Can West Ham turn over sorry Spurs again in Capital One Cup?
West Ham (6/1) are the only away team in this week’s four Capital One Cup ties not odds-on to progress to the semi-finals, but Sam Allardyce’s side have every reason to be optimistic as they travel across London to deeply troubled Tottenham (8/15).
Just a couple of weeks ago there was talk of Big Sam being the next Premier League manager for the chop, but he’s still in charge at the Boleyn Ground, while fellow managers Steve Clarke and Andre Villas-Boas have been handed their P45s.
Villas-Boas was sacked on Monday morning following another Premier League humiliation, this time 0-5 at home to Liverpool, a decision that is hardly likely to bring instant stability to a team already in such disarray on the pitch.
They will also remember – and if they don’t I’m sure they will be reminded – that it was West Ham who started the Spurs rot with a 3-0 win at White Hart Lane in October.
West Ham have troubles of their own at the moment, of course, and will continue to have until either Andy Carroll recovers from injury or they bring in somebody else to score goals.
But their defence is solid enough – clean sheets in half of their Premier League games – and it would be no great surprise if they held out against a misfiring Spurs strike-force and then nicked it on the break.
Stoke (100/30) have a happy knack of raising their game against the big sides, but Manchester United, back in form with a convincing win at Aston Villa on Sunday, appear to have targeted the Capital One Cup in a season when they might struggle to win anything else and look good at Coral’s 5/6.
Leicester (8/1) are riding high in the Championship, but it’s hard to see them knocking out Manchester City (4/11), even if, as is likely, Manuel Pellegrini rests several of his stars; their shadow squad should be good enough to get through.
Chelsea (4/7), on the other hand, will do well not to take bottom club Sunderland (5/1) too lightly in the other Tuesday tie. The Black Cats took Jose Mourinho’s men all the way when going down 3-4 in their recent Premier League clash and Gus Poyet is increasingly happy with the way his players are responding to their plight.