Carling Cup Final - Preview

Tomorrow afternoon, the Tottenham squad will travel the short way to Wembley to face Manchester United in the League Cup Final. Tottenham are looking to become the first team to defend the trophy, since Nottingham Forrest with Brian Clough at the helm in 1990. Spurs go into the game off the back of UEFA Cup exit in the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk, and before that an encouraging three points in the league at the KC Stadium.

The road to Wembley has provided a nice distaction from the day-in day-out stresses of the Premier League, and you can see the team’s progress in the competition in my previous article, here: http://spurs.blogsfc.com/road-to-carling-cup-final-2009.html.

Team News

As whole-sale changes were the order of the day on Thursday night, with Harry Redknapp fielding a vastly inexperienced side, he should be able to select a very strong team. The only absences are Pascal Chimbonda, Carlo Cudicini, Robbie Keane and Wilson Palacios; who are all cup-tied after signing from other English clubs in January; Fraizer Campbell who can not play against his “parent club”; and duo Jermain Defoe and Alan Hutton who will spend tomorrow on the physio’s table.

Campbell - ineligible after signing on loan on deadline day as part of the deal which took Dimitar Berbatov to Old Trafford

Jamie O’Hara will be available, however, after returning from injury to play 70 minutes on Thursday, and is eager to make amends after being left out of the squad for last year’s final. Ledley King starting will also be pivital to any hopes Spurs have of retaining the illusive piece of silverware, and he should be selected after being rested mid-week. As I say, Harry should have a very strong squad to select from, and could face some selection problems; albeit good selection problems. I expect the team to look somewhat like this:

                            Gomes

Corluka          King          Woodgate          Ekotto

Lennon       Zokora          Jenas               Modric

                       Bent         Pavlyuchenko

Can We Win?

If Redknapp lines up in a 4-4-2 formation, I see no reason why we can’t spring an upset, just like last season’s final. But for those of you who are somewhat of a superstitious nature (much like myself), I will tell you that Tottenham won the League Cup in 1999, the year Man United recorded the illusive treble of League, FA Cup and Champions League.

Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to field a weakened side, so man-to-man we should match if not exceed their ability. Yet I feel the main priority is to keep the ball and make them work, before trying to get a goal between 30 and 60 minutes. Otherwise, United will unleash their plethora of superstars, and nick a goal or two (not that they have exactly been in goalscoring form).

Woodgate: Will play again after scoring winner against Chelsea in last season’s final

Berbatov: Should get a warm welcome

The fans will also play a huge part. To the United fans, this is just one of many finals in a lifetime, but to Tottenham fans this is an occasion that holds weeks of anticipation in the build-up, and comes none too soon. The last few youth team fixtures have been packed, as fans desperately attempt to gain enough loyalty points to attend the match. The atmosphere around the ground will be buzzing, and should spur the Spurs on.

My verdict: I think it will be a very entertaining game, with opportunities for both sides. But, I do not want to curse the outcome by predicting the score.

4 Responses to “Carling Cup Final - Preview”

  1. Richard Dunne likes Food Says:

    Very good preview Giovani

    Even as a City fan, I want United to win, as this would free up another place in the League for UEFA Cup qualification. My heart says a Spurs win, my head says a Scum victory.

    One thing I don’t understand is why Harry fielded a weakened side in the UEFA Cup so he could concentrate on this match … the winner of which goes into the UEFA Cup?!?!?!?!?!?

  2. Giovani Dos Never Gets PLayed Says:

    Thanks

    It is slightly ironic that Harry sacraficed European football to be playing European football next season! We waited years to get into the UEFA Cup and want it taken seriously.

    As for City, you may well qualify for next year’s competition by winning it this year!

  3. Richard Dunne likes Food Says:

    Haha, no chance of us winning it this year!!!

  4. I*T*P*L Says:

    Really good article, I’ll definitely be supporting you.

    As for Man City, there’s about as much chance of Stoke winning this year’s UEFA Cup.

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