Tottenham take on Brentford in Tuesday night's EFL Cup semi-final showdown. Mark O'Haire shares his favourite fancy...
"It’s noticeable how often the Bees’ matches with high-standard Championship outfits have seen Both Teams To Score 1.865/6 land"
Tottenham v Brentford
Tuesday January 5, 20:00
A timely Tottenham triumph
Tottenham returned to winning ways on Saturday with an eye-catching 3-0 home success against newly-promoted Leeds. Spurs' first league victory since 6th December put the North Londoners back into the top-four of the Premier League; Harry Kane opening the scoring with a penalty and Son Heung-min scored his 100th goal for the club before half-time.
Toby Alderweireld's near post header rounded off the scoring at the start of the second half. While Jose Mourinho's side merited their win, Leeds played a part in their own downfall. The visitors streamed forward at every opportunity and carved out chances of their own, but often left themselves exposed and were fortunate not to be more severely punished.
The only negative for Spurs was the stoppage-time dismissal of Matt Doherty for a second booking. Speaking post-match, Mourinho said, "It was very important [to win]. The run of results lately was not good. Look at the table and you have one match less and [you are] not happy with what you see. [With] this three points, you are now happier to look at the screen."
Brentford enjoy weekend off
Brentford enjoyed the weekend off after the Bees' scheduled Championship fixture with Bristol City was postponed over fears of a possible Covid-19 outbreak amongst opposition players. Thomas Frank's team 2-1 victors in their most recent outing against fellow high-flyers Bournemouth last Wednesday, Henrik Dalsgaard and Tariq Fosu grabbing the goals.
Brentford were second-best in the opening exchanges against the Cherries; a combination of David Raya, Pontus Jansson and Ethan Pinnock had to be alert to keep the Bees in contention before they eventually fell behind. However, Frank's charges worked their way back into the clash in a high-quality contest, levelling before the half-time interval.
Chances were less clear-cut after the break, but the tempo remained high throughout as neither side were content to settle for a point. In the end, it was the ingenuity of Bryan Mbeumo that ultimately proved the difference, the forward creating space for his cross for Fosu's winner with some slick footwork that extended Brentford's unbeaten streak to 16.
Tottenham and Brentford are meeting for the first time since 2000 when the duo crossed swords over two legs in this competition. The past six head-to-heads have all taken place in the EFL Cup, whilst Spurs are unbeaten in 10 (W7-D3-L0) match-ups against the Bees since 1948. The hosts have never lost in seven previous home games versus Brentford (W5-D2-L0).
Tottenham 1.528/15 have always progressed to the League Cup final when facing a non-top-flight side at this stage, whilst boss Jose Mourinho has triumphed in 15 of his 17 home matches as manager against lower-level sides (D1 L1). Despite Spurs' middling recent run, the hosts are unbeaten against the bottom-half of the Premier League (W5-D3-L0).
Brentford 7.206/1 are featuring in their first ever League Cup semi-final. However, the Bees have already eliminated four Premier League teams in this season's competition, only the second non-Premier League side to do so in a season. Thomas Frank's team have lost just three times across all competitions this term (W14-D10-L3) and twice since the opening day.
Only six of Tottenham's 16 league tussles this term have featured Over 2.5 Goals 1.705/7 with five of eight home outings also producing fewer than two strikes. Jose Mourinho's men have notched more than two goals only once since mid-October in the Premier League, although the hosts generated 2.88 Expected Goals (xG) against Leeds, a timely boost.
Brentford haven't been involved in regular goal gluts, although it's noticeable how often the Bees' matches with high-standard Championship outfits have seen Both Teams To Score 1.865/6 land. Eight of the visitors' 10 tussles with top-half teams produced BTTS profit, with no second-tier team creating more chances or having more attempts at goal than Brentford.
With Mourinho expected to take this tie seriously in terms of team selection and approach, Spurs should make their extra class tell but I won't rule out an adventurous and capable Brentford side making their mark on proceedings. Therefore, Tottenham to win and Both Teams To Score at 3.1085/40 looks a decent way in to what should be an interesting encounter.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 75.00 pts
Returned: 79.59 pts
P/L: +4.59 pts