League One side Sheffield United will be aiming to beat a Premier League opponent for a remarkable 6th time within a year when they host Tottenham Hotspur at Bramall Lane on Wednesday in the return leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final. The Blades will have to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the 1st leg at White Hart Lane if they are to progress to a first ever League Cup final.
The League One side saw off the likes of West Ham and Southampton in previous rounds of this competition before dispatching Queens Park Rangers 3-0 at the Loftus Road in the third round of the FA Cup and will be confident that they can reach their first ever League Cup final even though they have to win by two goals, lest the match goes into extra time and beyond.
Spurs have won the erstwhile League Cup four times with their last win coming in 2008 when they recorded a historic 5-1 win over Arsenal in the second leg of the semi-final before beating Chelsea 2-1 after extra time in the ensuing final. In the following season however, they lost in a penalty shootout to Manchester United in the final.
The Londoners struggled to break down a resilient Blades defence last week before eventually taking the lead through Andros Townsend’s spot kick which might ultimately prove very quite useful when they travel to South Yorkshire.
With both teams well in contention for their respective aims, top four and top six, this represents the best chance for them to win a trophy. Spurs got knocked out of the FA Cup on Saturday against Leicester City as they conceded twice in the final seven minutes while the Blades earned a replay after a 1-1 draw away at fellow third tier side Preston North End.
Sheffield United: Ben Davies returned from injury to play against Preston North End in the FA Cup though it’s likely that Robert Harris starts at left back against Spurs.
John Brayford is cup-tied after signing from Cardiff City while the likes of Jamie Murphy, Chris Basham and Louis Reed could all return having missed the FA Cup match at Deepdale.
Tottenham Hotspur: Nabir Bentaleb is away at the African Cup on Nations with Algeria while Nacer Chadli continues to be absent because of personal reasons.
Sheffield United: 4-2-3-1: Howard; Alcock, McEveley, Kennedy, Harris; Doyle, Reed; Campbell-Ryce, Baxter, Murphy; McNulty
Tottenham Hotspur: 4-2-3-1: Lloris; Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies; Stambouli, Mason; Townsend, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane
Last five meetings (excluding the 1st leg)
02 Mar 1993 Sheffield United 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur Premier League
11 Sep 1993 Sheffield United 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur Premier League
05 Mar 1994 Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Sheffield United Premier League
22 Aug 2006 Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Sheffield United Premier League
10 Feb 2007 Sheffield United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur Premier League
When Spurs won the FA Cup final in 1991 defeating Nottingham Forest 2-1, the losing manager was Nigel Clough, Brian’s father.
Sheffield United have beaten a Premier League opponent 9 times in the FA Cup, more than any other lower league side.
Sheffield United have lost just three of their last 19 matches combined in both the League Cup and FA Cup.
Tottenham Hotspur have won 12 of their last 13 League Cup games against lower division opponents.
A 1-0 win for Sheffield takes it to extra time and penalties if the score doesn’t change. A 2-1, 3-2 etc… win would be advantageous to Spurs who will progress at the end of extra time on away goals.
Spurs were taken to extra time in their last League Cup semi-final appearance by Burnley. Having won the first leg 4-1, they were trailing 3-0 at the end of 90 minutes in the return leg before two goals in the final two minutes of extra time secured a 6-4 aggregate win and prevented them losing on away goals.
Sheffield United: Marc McNulty
The 22-year-old Scottish striker has already netted in wins against Southampton and Queens Park Rangers, and will be looking to add the scalp of another Premier League side when Tottenham Hotspur are in town.
Having moved for a modest sum from Livingston, the number 12 is Sheffield’s top scorer so far with six goals in all competitions. He was excellent in his side’s win over Mauricio Pochettino’s former club as he worked the lines superbly while also netting the winner.
With the League 1 side needing to score at least once to take the tie into extra time, McNutly’s partnership with Jamie Murphy will be of vital importance and Spurs will have to be wary of not underestimating their threat.
Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane
Kane has been one of Spurs’ standout players this season bursting into life towards the end of last year. He was initially only given a few substitute appearances in the Premier League in addition to starts in the Europa League but so prolific has the 21-year-old been that with 18 goals in all competitions so far, he has become the first-choice striker at his club ahead of the misfiring duo of Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor.
Also, he has been offered a £35,000-a-week deal to keeps him at White Hart Lane until 2020, just six months after signing a five-year deal.
Equally adept at playing as the main striker as well as just off the number 9, Kane has scored thrice in three Capital One Cup starts and will be a major threat for Spurs going forward.
With Spurs looking to bounce back from their shock FA Cup exit over the weekend, Sheffield United will find it even tougher to overcome the one goal deficit which they bring into the second leg. The home side however have always given a very good account of themselves whenever pitched against Premier League oppositions in recent times, and this should be no different. Therefore, a draw seems to be likely outcome.