It’s probably best not to take the Arsenal defeat too much to heart. The best team won, easily. Not sure there was a huge amount, defensively, we could have done. It looked like Arsenal’s front 3 threw us a bit. I certainly wasn’t expecting a front 3, of strikers from them and it looked like we couldn’t handle it. Certainly we could have done better in possession ourselves. Tiote was sloppy on the ball. Ameobi looked out of his depth. Gouffran struggled to make an impact. Cisse struggled to hold up the ball, his first touch was far too heavy, way too often. But, there’s no disgrace in losing by 3 goals at Arsenal.
Will the outcome affect our mood going into a huge week? We’ll have to see, but I expect to hear positive noises from within the camp.
Personally, I want to beat Spurs, however, I have already concluded that Chelsea will piss the League Cup. With the runner up not being a route into Europe, I wonder what value there is left for us, in a competition that Chelsea will walk? How valuable is a “day out” at Wembley? None at all. Losing a final hurts like hell. You can have a “day out” at a game in London 6 times a season if that’s actually a thing that you value. But having left Wembley Stadium on the wrong end of things 4 times, “getting to Wembley” means fuck all if you lose. Don’t fall for this “Day out at Wembley” patter. It was invented by the Mackems as safety net, to ensure if they got their arses tanned by Man City last season, people wouldn’t take the piss. It’s not real, it’s absolute shit.
With that in mind, I’d personally prioritise the fixture with Sunderland over the cup tie. We absolutely can not afford 4 defeats in a row to Sunderland, 3 of which would be on our patch. That would be humiliating. So I would be doing everything I could to make sure the team I wanted to play on Sunday were in the best condition to do so. Too many of our players seem far too fragile to play both games for my liking.
There’s a discussion to be had about whether premier league conditioned, professional footballers should be able to play 3 games in a week and I wouldn’t say they can’t. But when you know your opponent won’t have to do that, why would you? Also, when I recall our season in the Europa League under Pardew, we were constantly told that we weren’t equipped to play these extra games. What’s changed? Ok, maybe that’s a reflection on the manager as much as anything else as any midweek distraction from his plans for the weekend fixture and he gets an attack of the vapours, but maybe there’s some truth in his thinking too? It certainly didn’t work when we played Benfica at home a few days before we played the mackems 2 seasons ago.
But, that absolutely does not mean, I want to lose to Spurs. Of course I don’t. I want to beat them, but I want to beat them with a team that won’t impact on our chances of beating the Mackems. Can it be done? I don’t see why not. We beat Man City in the last round with a team most would have written off.
What’s in our favour? Well, we have an extra day rest on Spurs from the weekend’s fixtures, and Spurs also played 90 minutes out in Turkey on Thursday. Now, whilst only Walker, Lamela and Soldado started both games, the travelling, preparation and planning for the 3 games in a week must have an impact. Can we use that to our advantage? Hopefully. Of course you expect Spurs to have a squad able to deal with extra fixtures and they have lot of players on their books and some good ones in reserve but I’d hope to be catching them feeling a little weary. Certainly I’d think extra time would be better news for us than them. Also, we’ve won there on our last 2 visits.
This is Spurs’s 27th competitive fixture of the season and it’ll only be our 20th. That must be an advantage to us?
What’s not in our favour? Well our record in general at White Hart Lane isn’t great. Since 1984, we’ve lost 17 out of 28 games there. We’ve won only 8 times. Our record at the quarter final stage of the league cup makes grim reading too. We’ve lost 5 out of 6 league cup quarter finals and lost every one away from home.
In order to get to this stage, Spurs have beaten Nottingham Forest (3-1) at home in round 3 (as European competing sides don’t enter until this round) and they then beat Brighton & Hove Albion (2-0) at home. Harry Kane has 2 goals in this competition having scored in both rounds.
Team wise, Spurs tend to use Vorn in goal for this competition. Fazio, Townsend, Lennon and Paulinho also seem to feature so Spurs have plenty of quality in depth.
No change to the goal keeping situation. It would be incredibly difficult to put Woodman in goal for his debut and a goal keeper should be fairly confident of coming through a game without a red card or injury, so I expect Alnwick to play.
