EFL Quarter-Finals preview: Stoke City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Wed - 17:30h. GMT; 18:30h. CET) - Team news, lineups

Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping that the EFL Cup provides some brief respite from their worsening Premier League form when they take on Championship side Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Wednesday night.

A place in the semi-finals is up for grabs as Stoke aim to reach the last four for only the second time since 1971-72, while Spurs continue their search for a first trophy since last lifting this one in 2008.

Match preview

It was only a week ago that Tottenham Hotspur were being touted as genuine Premier League title contenders, sitting as they were at the top of the table with a proven winner at the helm.

However, back-to-back defeats against fellow high-flyers Liverpool and Leicester City - coupled with a draw at Crystal Palace before that - have seen Jose Mourinho's side plummet from first to fifth in the space of seven days, serving as a reality check for those who had dared to begin dreaming of a first league title in 60 years.

The drought in this competition is not quite as long, but their 2008 triumph remains their last piece of silverware of any kind and so this match will still hold plenty of importance for Mourinho, who has already lifted the trophy four times as a manager and has progressed from 26 of his 31 League Cup ties in the past.

Only North London rivals Arsenal have appeared at this stage of the competition more often than Spurs, and they could not have hoped for a kinder draw against the lowest-ranked team still in this season's tournament.

Tottenham saw their first-round meeting with Leyton Orient cancelled due to COVID-19 tests and so have only had to overcome one hurdle en route to the quarter-finals - although that was a significant one as they shrugged off an incredibly busy schedule to beat Chelsea on penalties.

Remarkably, Tottenham's last three EFL Cup ties have all gone to a penalty shootout including their exits in the past two seasons at the hands of Chelsea and Colchester United respectively, and they could become only the second side in the competition's history to go to four shootouts in a row - after Leicester from September 2018 to August 2019.

Stoke would probably take a penalty shootout considering the quality at Tottenham's disposal, although they will take heart from the fact that they have already beaten Premier League sides Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa in this season's competition.

Indeed, Stoke have now won each of their last three League Cup ties against teams from a higher division, which is already their best such run in the competition.

The Potters have also overcome Blackpool and Gillingham, keeping clean sheets in all of their matches to become the first side to have begun in the first round and progressed through to the quarters without conceding a single goal since Colchester did the same in 1974-75.

Another clean sheet against Spurs would see them become the first non-Premier League side to keep five on the bounce in this competition since Preston North End from 1997 to 1999, and could also help them to reach the semi-finals as a non-top flight club for the very first time.

Goals at the other end have not exactly been free-flowing in the EFL Cup this season, with three from four games, but it has been a similar story in the Championship recently.

Michael O'Neill's side beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 on Saturday with their only shot on target of the game, keeping a sixth clean sheet in their last seven outings in the process.

The Potters have only scored four goals themselves in that time, although the victory has lifted them up to seventh place with only goal difference now keeping them out of the playoffs.

A goal-fest may be unrealistic on Wednesday then, as was the case in the only previous League Cup meeting between these two sides - a 0-0 stalemate in September 2011 which ended up with Stoke winning 7-6 on penalties.

Spurs have won their last five games against Stoke across all competitions, though, and four of those victories came by a four-goal margin.

Stoke City EFL Cup form: WWWW
Stoke City form (all competitions): WWLDDW

Tottenham Hotspur EFL Cup form: W
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions): DWWDLL

Team News

Mourinho will look to shuffle his pack for this match given the hectic Premier League schedule, but he has plenty of strength in depth to pick from.

Giovani Lo Celso will miss out after limping off at the weekend with a groin problem, while Tanguy Ndombele may not start after being hooked at half time against the Foxes.

Erik Lamela and Japhet Tanganga also remain out, but aside from that Spurs have a clean bill of health.

That means the likes of Gareth Bale, Harry Winks, Carlos Vinicius, Lucas Moura, Matt Doherty, Joe Hart, Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn, Ben Davies and Joe Rodon may be among a raft of changes for the visitors.

Stoke have been rocked by the news that in-form striker Tyrese Campbell will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, while Lee Gregory and Sam Clucas are sidelined until next month at the earliest.

Steven Fletcher led the line at the weekend, but Sam Vokes will be hopeful of a start in this one having scored four goals in his five EFL Cup appearances for Stoke - that after a run of just one goal in 16 appearances in this competition before.

John Obi Mikel should also be in line to return at least as part of the matchday squad, having only narrowly missed out at the weekend.

However, Angus Gunn, Joe Allen and Adam Davies all remain sidelined.

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Bursik; Collins, Chester, Souttar, Fox; Cousins, Mikel; Brown, Powell, McClean; Vokes

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Hart; Doherty, Sanchez, Rodon, Davies; Winks, Hojbjerg; Bale, Alli, Lucas; Vinicius

Source: Sports Mole / Barney Corkhill  


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