Spurs will have to dig deep to down Blades in Capital One Cup
Tottenham have won just two of their last nine matches (losing four) against Sheffield United, so the visitors for this Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at White Hart Lane are tempting 8/1 chances to claim another shock win.
Three of those head-to-heads were 2-2 draws, so Coral’s price of 4/1 for another share of the spoils is more likely. You can also take fantastic odds of 22/1 for that scoreline once more.
Spurs and the Blades, however, last faced each other when they weren’t in the same division since 1971, also in the League Cup, where the Londoners ran out 2-1 victors. Tottenham are odds-on favourites at 4/11 to win this first leg against the now League One side, and 8/1 to do so by that scoreline.
Two former United players could feature in this encounter too, in Kyle full back duo Walker and Naughton, though the latter us the subject of interest from Swansea City. They are 12/1 and 8/1 chances respectively to net anytime against their old club.
Now fit Walker warned his new teammates ahead of the game about the Blades, who have a good recent history of producing quality defensive players. “Some of the lads have come from foreign countries and aren’t used to going to Sheffield when it’s cold,” he said. “It’s probably going to be raining and we’re not going to have it all our own way.
“It’s going to be a different game from the Premier League. Sometimes we’re going to have to dig deep, dig our heels in and have a bit of a battle. We have to grit our teeth and get through it and then hopefully our football will show why we’re in the Premier League but first we have to get through that stage to earn the right to play.
“It’s a good set-up there. The coaching staff are good. Players have developed there and then moved to Premier League clubs. Kyle Naughton and I are here, Matt Lowton is at Aston Villa, Harry Maguire at Hull [City]. Then further back you have someone like Phil Jagielka, who went to Everton and is now an England regular.”
While Sheffield United perhaps don’t possess such a promising backline at present, they can call on the likes of former Blackpool trio teenager Harrison McGahey, Scotsman Bob Harris and Chris Basham, who have impressed this season. The Blades are 15/2 chances to keep a clean sheet.
They will have to fend off in-form Spurs striker Harry Kane, who is odds-on at 8/11 to score anytime, and 3/1 for two or more.
United have already downed high-flying Premier League opposition West Ham United and Southampton in this competition this season, with club top scorer Mark McNulty getting the sole goal against the latter. He is 10/3 to net again anytime.
Spurs (odds-on at 1/9 to reach the final) will be missing Nabil Bentaleb, who is away at the Africa Cup of Nations, and injured Erik Lamela, while Emmanuel Adebayor and Ryan Mason could return to the XI.
For the Blades (11/2 to qualify), Ryan Flynn, James Wallace and Ben Davies are all doubts.