CARDS specialist Chris Goodwin (@CGeorgeGamble) picks out his favourite fancies from Wednesday evening's EFL Cup quarter-final showdown between Stoke and Spurs.
Stoke vs Tottenham | Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 17:30 | Sky Sports
Tottenham come into this one off of the back of a miserable week in domestic football. Before the start of last week, Spurs had lost just ONE of their opening 12 games and were sitting high at the top of the table. But losses to Liverpool and Leicester have seen them drop down to sixth and ruing missed opportunities.
At the beginning of the season, Jose Mourinho must’ve looked at the Europa League and the League Cup as his best chance at ending Spurs’ baron spell of trophies. There is no doubt he’ll be seeing this as a great opportunity to get his side into a semi-final and every chance of progressing closer to the target.
Stoke will be hoping they can pull off a shock result and propel themselves into the semi-final for just the second time since 1971-72. They have a high number of absentees to contend with but given they have already beaten EPL sides Wolves and Aston Villa to get here, they have to believe they can take a step further to the final.
- Commit on average 13.4 free kicks per game when playing at home in the Championship this season.
- Receive on average 11.4 fouls per game when playing at home in the championship this season.
- Have seen 2+ cards in just 2/5 of their recent matches.
- In those games, the opposition has seen 2+ cards on 4/5 occasions.
- Have only lost one of their last seven matches and have kept six clean sheets in that time.
- Concede the second-fewest shots per game (8.5) in the Championship when playing at home this season.
- Have the third-fewest shots per game (9.7) in the Championship when playing at home.
- Michael O'Neil has plenty of injury concerns heading into Wednesday's Carabao Cup quarter-final with Stoke and that will limit his ability to rotate.
- Will be without John Obi Mikel, Angus Gunn, Lee Gregory, Sam Clucas, Tyrese Campbell, Joe Allen and Adam Davies.
- Commit on average 11 fouls per game when playing away in the EPL this season.
- Receive on average the second-most fouls per game (12.7) when playing away in the EPL this season.
- Have seen 2+ cards in 2/5 of their most recent games.
- In those games, the opposition has seen 2+ cards on 3/5 occasions.
- Have failed to win in their last THREE games.
- Are averaging 12.3 shots per away game so far in the EPL this season.
- Jose Mourinho is expected to shuffle his pack from the side that lost 2-0 to Leicester at the weekend but key men like Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min could still be involved.
- Giovani Lo Celso is unlikely to feature after coming off injured in defeat to Leicester on Sunday.
- Gareth Bale has endured a hugely underwhelming return to Tottenham so far but will hope to get some minutes under his belt in midweek.
- Matt Doherty was always likely to start this match but will certainly come into the side after Serge Aurier's error at the weekend.
- Will definitely be without Japhet Tanganga and Erik Lamela.
Referee: Darren England
- Has officiated SEVEN games across the EPL and Championship this season, handing out an average of 3.86 yellow cards per game and awarding 25.71 free kicks per game.
- In his last 20 games officiated, he has handed the home side at least a card in 18 of them and 2+ in just EIGHT.
My first pick is a Bet Builder that pays just over evens. I don’t see this being an exciting game in the slightest and I think it’ll be relatively low scoring with few cards in it either. Stoke have a pretty thin squad right now and I think they’ll just want to get through this one unscathed and focus on their season in the Championship.
The Potters have however kept clean sheets in every game they’ve played so far in this competition – the first side to keep a clean sheet from the first round to the quarters since Colchester United did the same in 1974-75. I really like the unders here and I think that’s the play.
My second bet is a bit of a price play and I think there is good value behind it. Stoke are without Tyrese Campbell who has arguably been their player of the season so far. He’s their top goalscorers with SIX to his name but he also leads in the assists department. Even if he was fit I don’t think they’d risk him as the domestic season is far more important to them.
Stoke also without Sam Clucas and Lee Gregory who have chipped in with a couple of goals so far. It’s difficult to see where the goals are going to come from, particularly against a Spurs side who are going to be chomping at the bit to get their season back on track after a disappointing week. At 5/4, I’m more than happy to have a play.
Finally, I’m going with Spurs to win on a -1 Asian Handicap. With so players missing for the hosts and in turn, lack of firepower, I fancy Spurs to show their quality and win this one within the ninety minutes.
On this handicap, we need Spurs to win by TWO clear goals to land the bet. However, if they only win by one then we get our stake back as a void bet. As previously mentioned, Stoke City are missing a number of important players. Yet Spurs, as they have done in the Europa League, can afford to rotate and still have far too much firepower for The Potters.