley Westwood, Antonio Luna and Ciaran Clark. Tottenham however have plenty of doubts too. Danny Rose, Younes Kaboul and Jermain Defoe look to miss out again after their respective injuries however Mousa Dembélé is fit to play after his fabulous work-rate against Cardiff. I expect Brad Friedel to start against his former club with Vlad Chiriches likely to make his debut.
The two clubs have met four times in the League Cup, with Aston Villa winning on the last two occasions in 1987 and 1994. Spurs are unbeaten in their last five trips to Villa – all in the Premier League (W3, D2). They won 4-0 on their last visit on Boxing Day. Tottenham have won seven of their eight league and cup ties this season as well as having won an impressive five of their last six third-round away fixtures in the League Cup. Villa have won the competition more times than Tottenham (5) lastly in 1996.
Predicted Lineup – Friedel, Naughton, Chiriches, Dawson, Fryers, Sandro, Holtby, Lamela, Townsend, Sigurdsson, Kane. (4-2-3-1)
Predicted Score – Aston Villa 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Sigurdsson x2)
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Picture from @ModernFooty