English Premiership

Pochettino faces keeper dilemma

2015-01-29 13:15
Michel Vorm (AFP)

London - Manager Mauricio Pochettino faces a tough decision if goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm are both fit to play for Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley on March 1.

He must decide whether to keep faith with number two Vorm, who has played every minute of the campaign, or give a Wembley spot to Lloris, one of the best keepers in the world and his regular first choice.

Spurs reached the final with a 3-2 aggregate win over third-tier Sheffield United on Wednesday after a late goal from Christian Eriksen gave them a 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane for his second strike of the night.

Spurs looked set for an overall victory after Eriksen put them 2-0 up on aggregate with a sublime 28th minute free-kick, but United stormed back with two goals in two minutes from teenager Che Adams late in the game to lead 2-1 on the night.

Spurs showed class and character to strike back with the decisive goal after 88 minutes, the fourth time this season Eriksen has struck in the dying minutes of a match to give Spurs a positive result.

But Dutchman Vorm had a less than impressive night after Pochettino kept faith in him despite his late error gifting Leicester City a 2-1 win over Spurs in the FA Cup fourth round at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Vorm fumbled an early cross which almost led to a Sheffield United goal although he had little chance of saving either of their goals later on.

Spurs go to Wembley hoping for a repeat of their 2008 League Cup victory over Chelsea when they came from behind to win 2-1, which was also the scoreline when they beat them there in the 1967 FA Cup final.

Chelsea beat Spurs 5-1 in the FA Cup semifinal in 2012 in their last meeting at Wembley, though Spurs won 5-3 at home in their latest match in the Premier League on New Year's Day.

And if Pochettino wants to give his team the best chance of making it three final wins over Chelsea, he might take a leaf out of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's book.

Petr Cech, backup at Chelsea to first choice Thibaut Courtois had played in every domestic cup tie this season until the League Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool when the Belgian started.

Cech was then restored for the FA Cup fourth-round tie against Bradford City last Saturday but after the third tier side sent Chelsea crashing to a humiliating 4-2 defeat, Courtois returned for the second leg against Liverpool.

The Belgian earned praise from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers for ensuring Chelsea's win on Tuesday with a string of superb saves.


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