Both Aston Villa and Tottenham are expected to field much-changed sides for their Capital One Cup third-round tie at Villa Park on Tuesday. The visitors will be playing their third match in just six days and second in just over 48 hours; a schedule that manager Andre Villas-Boas lamented was “putting the players’ careers at risk.”
The fixture pile up comes at a particularly unwanted time for Tottenham, which have injury doubts over Jermain Defoe, Danny Rose, Vlad Chiriches, Younes Kaboul and Nacer Chadli, while Etienne Capoue and Aaron Lennon are ruled out until next month. Still, Tottenham have built a strong squad over the summer to cope with this type of situation. The players should be confident too, following Paulinho’s injury-time winner against Cardiff City on Sunday.
The competition is expected to provide an opportunity for Brad Friedel to get a first start of the season. And the former Aston Villa goalkeeper believes his old club will provide stern opposition.
“They’ve had a tough start to the season but they’ve performed well in all the games I’ve seen, with the exception of Newcastle at home,” he said, according to Tottenham’s official website. “They did well at Norwich, so they will be coming into the game on that high. Brad Guzan has been playing really well.”
Villa also come into the match on the back of a 1-0 victory but with several injury concerns. Star man Christian Benteke picked up a hip injury in the win over Norwich on Saturday, while the likes of Antonio Luna, Fabian Delph and Gabriel Agbonlahor all played through knocks, but are not likely to be risked on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Jores Okore is set to miss the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament injury. Manager Paul Lambert, though, has faith in other members of his squad to rise to the challenge.
“I trust everyone,” he said, according to Aston Villa’s official website. “That's the beauty of it. I trust all of them to perform. If one is injured, someone must come in and step up to the plate.
"Saturday epitomized that. We had injuries before and lads played. We took some off for injuries and the ones who came on did great for us.
"I need everybody. I have always said that,” he added. “You're hoping the lads step up. That's what I am looking for. It's a good chance for some of the lads. But it's important to the club because you want to try and get through. That's important.”
Aston Villa (probable)
D: Lowton, Baker, Vlaar, Bennett
M: Sylla, Bacuna
Albrighton, Weimann, Tonev
D: Naughton, Dawson, Chiriches, Fryers
M: Sandro, Paulinho
Lamela, Holtby, Sigurdsson
Prediction: Tottenham have been forced into a ridiculous situation of having to play two matches in three days. While they can rotate much of the side, injuries mean that it is not realistic to imagine Spurs being at their best against Villa. Fortunately for Villas-Boas, Villa will also be weakened. The loss of Benteke is clearly notable, although recent signing Libor Kozak made a promising goal-scoring appearance at the weekend. This is a match that could well go down to the wire and even into extra time and beyond. Ultimately, though, Tottenham should have the greater match-winning quality to see them through.
Aston Villa 1-2 Tottenham
Where to watch: The League Cup third-round tie will kick-off at 2.45 p.m. ET. A live stream will be provided by beIN Sport Play, with delayed television coverage available on beIN Sport from 5 p.m.