Steven Taylor returns from suspension, just as Daryl Janaat gets himself suspended. Possible options are Taylor at RB, Anita at RB, Dummett at RB and Haidara at LB. Personally I’d save Taylor and Coloccini for Sunday. Colo has just returned from injury and was carrying the knock going into Arsenal, so could he get through 2 more games this week? I’m not sure. I’ll put his stinker at Arsenal down to him carrying an injury too.
Moussa Sissoko returns from suspension but is absolutely, crucial to Sunday, whilst Tiote has moved to 1 yellow card away from a suspension. Would I risk him? No way. No chance could you trust Tiote to not get a yellow card. Remember when all he to do was, not get sent off at Stevenage, and the subsequent arse, he made of that? Can’t trust him, put him on the bench. Abeid may be back for this one. This would be good news at the kid was playing well. Colback has served his ban for 5 yellows already and seems fairly durable, so he could play without any worries for Sunday. I wouldn’t play Ameobi vs Sunderland and his fine goal here a few weeks ago would make him a natural to start. Pardew likes Gouffran and he may be useful for tracking back and covering on either side. Could Anita do a job in midfield? That leaves Cabella. Play him or keep him for Sunday? I know what I’d do.
Up top, we know Cisse is carrying a knee injury and can’t start too many games. Perez is young enough to cope with 2 games but Armstrong did a fine job at Man City and there’s a £6m striker with something to prove at the club too.
Elliot – Thigh – January
Krul – Ankle – January
De Jong – Groin – no return date
Santon – Knee – no return date
Ryan Taylor – Knee – no return date
Good – Groin – no return date
Obertan – Groin – no return date
Aarons – Hamstring – Sunderland
Daryl Janmaat 1 game
Team I’d pick (4-2-3-1)
1.Alnwick: 2. Anita, 6. Williamson, 5. Dummett, 3. Haidara: 4. Abeid, 8. Colback: 7. Gouffran. 10. Perez, 11. Ameobi: 9. Riviere
Woodman, Steven Taylor, Cisse, Sissoko, Armstrong, Coloccini, Cabella
Team I think Pardew will pick (4-2-3-1)
1.Alnwick: 2. Steven Taylor, 6. Williamson, 5. Coloccini, 3. Dummett: 4. Tiote, 8. Colback: 7. Gouffran. 10. Sissoko, 11. Ameobi:, 9. Perez
Woodman, Haidara, Cisse, Abeid, Cabella, Anita, Riviere
Referee: Andre Marriner
History at Spurs in the League Cup
Only once have we met at White Hart Lane in the league cup. That came as part of a 2 legged semi final in 1976.
75/76 Lost 0-1 The 2 sides had met at St James’ park in the league and played out a 2-2 drawhwever United were embarking on a dramatic, League Cup campaign. First up were Southport, with United romping to a 6-0 (Gowling 4, Cannell 2) win at SJP. Bristol Rovers would provide a stiffer test and after a 1-1 draw (Gowling) in the West Country. United completed the job on Tyneside with a 2-0 win. (Tommy Craig pen, Nattrass) QPR were then dismissed down in the smoke 3-1 (Supermac, Micky Burns & Geoff Nulty) A home tie vs Notts County was settled with an OG (1-0), which set up the 2 legged clash with Spurs.
With Pat Jennings in superb form United were unable to register an away goal and shipped in a sloppy one, which allowed John Pratt to nod home from inches out.
If you want to see goalies with no gloves, short shorts, Spurs singing “Oh when the Whites go marching in”, instead of “Spurs” and the old fashioned offside rule in effect, then check out the highlights here.
Of course United still had the home leg in the tank and raced in to an early lead, wiping out Spurs’ advantage (Gowling). United went in front early in the 2nd half through Glen Keeley and extended the lead through Geoff Nulty. Spurs reduced the arrears with 30 minutes to play but it was United who went through, in front of 49,902.
We’ll discuss the final on a day when we’re all feeling absolutely, fucking , miserable.
Fighting cock (no laughing at the back there) – Click here
“Come On You Spurs” is not only a shit chant, but a fanzine title too, apparently – Click here
Difficult thing to do with Newcastle United. Daft enough to beat the teams were not supposed to, but absolutely, phenomenal at letting everybody down on the big occasion. 1-1. Penalties……… Eyes covered, stomach churning, breath holding………Carnage!!!
Opposition Danger Man
Lennon seems to be a constant thorn in our side.
CHRIS BETTS – Follow Chris on @tfbettsy1892
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