Tottenham and West Ham clash in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup with both teams knowing that an appearance in a Wembley Final is only two games away for the winners of tonight’s tie. That would be an achievement for Tim Sherwood and Sam Allardyce as they prepare their players for what will be a highly charged atmosphere at White Hart Lane.
Tim Sherwood will be selecting his first team as Tottenham’s interim manager following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas and he knows that his team must make a good impression with the result, effort and their style of play, if he is to have any chance of remaining in post for longer than the initial two games he has been granted. Spurs have a number of points to prove against West Ham -
- the players need to show an immediate response to the humiliation they suffered against Liverpool on Sunday and
- they want to avenge the result against West Ham earlier in the season. That three goal home defeat was the first public sign of cracks appearing in the Villas-Boas’ reign at Tottenham.
At the beginning of October, the shock defeat against West Ham raised questions about the team’s inability to breakdown opponents who defended in depth as they failed to cope with West Ham playing without a striker and rotating the players who broke forward from a deep lying position. They troubled Spurs on the counter-attack and from set-pieces, scoring three goals in 13 minutes late in the second half.
Tim Sherwood must ensure that there’s no repeat of that performance and that the players show an appetite for the game which was missing that day and in subsequent defeat at City and against a hard-working and lively Liverpool on Sunday.
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‘I Have A Dream’
After the win over Spurs, Sam Allardyce glowed in his self-appraisal of how the plan that he had devised and coached the players to implement during the previous days, had worked so effectively. Since that win, however, West Ham have struggled in the league, achieving only one success, against Fulham in Martin Jol’s last game in charge.
Taking after the draw for the 5th Round which set up the London derby, Big Sam talked of his dream of taking West Ham to Wembley. If he could be guaranteed Premier League survival he would give anything to reach the Final. He was manager of Bolton Wanderers when they reached the Carling Cup Final in 2004 which was played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. He said,
So as long as we stay in the Premier League, all day long. Wembley is one place that every manager, every player wants to go to try and play.
For Tottenham’s sake, Tim Sherwood will have to be ruthless and ensure Spurs shatter Big Sam’s Wembley dream this evening. His long-term future at Tottenham depends on it.