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Carling Cup in depth PREVIEW- Can Spurs defy the odds and retain their crown?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BIG MATCH PREVIEW – CARLING CUP FINAL
2009

MANCHESTER UNITED v TOTTENHAM
HOTSPUR

Wembley Stadium – Sunday – K.O. 15:00 – WATCH LIVE
on SKY SPORTS 1

Build-Up:

The 49th League Cup final pits
table-topping Manchester United against defending champions Tottenham Hotspur.
Their seasons could not have been much more contrasting, yet for 90 minutes (and
maybe more) on Sunday the two sides will go toe-to-toe in search of
silverware.

The first major showpiece event of the footballing
season has crept upon us very much unnoticed, yet the game itself promises to
entertain. Sir Alex has promised to rotate with vital Premier League and
Champions League games on the horizon, whereas Harry Redknapp sacrificed UEFA
Cup progression to save his players for this game.

United last won the trophy in 2006 with an emphatic
4-0 win over Wigan, Tottenham are the current holders having defeated Chelsea in
extra time last season. Both sides were caused problems by Championship
opposition in the semi-finals, but this is surely the final all the neutrals
would have desired.

This preview contains vital information and a
sprinkling of light opinion on both finalists; let's hope they give us a final
to remember.

MANCHESTER
UNITED

ROAD TO THE
FINAL:

3rd
Round:

Utd 3 – 1 Middlesbrough Utd
Ronaldo, Giggs,Nani

4th Round:

1 – 0 Queens Park
Rangers
Tevez
(pen)

5th
Round:

Utd 5 – 3 Blackburn Rovers
Tevez (4), Nani


Semi-Final 1st Leg:
Derby County 1 – 0
Utd

Semi-Final
2
nd Leg:

Utd 4 – 2 Derby County

A relatively strong United side just
managed to brush aside their Championship counterparts at Old Trafford in the
second leg. Goals from Nani, O'Shea, Tevez and a late Cristiano Ronaldo penalty
were enough to book the Red Devils' place at Wembley.

RECENT FORM:

Deadly and impenetrable in the Premier
League, Man Utd are now unbeaten in their last 12 matches in all competitions.
They last tasted defeat in the 1st leg of their Carling Cup
Semi-Final against Derby.

LAST FIVE GAMES (all
competitions) WWWWD

 

WHAT THE MANAGER HAS
SAID:

Sir Alex Ferguson on:

SQUAD ROTATION-

"We obviously want to win because the
winning mentality in the club is why we have been successful, but we know what
our priorities are and that will affect the team that I pick on
Sunday."

FORTHCOMING
FIXTURES-

"We have a big game at Newcastle on
Wednesday and the priority for us will always be the Premier League and the
Champions League."

TOTTENHAM-

"The Premier League is the only place
to be and Harry Redknapp is well aware of that judging by the team he picked in
the UEFA Cup on Thursday."

TEAM NEWS:

SQUAD

Foster, Kuszczak, Neville, Fabio,
Gibson, Evans, Vidic, Ferdinand, O'Shea, Evra, Welbeck, Anderson, Carrick,
Fletcher, Park, Scholes, Nani, Ronaldo, Giggs, Tevez, Rooney.

Darron Gibson and Danny Welbeck have
already been informed by their boss that they will start the final after
starring in most rounds. Rafael looked set for a start at right-back, but he has
been ruled out for a month. Meanwhile Wayne Rooney may start in a bid to boost
his match sharpness.

ONE TO WATCH:

CARLOS TEVEZ:

The diminutive Argentine has already
scored six goals in this season's competition including four in one game against
Premier League opposition. His hunger and desire for the ball could cause
Tottenham's defence a lot of trouble.

TOTTENHAM
HOTSPUR

ROAD TO THE
FINAL:

 

3rd
Round:

Newcastle United 1 – 2 Spurs
Pavlyuchenko, O'Hara

4th Round:

Spurs 4 – 2
Liverpool
Pavlyuchenko (2),
Campbell (2)

 

5th
Round:

Watford 1 – 2 Spurs
Pavlyuchenko, Bent


Semi-Final 1
st Leg:

Spurs 4 – 1
Burnley
Dawson, O'Hara,
Pavlyuchenko, Own Goal

Semi-Final
2
nd Leg:

Burnley 3 – 2 Spurs

After demolishing Burnley at White
Hart Lane Spurs suffered from a lapse in concentration, surely thinking they
were already off to Wembley. Three goals from Burnley took the game into extra
time, and Tottenham were heading out on the away goals rule before Pavlyuchenko
and Defoe struck in the last two minutes.

RECENT FORM:

Victory at Hull City on Monday night
was Tottenham's only victory in five games; they have won only two of their last
10 in all competitions. They did hold United to a goalless draw earlier in the
season.

LAST FIVE GAMES (all
competitions) LDLWD


WHAT THE MANAGER HAS
SAID:

Harry Redknapp on:

FIXTURE CONGESTION-

"It's been difficult to enjoy the week
as having so many games we haven't been able to relax, I was going to take them
to Southend to walk them up the pier and have a bowl of jellied eels and ice
cream, but we just haven't had the time."

TOTTENHAM'S CHANCES-

"We've got players who can play
against anyone. Hopefully, playing on a big stage on Sunday will bring best out
of them and we'll get the bit of luck that you always need against the best
teams."

MAN UTD-

"When people asked when Derby won the
first leg of their semi-final if it would be great if they could pull it off, I
said no way. No disrespect but I really wanted to play United in the final. It's
a way for you to test yourself against the best."

TEAM NEWS:

SQUAD

Gomes, Alnwick, Corluka, Assou-Ekotto,
Woodgate, King, Bentley, Jenas, Modric, Zokora, Lennon, Pavlyuchenko, Bent,
O'Hara, Huddlestone, Bale, Dawson, Gunter, Giovani, Taarabt.

Ledley King faces a fitness test to
see if he sharp enough to start whilst Jamie O'Hara has declared himself fit.
Robbie Keane, Wilson Palacios, Carlo Cudicini and Pascal Chimbonda are all
cup-tied and Fraizer Campbell is ineligible to play against his parent
club.

ONE TO WATCH:

ROMAN PAVLYUCHENKO:

The much maligned Russian striker has
scored in each round of the competition this season and will want to keep that
run going on Sunday. He has his off-days, but if he plays to his maximum
potential he can terrorise even the solid Man Utd backline.

 

COLLATED
PREDICTIONS:

Martin Crawford (Football FanCast
Editor): Tottenham Hotspur

MARK BRYANS (Football FanCast
Columnist): Manchester United

GARY PALLISTER (ex-Man Utd):
Manchester United

GARY MABBUTT (ex-Spurs): Tottenham
Hotspur

JOHN BARNES (ex-Liverpool):
Manchester United

TONY CASCARINO (ex-Chelsea):
Manchester United

MARK LAWRENSON (ex-Liverpool):
Manchester United

GRAHAM POLL (ex-referee):
Manchester United

DAN SILVER (Sports Editor, Daily
Mirror): Manchester United

SKYSPORTS.COM (general consensus): Manchester
United

 

 

Article title: Carling Cup in depth PREVIEW- Can Spurs defy the odds and retain their crown?

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