LEYTON ORIENT entertain near neighbours Tottenham in the EFL Cup 3rd Round on Tuesday night. Tom Griffin (@_journotom) shares his analysis.
Leyton Orient vs Tottenham | Tuesday 22nd September 2020, 18:00 | Sky Sports
The depth of Tottenham’s squad will be tested to its maximum capacity in the embryonic stages of this campaign with Spurs facing the task of juggling three domestic competitions in September alone.
Having beaten Southampton 5-2 in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, they travel to Leyton Orient in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night before their Europa League third-round qualifying tie just two days later.
In many ways, a congested fixture schedule early on in the season is ample preparation for the physical exertions ahead, with Jose Mourinho tasked to carry his squad into the deeper trenches of domestic competition.
Ultimately, the Portuguese has delivered silverware at every club he’s been at and Spurs will expect no different; while an assault on the Premier League title looks to be out of their reach with Man City and Liverpool both showing no signs of slowing up, their best chance of lifting a trophy could be in the Carabao Cup.
Mourinho’s previous record is sought-after – three wins with Chelsea and one with Manchester United suggests the ‘Special One’ became a ‘specialist’ in producing the winning formula in this competition, a formula he’ll be hoping to rediscover with Spurs.
Spurs’ start to the season won’t have impressed Mourinho, however. In their opening day loss to Everton, their midfield lacked any distinct invention and their languished build-up play was comfortably snuffed out by the Toffees backline.
Far from a call for concern, but Spurs certainly reacted to that defeat by announcing the return of Gareth Bale, a move that will inspire those around them to lift their performances while shifting the some of the reliance away from Harry Kane.
Although Spurs reacted off the field by adding further firepower in the shape of Bale, their performance on the pitch against Southampton was certainly a reaction to this news and Heung Min Son shouldered the goalscoring responsibility away from Kane by scoring four goals that were all unusually assisted by him.
Mourinho’s business in the transfer market added depth across the pitch, almost in anticipation of the rigorous workload ahead this season. He furthered his options at full-back with the acquisitions of Sergio Reguilon from Real Madrid and Matt Doherty from Wolves, while box-to-box midfielder Pierre Emile Hojbjerg joined from Southampton.
Mourinho will have one eye on the Europa League qualifier two days later so you wouldn’t be surprised to see a much-changed side to the one that romped past Saints two days prior, with Joe Hart, Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko all expected to feature, should the fixture go ahead.
Uncertainty ahead of cup clash
The tie is under huge uncertainty following an outbreak of COVID at Leyton Orient with a number of first-team players testing positive. Players from both sides are now convinced that Spurs will be handed the win and a passage into the next round should the fixture get cancelled.
Orient advanced into the third round of the competition thanks to an impressive second-half fightback. The O’s were down and out at 2-0, but goals from Louis Dennis, Jobi McAnuff and a 93rd-minute winner from Danny Johnson sealed their passage into the next round.
Orient began their League Two campaign in a similar fashion, edging past Oldham in their opener before drawing to Mansfield. Their performances could be best described as ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ with first-half displays that leave much to be desired, a desire that is normally answered in the second half. In fact, all eight of their goals have come in the last 45, so I know where I’d be hedging my bets here.
Orient are notoriously slow starters but they can ill-afford one of those in this competition, even against a much-changed Spurs side. The likes of Steven Bergwijn, Ryan Sessegnon and Erik Lamela will be looking to impress given the arrival of Gareth Bale and with the fixture pile-up, these players know that putting in an impressive performance will be more rewarding than ever.
Spurs have an abundance of quality in the attacking department, but there are still question marks surrounding their defence and whether it is watertight enough to see out matches where they are put under pressure.
Orient are a significantly weaker opposition to what they are used to, but you can still expect the hosts to exploit Spurs high line with balls over the top. Lee Angol operates on the wing or through the middle so you can expect them to exploit his pace in either position. I’ll have a dabble on Lee Angol to have 2+ offsides at 11/8 (SkyBet), it is also 4/1 for 3+ offsides in the same market.
Although there is an uncertainty towards how both teams will line-up, given both teams starts to the season, plenty of goals could be in the offing. If you couple that with the fact Orient have been made notably weaker by COVID, should the match go ahead, then you expect Spurs to dominate proceedings.
Tottenham were clinical last time out against Southampton, scoring five of their six shots on target with an Expected Goal (xG) output of 2.31, so I think Spurs -2 Handicap is worth a dabble at 5/4 (SkyBet). Spurs to win both halves is also evens.