The Capital One Cup semi-final first leg is finally here as Tottenham Hotspur take on Sheffield United at White Hart Lane. After a comfortable quarter-final victory over Newcaslte, Spurs face a very different opponent in a team that has a history with defeating Premier League opposition in cup competitions.
Venue: White Hart Lane
Television Coverage: Sky Sports 1
Stats (via BBC Sport)
The sides have not met since Sheffield United’s last stint in the Premier League in 2006-07. The Blades won 2-1 at Bramall Lane on 10 February 2007, avenging a 2-0 defeat at White Hart Lane on 22 August. Spurs have won both previous League Cup encounters, winning 2-0 at Bramall Lane in the fourth round in 1990 and 2-1 at White Hart Lane in the third round in 1970.
Tottenham have won 11 of their last 12 League Cup games against lower division sides – with their only defeat coming in the second leg of a semi-final against Burnley in 2009 which Spurs won on aggregate despite losing on the night. Spurs are vying to reach their first final for six years. They were runners-up in 2009 (losing on penalties to Manchester United), a year after winning it for the fourth time. They have scored in each of their last 26 home games in the competition. The last time they failed to do so was in a goalless draw against Wimbledon in a semi-final first leg in January 1999.
The Blades are in the semi-finals for the first time in 12 years, when they lost 3-2 on aggregate to Liverpool. That is their only previous appearance at this stage. They have beaten five Premier League clubs in the last 12 months: Villa and Fulham in last season’s run to the FA Cup semi-finals, and West Ham, Southampton and QPR this season. They have only lost two of their 19 cup games under Nigel Clough.
Nacer Chadli misses out due to the awful news that his father lost his battle with illness. I personally wish his family comfort at this awful time. Ryan Mason and Younes Kaboul are available to play, whilst Federico Fazio, Erik Lamela and Vlad Chiriches continue to be sidelined.
Starting XI – Vorm, Walker, Vertonghen, Kaboul, Rose, Stambouli, Dembélé, Townsend, Eriksen, Kane, Soldado
Score: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Sheffield United