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🆚 Hot Off The Press: Tottenham Hotspur

Rob Guest from football.london previews our Semi Final opponents

5 January 2021

Setting the last few weeks aside, it’s been a great start for Tottenham, who sat top of the Premier League from the end of November until the middle of December. How would you sum up what you’ve seen so far?

I think it’s been a good start to the season for Spurs. A lot of people probably had them down to miss out on the top four again, going on what happened last season and I think they’ve surprised quite a few. There have certainly been some good results - notably the 6-1 win at Manchester United, Manchester City at home and Arsenal at home as well – but it’s just a disappointing how the last few weeks have panned out, especially when they were top of the league and had the chance to extend their lead. Unfortunately, given the nature of the table and how close it is, they’ve since dropped down. It’s been a good start with plenty of positives and I think they are in a good position to kick on in 2021.

This is the second time in three seasons that Spurs have reached the Carabao Cup semi-final. With the league form having started to tail off slightly, how much of a priority will this competition be?

Winning a trophy is a priority for Spurs and Jose Mourinho this season despite the dip in form. They’ve gone so long without one; it will be 13 years in February that the won the League Cup. By bringing in Mourinho, you’re bringing in a proven winner, someone who knows how to win trophies. He’s proved that throughout his career and always at his first full season at a club - Chelsea, Manchester United and then his second spell at Chelsea – he’s won the League Cup. I think this is a competition he always targets and he’ll believe they can go all the way and win in this year. With Spurs, it’s a case of, once they get the first trophy, things will snowball and, hopefully, a few more will follow. I think this competition is really important for Spurs this season and if they can win it, it only bodes well for the future, especially with Mourinho in charge and his knack for winning trophies.

The club spent a significant amount on the likes of Matt Doherty, Sergio Reguilon and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg this summer. Do you expect much movement from them in the transfer window this month?

January is not a window Spurs tend to deal in. I think it’s a tough window for all clubs, to be honest, because there are not a lot of players available and the ones who are, if clubs are going to cash in, they want big money. Spurs brought seven players in in the summer and I don’t think they need any additions because the squad is big enough and they’ve got strength in depth for the first time in a long time. If anything, it’s going to be about outgoings rather than incomings, but you can never say never. Mourinho might believe he needs one player to come in and give the team a boost.

There have been a few standout performers but which player should Brentford fans be looking out for?

The main two this season have been Harry Kane and Son Heung-min (pictured above). Kane, who a lot of people doubted could score goals in a Mourinho team, has been brilliant and showed so far this season that he’s so much more than a goalscorer. He’s got a number of assists, a number of goals and the link up play between him and Son has been absolutely outstanding. He’s tending to drop a bit deeper at times in order to ping balls out to players either side of him and it’s working. Son has been very good, despite being quiet in a few games, but you know what you’re going to get with him. He can burst into life at any given moment and just provide that moment of quality.

How is Jose Mourinho likely to set up his side in north London?

Usually this season it has either been a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1. Mourinho did switch to a back three with wing-backs recently against Wolves but I think he might have been doing that based on his opponents and things will be back to normal for this game. I’d say it’ll be a flat back four against Brentford, with Moussa Sissoko and Hojbjerg in midfield and Tanguy Ndombele a little more advanced than them. Then it’ll be Kane, Son and probably one of Steven Bergwijn or Lucas Moura.

This is the first meeting between the two sides in 20 years, when Spurs ran out 2-0 winners in a League Cup tie at White Hart Lane. What’s your score prediction for this one?

I’ll go for 2-1 to Spurs. I think it’ll be a close match as Brentford are doing so well, you just don’t want Mourinho to do what he has done recently and go a goal ahead and then just sit back. I think it’ll be tight but Spurs will seal a place at Wembley.

We are celebrating our fantastic cup run with a limited edition away shirt which is embroidered with the Semi Final fixture detail and has the Carabao Cup Sleeve badge on the left arm. Pick between one of the cup goal scorers to complete your limited-edition shirts. Adult sizes (including women’s) are available for £70 and Juniors are £60.

With limited availability, don’t delay, buy your shirt online now. 

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