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Spurs Odyssey Capital One Cup Semi-Final Preview - Sheffield Utd v Spurs, 28.01.15

First leg match report - Spurs 1 Sheffield Utd 0
First leg match preview.
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Spurs' Cup History v Sheffield United


Season  Rd  H/A   W/D/L  Scorer(s)
1900-01 F    N    D 2-2  Brown (2)
1900-01 F(R) N    W 3-1  Smith, Brown, Cameron
1935-36 6    A    L 1-3  Morrison
1957-58 4    H    L 0-3  -

League Cup
1970-71 3    H    W 2-1  Chivers, Pearce
1989-90 4    A    W 2-0  Stewart, Gascoigne
2014-15 SF(1)H    W 1-0  Townsend (pen)

Goalkeeper dilemma for Pochettino?

Mauricio Pochettino has a dilemma regarding his choice of keeper for tomorrow's decisive Capital One Cup semi-final second leg. Or does he?

Michel Vorm is clearly the Spurs head coach's "League Cup goalie" this season, having started all four of our games to date in the competition. There is something of a clamour amongst Spurs fans for Hugo Lloris to be selected for this game, after Vorm's added time mistake in Saturday's FA Cup defeat against Leicester.

Hugo Lloris has only even been on the Spurs bench in one of the games so far in this campaign. What does Pochettino do? Does he risk Vorm's long term confidence by dropping him, clearly sending a message that he was not happy with the mistake made? Or does he select Vorm, and back him to do his job, thus boosting his confidence, along with Spurs' long term goalkeeper situation?

With a Wembley Cup Final at stake, it is arguably a big decision. Personally, I'd back the men in front of the goalkeeper to keep the League One marauders at bay, and score enough goals (we only need a draw remember) to secure our Wembley passage. There is also an argument to offer some support to Vorm, who, after all, was in the right position to collect Schlupp's first-time angled shot on Saturday. One of his Spurs' predecessors, Ray Clemence, could tell you plenty about goalkeeping mistakes, for club and country.

Pochettino must field his strongest available team in front of Vorm though. Never mind Saturday's Premier League game at West Brom. Tomorrow's team must include our top scorers from the start. Hopefully, Nacer Chadli can return from compassionate leave to join Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane in the starting line-up.

Kyle Walker will surely get the right back berth at his old home, whilst Fazio and Vertonghen ought to return in the middle. I think I'd prefer Danny Rose over Davies for this one, due to Campbell-Ryce giving the former Swansea man problems last week.

Sheffield United have already got one over Spurs going into this game. They ARE in the draw for the Fifth Round of the FA Cup. They have to beat Preston in a replay (also at home) next week, and would then face Manchester United (or Cambridge) at Bramall Lane. The home fans, starved of League success for several years now, will be clamouring for some Cup glory, and their best chance comes tomorrow against a Spurs side that has proved fragile over the last week.

Sheffield United have appeared in just one League Cup semi-final. That was in 2003, when they faced the eventual winners, Liverpool. The first leg was at Bramall Lane, and The "Blades" won 2-1, with Michael Tonge scoring both goals for the home side. At Anfield, they lost 2-0, succumbing to goals by Diouf and Michael Owen.

United were in the second tier (Division One) and also made it to the FA Cup semi-final, beaten 1-0 by Arsenal. Managed by Neil Warnock, who did eventually take them into the Premier League, United got to the Play-Off Final, but were well beaten (3-0) by Wolves.

Spurs would do well to remember that they were beaten the last time they played at Bramall Lane, by Warnock's side in February, 2007 (Sheffield United 2 Spurs 1). Warnock is a fan, and is likely to be present cheering on his team.

Spurs are veterans of the League Cup semi-final stage, with 14 appearances now. Only Liverpool have appeared in more semi-finals (15 with their current appearance against Chelsea). Spurs have won their way through to the Final in four out of their last five semi-finals, twice in glorious fashion, with massive wins over Chelsea (2002) and Arsenal (2008). Our last success against Burnley was less famous!

It should be a great game tomorrow, with both teams going all out for success. Sheffield United have nothing to lose and everything to gain, whilst I suspect we will see a more measured (hopefully not tentative) performance from Spurs. An early goal would surely be a killer for "The Blades", who would then have to score three to win the tie. I'd like to see Kane and Soldado in tandem for this one, and I will take Spurs to score that early goal, and win on the night 2-0 to reach for Wembley success!

Tomorrow's match referee is Mike Dean, who is one of the most experienced Premier League referees. This will be Mr. Dean's 21st game in charge of us in the last 5 years. His last game for us was the away defeat to Chelsea in December.

On January 29th 10 years ago Spurs did make it to the FA Cup Fifth Round draw. We drew 1-1 at The Hawthorns, and would win the replay.

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