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Tottenham v West Ham: Spurs reserves should get the job done at Wembley

Fernando Llorente is likely to lead the line for Spurs
Fernando Llorente is likely to lead the line for Spurs

Jack Lang is expecting both managers to rotate on Wednesday, and fancies the hosts to progress...

"Mauricio Pochettino's side may take some time to get up to speed if squad players and youngsters are given a run-out; they only managed one goal against Barnsley in the last round."

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United
Wednesday, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports Football

League Cup a distraction for Spurs

So much for that Wembley curse, then. A week after they snuck past Bournemouth to record their first league win at their temporary home, Tottenham upped the ante considerably against Liverpool, producing their best performance of the season so far. With Harry Kane rampant and Mauricio Pochettino's tactics perfect, this was a 90-minute showcase of everything that makes this side so special.

Next comes the resumption of their League Cup campaign, which Pochettino has already admitted he views as a distraction. "Tottenham must build a project with the possibility to fight for Champions League or Premier League," he explained in September. "If we are going to try to win Carabao Cup or FA Cup, and forget the Premier League or Champions, it's a big mistake."

That didn't stop them sneaking past Barnsley in the last round - a game for which Pochettino picked a surprisingly strong XI. Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen, Kieran Trippier, Heung-Min Son and Mousa Dembélé all started that one, but with a trip to Old Trafford coming up on Saturday afternoon, it would not be a surprise to see most of the side rotated here.

Bilić feeling the pressure

If Tottenham had a weekend to remember, the story was far bleaker down the road at the Olympic Stadium, where West Ham suffered a horrible defeat to Brighton on Friday night. The Hammers were bereft of confidence in attack and positively suicidal in defence, allowing one of the Premier League's least compelling attacks to score three times.

The Irons remain outside the relegation zone on goal difference, but it cannot have escaped the attention of Slaven Bilić that two of the division's other under-performing sides - Leicester and Everton - have both sacked their managers in the last week. West Ham are reportedly reluctant to open the P45 drawer, but a couple more poor displays and the Croatian may be in trouble.

The Crystal Palace game at the weekend will be his first priority, although it would also be a gamble to make wholesale changes on Wednesday. Premier League survival takes precedence over a League Cup run, but the derby factor should ensure that there is a certain seriousness to their approach here.

Hosts deserved favourites

The chasm in quality between these two sides may have been vast over the last couple of seasons, but West Ham have not been Tottenham's favourite opponents. The Irons have won two of the last four meetings and, taking it back a little further, have more victories than Spurs do from the last 10 games (5-4).

That, though, is the only real motive for hope. Tottenham beat West Ham a month ago in a game far less balanced than the 3-2 scoreline would suggest, and have greater quality, even allowing for rotation. They're understandable 1.511/2 favourites.

Thriller not guaranteed

The September game between the sides produced five goals, but there's reason to be sniffy about a price of 1.564/7 for over 2.5 goals here. Pochettino's side may take some time to get up to speed if squad players and youngsters are given a run-out; they only managed one goal against Barnsley.

West Ham, meanwhile, will be desperate to keep things tight after their Friday nightmare, so we could see Bilić using more circumspect tactics. Under 2.5 goals is an option at 2.526/4, but it's preferable to back Tottenham to win with under 3.5 goals at 7/5 on the Sportsbook.

Rotation could play havoc with goalscorer bets

Those considering the goalscorer markets would probably be wise to await team news before taking the plunge, due to the probability that both managers will shuffle their packs at Wembley. At first glance, the most obvious candidate is Fernando Llorente, who is likely to stand in for Kane and scored against West Ham for Swansea last season. The Spaniard should be available at around 3.9 to open the scoring.

Recommended Bet

Back Tottenham to win and under 3.5 goals at 7/5

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