So the annual dilemma, how much should we bother with the League, or the EFL Cup, as it’s known these days? “It’s the best chance of winning a trophy” is the common mantra, but do we really want the extra games, especially the quarter final and (two) semi finals which are scheduled when we may be regathering ourselves in the gap between the group and knockout stages of the Champions League? (Don’t laugh, you never know).
Poch has experienced two contrasting campaigns in this competition thus far, two seasons ago some fortunate draws helped us reach the final where we were Mourinho’ed whilst this time last year Fazio was given what turned out to be his only game of the campaign and we were unluckily beaten by two Flamini flukes.
This time we start against against Gillingham at WHL in front of what should be a good crowd as it’s the first of the two ‘free’ games given to season ticket holders and Gillingham have sold their allocation.
There’s been lots of anticipation at our side given the youngsters that have been on the bench and not yet played thus far. All of Onomah, Carter-Vickers and Winks may start with Edwards & NKoudou at least, ready to come on. Janssen would’ve been a definite but Kane’s knackered ankle means that he may be kept out of the firing line, in more ways than one. It would be a bit of a disaster if he were to end up with a limp after tonight. It’s unfortunate that Harrison is injured. Other potential starters are Lopez, Trippier, Carroll and Wimmer (if he can be located). There’ll be a few first teamers (Davies? Lamela? Wanyama? Vertonghen? Eriksen?) there to help add a bit of experience (and class hopefully) but Poch will be hoping that not many of those likely to start against Boro on Saturday are asked to take part.
The opposition bring several ex-Spurs with them. The management team has Justin Edinburgh and David Kerslake whilst Paul Konchesky and Jamie O’Hara may be seen on the pitch. Other notables are ex-Gooner Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Bradley Dack, League One player of the year last year.
Pochettino says that he will be taking the competition seriously, he also will take squad rotation seriously too. Our starting line up will be interesting but we take the opposition lightly at our peril. They beat Watford at Vicarage Rd in the last round so will fancy their chances of another upset if we we’re not as ready for it as we might be.
It’s a tricky business trying to pick a team just good enough to win, we’ll see what fist of it Poch makes tonight.
*He threw all the way to Edinburgh.
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