Tottenham’s limp exit from the Europa League in Florence was a textbook tap out from a team with other things on their mind.
Fate had decreed they travel to Italy just four days before facing Chelsea at Wembley in the Capital One Cup and Mauricio Pochettino rested several of his first XI for the tie.
Seven of the players that had been in from the off in the scarcely deserved 2-2 draw with West Ham the previous weekend were scratched from starting line-up.
For the record the ‘rested’ players were Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend, Mousa Dembele and Harry Kane.
Such wholesale changes seem far from coincidental with a cup final days away and the septet in question will be hopeful of returning to the side for the clash with Chelsea.
Yet at least one of them is set to be disappointed according to the bwin odds moguls, who go 73/100 about over 4.5 players that started against Fiorentina making Pochettino’s XI for Sunday’s silverware showdown.
If the side the Argentine picked for the 5-3 win over Chelsea is anything to go by then even more of the ‘rested’ men may miss out.
The XI that began the game in Florence on Thursday night bore more than a passing resemblance to that which commenced matters in the shock New Year’s Day victory over the Blues.
Hugo Lloris, Federico Fazio, Jan Vertonghen, Nabil Bentaleb, Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli all started in both the victory over Chelsea and the supposed alternative selection against La Viola.
It’s difficult to imagine any of them being bounced for the Capital One Cup decider, with all bar Nacer Chadli fairly settled first teamers for the Lilywhites.
However, Chadli’s special relationship with Harry Kane should seem him get the nod after the England striker in waiting decimated the Blues in January.
The Belgian is Spurs’ joint leading Premier League assister with five, four of which set up Kane strikes.
Tottenham are 47/20 to lift the Capital One Cup – sign up for a new account to claim a £30 free bet that cops a £70.50 profit if they do the business.