Newcastle tonight. I read for the first time this week that the rift between AVB and Adebayor was caused by the latter’s wearing of a hat in a team meeting. His reluctance to debeanie and then be happy when he was forced to apologise in front of his colleagues fuelled the striker’s isolation and Levy’s disgruntlement with all things Villas-Boas related. (All this courtesy of the Telegraph website by the way). This is apposite because last year’s league cup quarter final was the beginning of the transformation from Badebayor to Goodebayor. Ade’s goal gave us the lead but West Ham scored two late on and saved us from a twin-barrelled humiliation by Man City in the semis.
So a year ago it seems like our side was behaving like kids whereas this year it contains lots of ‘em. Or the ‘A’ team does anyway. Even though he’s back training it’s too early for Adebayor to be thrown back into the maelstrom apparently which is a shame because I’m sure Pochettino will be wanting desperately to give Kane a rest. The pressure on his shoulders currently is only matched by his work rate but we need him as fresh as possible for Burnley at the weekend, a great opportunity (especially with Leicester to follow) for us to gather some league momentum (before we hit the Chelski buffers again on the 28th of course).
Other players the coach will think about giving a break are Eriksen, Mason and Bentaleb thus we can expect to see Stambouli and Dembele at the very least. Lamela’s current hatchet man style is high up on everyone’s radar (including match referee Andre Marriner no doubt) as is his form so it may be that Townsend is a more likely starter behind Soldado (and Kane?).
A back four of Naughton, Rose, Kaboul and Vertonghen (please no Chiriches) is going to struggle with Cisse, Perez and Ameobi as we saw in the league game, but at least there should be no Dier this tie waving them through on the right hand side.
Given our likely team changes I’d say that we can only file this game under ‘winnable’ rather than anything more positive. They’ve had some great results recently but got pasted at the weekend and did lose to West Ham so….
A possible semi final draw against Sheffield United should be incentive enough.
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