Should Spurs stick with Michel Vorm for Capital One Cup final?
Dutch custodian Michel Vorm’s costly FA Cup error could come back to haunt him again in a month or so. Tottenham, 12/5 with Coral to lift the Capital One Cup, have a date with London rivals Chelsea at Wembley on March 1st with silverware at stake.
Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino kept faith with the Netherlands international for the subsequent semi-final draw and aggregate victory at Sheffield United, however. This raises the question of whether regular number one Hugo Lloris will usurp the cup keeper? He’s 5/6 to do so.
Vorm has been on the opposite end of this in the League Cup final of two years ago when he was at Swansea City. German goalie Gerhard Tremmel was his backup at the Liberty Stadium, but was retained for the Wembley win over then fourth tier team Bradford City.
Although he was part of a trophy-winning squad, the bench by Wembley’s hallowed turf is probably the worst place to be in the entire iconic stadium. Not playing could further damage what looked like brittle confidence from Vorm when he dropped that FA Cup clanger against Leicester City.
For Premier League assignments, he is behind one of the best keepers in the world. Lloris captains France and sometimes Spurs, with a commanding presence. Crosses cannot catch out this rangy figure, and he is a sublime shot stopper, wowing audiences that enjoy England’s top-flight the world over.
There’s a mixed history regarding the retention of cup keepers in major cup finals in recent years. Lukasz Fabianski, who replaced Vorm as Swans number one this summer, played his last game in Arsenal shirt in their extra-time FA Cup triumph over Hull City, despite being behind fellow Poland international Wojciech Szczesny in the pecking order.
While that status as a cup keeper was preserved by Arsene Wenger, Manchester City left rangy Romania stopper Costel Pantilimon, now at Sunderland, on the bench behind Joe Hart in their 2011 victory over Stoke City. The former had played throughout the Etihad outfit’s run to the final under Roberto Mancini.
Simultaneously, Stoke rested number one Asmir Begovic completely, and kept faith in now third-choice goalie Thomas Sorensen. City later gave Pantilimon the chance to play at Wembley, though, as he was between the posts for last year’s League Cup final.
Lloris will be a busy boy in February, as Tottenham face five hugely demanding contests in that month. Starting with a home north London derby against Arsenal and then an away day at Anfield, they also have a Europa League last 32 two-legged tie with canny Serie A side Fiorentina with another White Hart Lane outing versus West Ham United sandwiched in between.
These domestic league matches are with Spurs’ nearest and bitterest rivals in the race for a top four finish (6/1). With so much water under the bridge between now and the Capital One Cup final, Pochettino might be prepared to overlook any mistakes made by Vorm (5/6 to play), and give him the day out he hopes for.