Tottenham will be playing their third game in six days and their second in three when they face Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup this evening. Andre Villas-Boas has grave worries about possible injury to his players, concerned that playing so soon after Sunday’s win in Cardiff could put them at risk of unwanted injuries.The Tottenham team to face Villa could see wholescale changes from the eleven who scored the late winner in Cardiff. AVB feels Spurs have been put at an unfair disadvantage by being made to play so soon. Villa, Birmingham and West Brom were all drawn at home against Spurs, Swansea and Arsenal who all played on Sunday afternoon. For policing reasons one of the games had to be played on Tuesday evening and Spurs were the losers.
AVB accepts the reason but is still unhappy about the situation. At a press conference reported by the Press Association, he said, that he felt Spurs were not being given a fair chance in the Capital One Cup and he was reluctant to risk players getting an injury with important League games coming up. He said,
This is an impossible game for us to play, but hopefully our team spirit and motivation can get us through. It could be possible for the players who played against Cardiff to play this game, but I am not sure I want to risk the players who played getting a hamstring injury which could take them six weeks to recover…
If AVB is unwilling to use the players who played at Cardiff, he is going to be stretched to put out a strong team as some of the squad players are missing with injury. Danny Rose who was injured against Tromso and missed the Cardiff game will not be risked as he recovers from an injury to his toe. He is expected to be available for the game against Chelsea at the weekend. Etienne Capoue, Aaron Lennon and Nacer Chadli are still absent while Jermain Defoe was not included in the match-day squad on Sunday due to injury. Younes Kaboul went off near the end of the Europa League match and wasn’t in Sunday’s squad. Spurs will want to be ensure he doesn’t do anything to hinder his return to fitness after last season’s problems but if fit he would be expected to play.
In spite if AVB’s comments he may have to call upon some of the players who played on Sunday in order to put out a balanced team. I would expect the team to include Brad Friedel in goal, Kyle Naughton may well play at right back with Zeke Fryers given an opportunity at left back. If fit, Kaboul should start along with Vlad Chiriches in central defence. Sandro will provide the drive in midfield with possibly Gylfi Sigurdsson. Erik Lamela and Lewis Holtby who played for the final minutes could start with Andros Townsend and if Defoe is absent, Harry Kane could be given the role of striker. If Defoe is able to play, Kane could possibly play on the left of midfield. Another option if Defoe is out would be to use Lamela as the striker with Townsend and Kane as the two wider players.
Friedel; Naughton, Chiriches, Kaboul, Fryers; Sandro, Sigurdsson; Lamela, Holtby, Townsend; Kane
While the Spurs’ manager might say that the Capital One Cup is not his main priority this season, he will want to keep the successful run going, even with a weakened team, and will want to avoid the ‘Spurs Out of Cup Shock’ headlines.