West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - League Cup 4th Round

Somewhat - and understandably - subdued following his trip to Leicester here's Preview Percy look at the midweek visit of Spurs in the League Cup...

Next we return to the League Cup where we will play host to Tottenham Hotspur in the 4th round of the competition.

Kick-off on Wednesday night is 7:45pm. The "new" rules that apply to this competition will apply so that, should the scores be level we will go straight into penalties, the traditional ABAB system applying as opposed to the experimental "ABBA" system. Insert your own punchline about "Winner Takes It All"

Penalties may become relevant for this. Having been let off playing in the 2nd round of the competition to assist them in their So-Called Champions League "campaign" (chortle), they qualified for this round by beating Watford 4-2 on spot-kicks having conceded a late equaliser which, in turn followed them being 1-0 down on 81 minutes and 2-1 up on 86 minutes. That match was, of course, played at Milton Keynes due to their ground not being ready. This seems to be the result of some ongoing "dare" between the stadium contractors on the one hand and the lot who are putting together the Elizabeth Line as to who can stretch out the work the longest. Incidentally, given that from above the whole edifice looks (aptly enough) like a bog seat, does this mean that we can expect a return to that 1960's/1970's thing where toilet rolls did service as streamers to be launched into the goalmouth as a shot went in or wide? I wouldn't recommend it at the Olympic mind. You'd need two of you in a relay to get the thing anywhere near the pitch. With probably a third person required to work out where the start of the roll is in the first place.

As before, their lack of signings in the summer that is, in no way, linked to the cost of building the Khazi Dome, well maybe a bit, means another day off for Daisy the Work Experience Girl With The Beautiful Smile bless her. She will be back for Burnley she assures me.

As you'll be aware it's only a week or so since we last met. As ever, they treated it as their Cup Final and having gone 1-0 up at the interval Fabianski had about as much involvement in the game as Harry Kane, though at least our 'keeper was able to see the match from his penalty area, the view being much better from there than it was from the bottom of Issa Dioup's pocket whence Kane only emerged to be substituted at the end. That their best player by far was Lloris probably explains a lot.

Since they scraped by us they let in a late one to drop two points in Eindhoven in the so-called Champions League whilst the other night they went down by one touchdown to nil against Man City at Wembley. As an advert for the Premier League Monday's match left a lot to be desired. The pitch was a disgrace both in condition and by virtue of the fact that the American egg-chasers had left all their markings behind. Mind you Spurs suffered more than the visitors - the pitch markings made it more difficult for the linos not to spot Kane loitering in offside positions.

In a week where we've seen penalties given for some of the most outrageous dives you'll ever want to see it is perhaps apt that this match will probably see the return to the starting line-up for Delle Alli. The notoriously unsteady on his feet midfielder came on as a second half sub on Monday night after a spell out for injury and he will be boosted by the unannounced decision by the FA to quietly ditch the retrospective bans for simulation experiment. I presume that they have ditched it - I can think of no other reason why some players are not planning a visit to HQ this week. Other than a desire by the FA to not upset their richer paymasters of course.

Also returning to the starting line-up is likely to be Christian Eriksen who also came on as a sub on Monday night after missing some matches with some unspecified knock(s) that were said to be taking longer to heal due to general fatigue.

Other than that one would expect them to make numerous changes given that a) they only played on Monday night (how clever of Sky to schedule a Monday night match for a League Cup week by the way) and b) they have Wolves away on Saturday and will need their big guns out to try and keep the score respectable given they won't have a lousy pitch to bring the opposition down to their level.

And so to us. Well I will save any comment on Saturday's game itself for the Burnley preview. The terrible events that took place at Leicester have been well-documented elsewhere on these pages. I can only add that, having spent a good few hours in the company of some of the home supporters on Saturday afternoon in one of those little obscure watering holes that never get too busy that Matron is so good at finding, supping pints and putting the world to rights, the grief seems slightly more personal than it might otherwise have done.

Post -match having stopped for a bite to eat we were on our way back home as the news broke and, apart from the sound of mobile phones bleeping as loved ones checked-in to say that they were ok it was quite possibly the quietest train journey home after an away match that I can remember. My personal condolences gout to all involved.

Team news is that Arnautovic may be ok but the nature of the game may mean that he is given a night off to get himself fitter for Burnley - especially as shepherding that knee as well as recovering from a bug. Noble will miss this and the next two league matches through suspension but Obiang should be available if required. I'd expect a bit of a mixture of young and more experienced to start this one but the precise blend may well favour the experienced given that MP has stressed how seriously we are taking the competition.

So prediction then. Well we have an extra two days of recovery for anyone who played in the last round of fixtures and this should enable us to field a stronger side in terms of freshness and availability than the visitors might be able to do. So that and the fact that they can't possibly be as lucky as they were the other week leads me to go for a home win. I will therefore be placing the traditional ?2.50 on the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (The Fun Stopped on Saturday Evening) on a 2-1 win - AET. (Editor's note we did keep telling him there's no extra time but he seems to have forgotten!)

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Olympic: Lost 0-1 (Premier League October 2018)
You've not got much of a memory, have you? Flukey win largely thanks to the efforts of Lloris.

Referee: Stuart Atwell
VAR will be available for this game. We'll probably need it with this ref.

Danger Man: Delle Alli
Probably the most senior of those likely to start. Likely to make the most of a poor/gullible official

Percy's Poser:
As a mark of respect we won't be awarding a prize for the Poser posed for the Leicester match. The answer was Ferret by the way.

This week we return to the highly useful Tottenham Independent website and ask you what helpful information is contained in the missing word from this recent headline:

Where and when you are most likely to be XXXXXXXXXXXX on the tube

Good luck everybody!

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