5 things to know about League Cup quarterfinals
Tottenham begins life after Andre Villas-Boas with a League Cup
quarterfinal match against West Ham on Wednesday, one of three
all-Premier League matches in the last eight.
Spurs are likely to be without a permanent manager in the dugout
for the game after Villas-Boas was fired on Monday, less than a day
after a 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool in the league.
The big clubs were kept apart in the quarterfinals, with
Manchester United visiting Stoke in Wednesday’s other match. On
Tuesday, Manchester City plays at Leicester, the only non-Premier
League team remaining in the competition, and Chelsea travels to
Here are five things to know about the quarterfinals:
With Andre Villas-Boas gone, Tottenham’s players will be out to
impress a new manager – whoever he may be – in the match against
Argentina forward Erik Lamela and Denmark playmaker Christian
Eriksen, two of Spurs’ seven expensive signings in the offseason,
are among the players to have seen little game time under
Villas-Boas this campaign and will be hoping for a change in
fortunes under a new coach. They didn’t start the loss to
Whoever is in charge on Wednesday will want to shore up a
defense that was repeatedly exposed against Liverpool and also in
the 6-0 loss at Manchester City three weeks ago. Going forward has
also been the problem this season for Spurs, who have scored only
15 goals in 15 league games this season.
West Ham has already beaten Tottenham once this season, winning
3-0 at White Hart Lane in October, but its form has been poor of
late and the team is fourth from bottom in the Premier League.
NOW’S YOUR CHANCE
The leading Premier League clubs usually use the League Cup to
give their youth or fringe players a chance to impress. However,
with the final in reach, will managers reverse this policy?
Chelsea fielded mostly reserve players in the 2-0 win at Arsenal
in the last round and has the luxury of a deep squad from which to
And given his side’s current form, Man City manager Manuel
Pellegrini will likely be confident a second-string team will be
good enough to see off Leicester – after all, City’s reserves beat
Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week.
It could be a different story for Tottenham, though, which could
play its strongest team as it looks to bounce back from the heavy
loss to Liverpool.
And after its troubling start in the Premier League, maybe Man
United will see the League Cup as its best chance of silverware
this season and field Wayne Rooney and its other big names.
The lineups will give a good idea of the teams’ priorities this
Getting back in the Premier League after what would be a 10-year
absence is Leicester’s priority this season, so the League Cup is
something of a bonus for the team that is third in the second-tier
”The league is the most important competition for us and I’m
not going to look at things differently even against one of the
best sides in the world,” Leicester manager Nigel Pearson
Such is the importance that second-tier teams attach to being in
the lucrative top flight that Pearson may even rest his best
”Players who are carrying niggles would be more likely to play
on Tuesday if it were a league game,” Pearson added.
Leicester, whose team includes former Man City goalkeeper Kasper
Schmeichel, heads into the game on the back of a disappointing 1-1
home draw with bottom club Barnsley on Saturday.
NO STAR STRIKERS
The two Manchester clubs will be without their No. 1 strikers
for this week’s quarterfinals and likely for the entire Christmas
With Robin van Persie ruled out last week until January, United
manager David Moyes must weigh up who starts up front against Stoke
out of Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, who scored twice in the
3-0 win at Aston Villa on Sunday.
As for City, some of the gloss was taken off its 6-3 win over
Arsenal on Saturday with Sergio Aguero limping off at the start of
the second half with what appeared a serious right calf injury. The
Argentina international, who has scored 19 goals in 20 City games
this season, faces at least a month on the sidelines.
Edin Dzeko is likely to replace Aguero at the King Power
Organizers said Monday that goal-line technology will be used in
the quarterfinals for the first time in English cup football.
The Goal Decision System has been tested over the last
fortnight, with FIFA confirming that the ball used in the League
Cup has been calibrated to be used with the Hawk-Eye system.
”In many ways, its use in cup football is even more important
than in league football,” said Andy Williamson, chief operating
officer for the Football League, ”as any decision about whether
the ball has crossed the goal line can mean the difference between
a club being knocked out or not – and could even determine the
eventual Wembley winners.”