Monday, January 7, 2008
Everton and Spurs aim to crash League Cup party
LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Fans of Everton and Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping their teams can buck recent trends by overcoming Chelsea and Arsenal in the League Cup semi-finals, starting with this week's first legs.
Tottenham have not beaten Arsenal in 20 games and lost over
two legs at the same stage of the competition last season while
Everton's record against Chelsea is similarly poor with only one
victory in 22 games in the last 20 years.
Everton were knocked out of the FA Cup by third division
Oldham Athletic 1-0 at home on Saturday while Spurs were held to
a 2-2 home draw by Reading. Chelsea and Arsenal eased through
with wins over Queens Park Rangers and Burnley.
Obviously, then, it should be a repeat of the 2007 final,
when Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1, in this year's final at Wembley
on Feb. 24.
Everton manager David Moyes thinks otherwise, and the fact
that he rested half a dozen leading players against Oldham to
keep them fresh for Tuesday's trip to Stamford Bridge (2000 GMT)
shows he has got the whiff of a trophy in his nostrils for the
first time in his tenure at Goodison.
'I've been here nearly six years and I don't want to pass
through this place without being able to touch photographs of
our team on the walls, because we've not done anything. I want
to try and do something,' he told the Sunday Times.
'Apart from Middlesbrough (League Cup in 2004) nobody
outside the big four has won a cup competition in I don't know
how long...For a lot of reasons we want to do it.'
Everton have never won the League Cup and only appeared in
the final twice, in 1977 and 1984.
Moyes said Chelsea represent a tough draw as they take the
League Cup seriously but added: 'It's a tie where we have to
show that maybe at Everton we need to win the cup more than they
Tottenham fans are still rueing their chance to gatecrash
the party 12 months ago when they led Arsenal 2-0 after an hour
of the first leg at home but drew 2-2 then lost the second leg
3-1 after extra time.
This year the first leg is at the Emirates on Wednesday
(2000 GMT) where Arsene Wenger's usual policy of fielding his
reserves might need a tweak as most of them were on duty against
Burnley on Sunday while the African Nations Cup exodus further
limits the manager's options.