EFL Cup preview: Can Tottenham do it on a cold night in Stoke? Plus Everton face Man Utd
We take a closer look at tonight’s quarter-finals
Two consecutive Premier League defeats have threatened to derail Tottenham’s season and tonight Jose Mourinho must turn things around by proving he can do it on a cold night in Stoke.
A trip to the Britannia Stadium isn’t as daunting as it once was, with the Potters back in the Championship, but Michael O’Neill’s side will need no extra motivation to pile more misery on Spurs.
Meanwhile, Everton and Manchester United will both be looking to build on their impressive Premier League form as they meet at Goodison Park.
Ahead of the action, we’ve studied the form, team news and latest odds.
Stoke v Tottenham (17:30)
Despite their recent form, Spurs will still fancy their chances of rivalling Liverpool to win the Premier League title. But realistically, Mourinho will be targeting the EFL Cup as he looks to deliver the North London club’s first trophy since winning this competition in 2008.
They come up against Stoke, who have failed to keep a clean sheet in just one of their last seven league outings and they’ll fancy their chances of rolling back the years and delivering another iconic giant-killing.
Mourinho’s side have stalled in the league of late, dropping points at Crystal Palace before suffering consecutive defeats to Liverpool and Leicester. And with a busy Christmas schedule on the way, the Portuguese boss faces a selection headache.
In an ideal world, a trip to a Championship club would be the perfect opportunity to rest the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, whose fitness is essential in their success this season.
Yet with a cup semi-final just 90 minutes away, Mourinho will be wary of resting too many stars and paying the ultimate price.
Stoke are no pushovers this season and only goal difference will have them out of the play-off positions over Christmas. But they face a goalkeeping crisis, with three of their stoppers sidelined with injury and another cup-tied.
37-year-old Andy Lonergan, who was a surprise member of Liverpool’s title-winning squad last season, should start between the sticks. And things aren’t looking much better outfield, with experienced heads Ryan Shawcross, John Obi Mikel and Joe Allen all unavailable.
For Spurs, Mourinho will inevitably ring the changes, but he won’t be able to call upon injured duo Erik Lamela and Japhet Tanganga, while Giovani Lo Celso remains a doubt.
Stoke are priced at 13/2 to win in 90 minutes and 5/2 to qualify. Tottenham are 2/5 in the match betting and 2/7 to qualify. The draw is 18/5.
Everton v Manchester United (20:00)
Tonight’s second cup tie pits two of the Premier League’s form teams against one another and, like Tottenham, both will have every intention of going all the way in the competition.
The hosts have bounced back from a shaky patch of form to mastermind consecutive wins over Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal and they’ll hold no fear about the prospect of facing United.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side confidently despatched West Ham 4-1 in the last round of the cup thanks to a Dominic Calvert-Lewin hat-trick and the Toffees will likely field a strong side this evening.
United have won six of their last seven games in the Premier League and the first of that run was a 3-1 victory at Goodison Park in early November.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side put six past Leeds on Sunday and with the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford in explosive goalscoring form, we could be set for another thriller.
United are yet to concede in this competition so far, winning both of their ties 3-0, but their defence has been slightly more porous in recent weeks, which Everton could take advantage of.
Everton will once again be without James Rodriguez, while Fabian Delph and Lucas Digne also remain sidelined. Seamus Coleman could make his first start since that league defeat to United.
For the visitors, Jesse Lingard is set to be named in the squad. The midfielder’s last appearance came in United’s win at Brighton in the last round.
Everton can be backed at 21/10 to win in 90 minutes or 6/5 to qualify. Manchester United are 23/20 in the match betting and odds-on at 8/13 to progress. The draw is 13/5.
View the latest football odds.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.