Tottenham begin life after Andre Villas-Boas tonight with a grudge match against West Ham in the Capital One Cup, with interim coach Tim Sherwood looking to exact revenge on the Claret and Blues for Spurs’ 3-0 humbling earlier in the season.
The White Hart Lane humiliation at the hands of their London rivals was one of the key turning points that saw Andre Villas-Boas fall out of favour, the Portuguese boss finally being relieved of his duties after a meeting with chairman Daniel Levy on Monday morning. In fact, West Ham’s lowly league position made the result all the more alarming for the Lilywhites, who have gone on to receive thrashings from Manchester City and Liverpool.
The Tottenham faithful have heralded mixed reactions to Sherwood’s appointment, albeit one that may last just a matter of games. It is rumoured that should results go well, Sherwood will be offered the position permanently, possibly as part of a team of three alongside development coach Chris Ramsey and Spurs legend Les Ferdinand.
Sherwood is a known champion of Spurs’ development policy, one that will now never be fulfilled by the youthful Villas-Boas. That means the likes of Andros Townsend and Zeki Fryers could start against West Ham, who will be hoping to catch Spurs at a low ebb when they make the trip up to North London.
Hammers manager Sam Allardyce has problems of his own ahead of the clash, as his side continue to suffer from a lack of goals (a problem Spurs themselves will be familiar with). Both sides will be missing key men in the middle, as Tottenham’s Paulinho will start his ban for a dangerous tackle on Luis Suarez at the weekend, while West Ham captain Kevin Nolan remains suspended.
Winston Reid and Ricardo Vaz Te will not be able to add to the goal apiece they scored at White Hart Lane in October as both are suffering from injury. Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing will also watch the game from the sidelines, meaning Matt Taylor could be given a chance to impress in midfield behind Carlton Cole up front.
To add to their managerial woes, Spurs will also put out a depleted starting line-up that will be missing Jan Vertonghen and Brazilian Sandro, who took a knock to his calf on Sunday against Liverpool.
Neither side is likely to go into the game full of confidence, but the tie will make interesting viewing for those hoping to gauge Tim Sherwood’s managerial style and see if West Ham can gain some momentum going into the Premier League’s vital Christmas period.
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