Tottenham travel to Norwich for the 4th Round tie in the Capital One Cup, having never previously played at Carrow Road in the League Cup competition. The last time Tottenham played there in a Cup match was in January, 1993 for a 4th Round FA Cup tie which they won 2 – 0 with both goals scored by Teddy Sheringham.
The League Cup matches are always difficult to predict as you never know how strong a team either side will send out. To date, under Andre Villas-Boas Tottenham have endeavoured to take all competitions seriously with only a minimum of changes to rest certain players and to give squad members some match time. They will again rest Brad Friedel and Hugo Lloris may play having been omitted from the match at Carlisle in the previous round when Carlo Cudicini was in goal. Many of the first choice players will probably be involved which has the support of captain, William Gallas as he explained, accepting that the coach wanted to win every game. He also acknowledged the importance of winning trophies for players.
“For me, a trophy is something you lift at the end of the season and I know it’s a fantastic feeling. It doesn’t happen many times through your career, so for me to finish second or fourth isn’t the same as finishing top, as champions. It’s completely different. You feel different because you are the best team – the best player. You are so happy to lift a trophy – it’s the real thing to do.”
Norwich have reached this stage of the competition after home wins over Scunthorpe United and Doncaster Rovers. Chris Hughton has fielded understrength sides in both previous matches aware of the importance of achieving results in the Premier League. The 2 – 1 win over Scunthorpe was his first as Norwich manager with the winner being a second half penalty from Wes Hoolahan. Norwich had gone ahead in the first half but the visitors were level within two minutes. The game against Doncaster was equally close with Alex Tettey scoring the only goal, on his debut, midway through the first half. It is the first time Norwich have reached the last 16 of the League Cup since the 1995-96 season.
Hughton is again aware of the importance of the weekend fixture at home to Stoke City but as he’s facing his former club, he may be tempted to use some of his first choice players to strengthen his team in order to get a result.
Norwich defeated Arsenal at Carrow Road in their last home match ten days ago and know that they gave Spurs a difficult game at White Hart Lane at the beginning of September. Hughton will be looking for the same level of commitment as his team showed that day when they caused Spurs many problems and did well to recover after conceding a goal with just over twenty minutes to play. Mousa Dembele put Spurs ahead on his debut but Robert Snodgrass grabbed a late equaliser with five minutes remaining. Tom Huddlestone will be hoping to stay on the pitch longer this time having been dismissed after being on the pitch for only seven minutes.
Previous League Cup Meetings
Tottenham and Norwich have met in the League Cup on two previous occasions – in the Final at Wembley in 1973 when Ralph Coates scored the winner and at White Hart Lane in 1992 when Spurs won 2- 1 through goals from Paul Walsh and Gary Lineker.
The result of this evening’s match may come down to which club has the greatest desire to progress in the competition. Tottenham will view the competition as a trophy they could possibly win and so may be more conscious of its importance to them. Norwich, if they field a near full-strength side, could trouble Spurs with their fighting qualities as they demonstrated in the last two meetings at White Hart Lane in the Premier League.