Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming for a ticket to the Carabao Cup final when they play hosts to Brentford on Tuesday.
Jose Mourinho is hoping to move one step closer towards securing his first title as a Tottenham Hotspur manager when his team faces off Brentford in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. Following a four-game winless streak in the Premier League, the Lilywhites bounced back to winning ways in their recent clash with Leeds United, which should give them the confidence needed heading into this game.
Tottenham haven’t been at their best in recent weeks following a tremendous start to the campaign. And they could consider themselves lucky to have avoided playing either Manchester United or Manchester City in the semi-finals, though it is also fair to point out that the Lilywhites have performed well above expectations against the top-quality opponents in the Premier League this season.
In fact, Spurs have struggled particularly against less challenging opposition. They had to churn out wins over Burnley and West Brom while dropping points against West Ham and Crystal Palace. And Brentford will be no walk in the park, having beaten four Premier League clubs on their way to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup this season.
Despite losing two of their best players in Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma, the Bees have enjoyed a dream start to the campaign. They are already one of the favourites to gain promotion to the top-flight next season, though that shouldn’t deter them from going all out in this cup fixture as Thomas Frank looks to land the first competitive trophy in the club’s history.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two teams in this crucial encounter in north London this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
Despite the congested schedule of January, Mourinho is likely to field a strong starting eleven knowing the Carabao Cup is an ideal opportunity for him to land his first trophy at Tottenham. Unfortunately for him, though, he still has to rest a few of the key players including Toby Alderweireld.
Therefore, we might see Davinson Sanchez returning to the side, partnering Eric Dier in central defence. The duo will be assisted by the left-back Ben Davies.
As for Matt Doherty, he could consider himself lucky as his suspension, following a red card against Leeds United, applies to League Cup as well, meaning the Irishman won’t have to miss any Premier League matches. Nevertheless, his absence should pave the way for Serge Aurier to operate at right-back.
In midfield, Moussa Sissoko is likely to replace Harry Winks, thus forming the double-pivot alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in Mourinho’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. We are yet to receive any updates over Giovani Lo Celso’s fitness so Tanguy Ndombele should retain his place in the number ten position. However, Dele Alli is likely to replace him around the hour-mark.
Moving forward, there is still no sign of Gareth Bale, who is struggling with fitness issues once again. His absence means Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn should compete for a start while Carlos Vinicius should come in for Harry Kane, with Son Heung-Min operating out wide.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Lucas, Ndombele, Son; Vinicius
Thomas Frank is someone who prefers attractive, attacking football. His side has scored 36 goals in the Championship so far – a tally only bettered by Bournemouth and Blackburn Rovers. New signing Ivan Toney, in that regard, has played a key role. He has netted in 16 goals but none of them have come in the Carabao Cup.
– Games: 15
– Wins: 8
– Draws: 7
– Losses: 0
– Goals scored: 22
Thomas Frank is doing an incredible job! 👔 pic.twitter.com/QiQEmVYbLs
— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) December 30, 2020
So the 24-year-old will be desperate to get off the mark on Tuesday, using the creative support of the two wingers in Bryan Mbuemo and Sergi Canos. Tariqe Fosu is another alternative on the flanks while Marcus Forss could provide a more traditional presence in the number nine for Brentford if required.
In midfield, Frank could opt for the same unit that started against Bournemouth. The trifecta of Vitaly Janelt, Josh Dasilva and Mathias Jensen should do well to mirror Tottenham’s three-man midfield. Brentford also have the option of deploying a traditional 4-2-3-1 by starting with Emiliano Marcondes.
In the defensive department, the onus will be on Pontus Jansson and Ethan Pinnock to protect goalkeeper David Raya, with additional support from the two full-backs in Rico Henry and Danish international Henrik Dalsgaard.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Dasilva, Janelt, Jensen; Mbuemo, Toney, Canos
- This will be the 42nd meeting between Tottenham and Brentford. The head-to-head record between the two reads 22 wins for Spurs and 6 for the Bees (D13).
- Tottenham last met Brentford in the 2000-01 edition of the League Cup. The Bees secured a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the second round tie, only to be beaten 2-0 at White Hart Lane a week later.
- Brentford are heading into this game on the back of a 15 game unbeaten streak in all competitions. Their last loss came against Stoke City in the Championship.
- Tottenham are undefeated in their last ten matches against Brentford across all competitions. The last time the Lilywhites lost against the Bees was in 1948.
- Brentford have beaten four Premier League clubs on their way to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup – Southampton, West Ham, Fulham and Newcastle United. They managed to keep three clean sheets during this run.
Player to Watch
It remains unsure whether Harry Kane will start against Brentford this midweek, but Tottenham may require his services at some point in the game, especially considering the club’s recent difficulties in navigating through defences. The hosts will hope that they wouldn’t be needing their star striker to play a crucial role in this encounter if they do start with Carlos Vinicius upfront.
One thing is for sure, Kane will feature against Brentford in some capacity, considering the fact that Spurs play FC Marine in the next game, where Mourinho will have the privilege of resting the English international. His scoring prowess, combined with his ability to drop deep and create chances could spell trouble for the Bees, who are not necessarily renowned for their defensive solidity.
Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Brentford
Brentford are known for their attacking prowess and although they do lack consistency in the defensive unit sometimes, it won’t be surprising to see Tottenham struggle in this encounter. In addition, we are also expecting a high-scoring fixture, though we have to give the hosts the upper hands, especially following their impressive 3-0 win over Leeds United on the weekend.