As Tottenham Hotspur host West Ham United in the League Carabao Cup on Wednesday, Spurs do so having unfinished business with both their opponent and the competition.
Two of the most disappointing moments over the last season for Tottenham have involved West Ham and the Carabao cup. Whether it was giving away a golden opportunity or letting one slip, Tottenham owe a little something to both West Ham and the Carabao Cup.
Tottenham Mourinho malaise started by West Ham
As Tottenham has fallen out of the top four in the league, it has surprisingly been West Ham who has stepped into the void. Last season West Ham passed Spurs in the league and beat Tottenham to the Europa League qualification and are unbeaten in three against Spurs.
The Hammers won at London Stadium – where they also won earlier this season – and had a miraculous comeback against Spurs at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in October 2020, which started the beginning of the end of Jose Mourinho’s reign.
Spurs were in first-place up to that point and those two dropped points started a bad pattern with the team.
Frankly, until this past weekend when opportunities abounded at Liverpool, the kind of attack seen over that first 20 minutes against the Hammers last October has not been seen since. The Hammers have outscored Tottenham 6-1 in the 240 minutes since that sensational start.
With back-to-back losses to West Ham and an opportunity to get something over them this season, Tottenham has plenty of reasons to take it to the Hammers.
Spurs should still be sore about the cup
Besides the need to get one over on a growing London rival, Tottenham players must feel like they let a real opportunity slip last season and want to get something back. Whether the game plan against Manchester City in the final was Mourinho’s, Ryan Mason‘s, or Daniel Levy’s; it was clearly not a plan the player believed in or put it on the line for.
If we reflect on the effort from Spurs this past weekend against Liverpool in a 2-2 league match and the effort in that Cup final, the two are not comparable. The players have to know that the kind of work they put into the Liverpool game is the kind of work that would have made them cup winners last season.
For a team that just got the boot from one competition and has no realistic shot at winning the league, the League Cup is a real chance to end the trophy drought and serve as a stepping stone to something even more next season.
If Tottenham is truly becoming something different under Antonio Conte we will see it against West Ham in the Carabao Cup; who represent a team and a competition that Spurs may have some unfinished business with.