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

Sunderland.

Here are five things to know about the quarterfinals:

NEW ERA

With Andre Villas-Boas gone, Tottenham’s players will be out to

impress a new manager – whoever he may be – in the match against

West Ham.

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

Liverpool.

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

choose.

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

season.

FINE COMPANY

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

Championship.

”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

said.

Such is the importance that second-tier teams attach to being in

the lucrative top flight that Pearson may even rest his best

players.

”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

period.

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

Stadium.

GOAL-LINE TECHNOLOGY

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.”