Tottenham commence another new era at the club with their Capital One Cup quarter-final tie against West Ham United at White Hart Lane. With Tim Sherwood in temporary charge will Spurs be able to avenge the crushing defeat inflicted upon Andre Villas-Boas’ team by their London rivals when they met in the league two months ago?
Things have a habit of repeating themselves at Tottenham. The last occasion they met West Ham in the League (Carling) Cup was in October, 2003. That season they had sacked their manager, Glenn Hoddle, in September and David Pleat was caretaker manager, a position which stretched until the end of the season as Daniel Levy searched for a suitable replacement – Jacques Santini who lasted all of a few months.
At the beginning of October when West Ham arrived at White Hart Lane in the League, Spurs had conceded only 2 goals in the opening 6 league games. West Ham had not won away from home and had failed to score an away goal. West Ham came with a plan which frustrated and troubled Spurs. They played without a striker but broke forward in numbers from midfield and in the second half scored three goals for a convincing win as Spurs failed to find a way through their very disciplined defence.
Last League Cup tie
Spurs recorded a single goal success against tonight’s visitors in a 3rd Round tie in October 2003. West Ham were in the Championship but the game was scoreless after ninety minutes. Two minutes into extra time Bobby Zamora scored the only goal which was sufficient to enable Spurs to progress to the next round. It was Zamora’s only goal during his seven months at White Hart Lane as he joined West Ham the following January as part of the agreement to bring Jermain Defoe to Tottenham.
West Ham have managed only one more win since their success at the Lane in October. They defeated Fulham 3 – 0 at Upton Park at the end of last month, in what was Martin Jol’s last match with the Craven Cottage club.
Their progress to the Capital One Cup quarter-final has seem them beat Cheltenham Town in the 2nd Round at Upton Park (2 – 1). Another home tie took them past Cardiff City (3 – 2) and in the last round they won 2 – 0 away to Championship leaders, Burnley.
Against Cardiff West Ham were two up inside 8 minutes but saw their led cancelled out when Cardiff scored just before half-time and then with 14 minutes to play. A goal in the 88th minute restored West Ham’s lead. Two of the goals that night were scored by Morrison and Vaz Te who were on the scoresheet at White Hart Lane in October. Against Burnley it was two penalties in the last 14 minutes which secured their place in the quarter-finals.
Morrison and Vaz Te are West Ham’s leading scorers with 5 goals and 4 goals respectively.
The most interesting features of this evening’s match will be to see Sherwood’s team and how it compares with the selection and formation that AVB preferred. Will any of the players who were sidelined by the previous manager, Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe, become regular members of his new-look Tottenham side? He will have to make at least two changes due to suspensions and injuries in defence so this will require him to be creative in his selection. Presumably, Sherwood will look to select as close to the side he would like to play at Southampton on Sunday to give them a chance to play together as a team and become accustomed to his ideas.
After a convincing win at Aston Villa in the 3rd Round, Spurs struggled through against Hull City at White Hart Lane, the game going to penalties after Harry Kane scored a late equaliser in extra time to bring the score level at 2 – 2. Spurs won their first penalty shoot-out since 1984.
Sherwoood will have to replace Michael Dawson and Paulinho who are suspended. Jan Vertonghen and Sandro are injured but the news is better concerning the fitness of Vlad Chiriches, Younes Kaboul, Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen who could be available.
West Ham will be without Kevin Nolan through suspension while Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Mladen Petric, Winstion Reid and Ricardo Vaz Te are injured and there are doubts about James Tomkins.
Whoever plays this will be a highly-charged match with both sets of supporters wanting to make a point against their London rivals. It’s unlikely to be a quiet game and hopefully the appointment of a new, be it temporary, manager will bring a greater commitment from the Tottenham players.