Two days after announcing Andre Villas-Boas was leaving his post as manager by mutual consent, Tottenham are set to face off with West Ham United in the Capital One Cup. The change came after a 5-0 loss to Liverpool over the weekend.
Tim Sherwood takes over on an interim basis. Normally, a club would like to give a new manager a little more time to prepare his squad following a major change. But the poor results paired with the busy schedule between now and the new year forced Spurs' hand.
West Ham enter the match as road underdogs, but the turmoil at White Hart Lane opens the door for an upset. That said, they are coming off a lackluster performance in a scoreless draw with Sunderland and will need a much better outing in order to reach the League Cup semifinals.
The surrounding circumstances should make for an interesting clash. Here's a look at all the key information, followed by a glance at the top storyline and a match prediction.
Where: White Hart Lane in London, England
When: Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 2:45 p.m. ET (7:45 p.m. GMT)
Watch: beIN Sport MAX 4 (Live stream only in U.S.)
Live Stream: beIN Sport Play
Match Odds (To advance; via Sky Bet)
West Ham: +333
Top Storyline: How will Tottenham respond to the managerial change?
The biggest question mark after a club decides to part ways with a manager is how the players react. In most cases, they either see the change as a wake-up call and elevate their form or things fall apart even further, turning the campaign into a total loss.
Tottenham are obviously hoping the former comes true at White Hart Lane. The squad certainly features enough talent, and there's definite potential for massive improvement given the lack of top form during the first half of the season, but only time will tell how Spurs respond.
A string of strong performances starting against West Ham would also help Sherwood's case when it comes to keeping the job on a full-time basis. It's something former Tottenham manager and current QPR boss Harry Redknapp told Andrew Dillon of The Sun should happen.
Tim should get the job permanently and work alongside Les Ferdinand.
Together, they are old-school Spurs and would do a tremendous job.
I brought them both back to the club when I was there because they understand the place.
They are great coaches and don’t forget Tim was captain of Blackburn when they won the Premier League in 1995.
For that to happen, Sherwood must get his star players to perform at an elite level. One area where the improvement must become evident is in the midfield. Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Andros Townsend are among the players who must lead that resurgence.
Going up against a West Ham side that's endured three straight poor results, including the aforementioned home draw with Sunderland gives Tottenham a great chance to get off to a good start under the interim boss.
All it takes is a couple wins to get Spurs moving back in the right direction. It's no guarantee changing managers is going to make that happen, though.
West Ham must attempt to push the pace inside the first 10 minutes. If they are able to score early and eliminate any positive feelings Tottenham have after the managerial switch, the entire outlook for the match will change.
That said, expect an inspired performance from Spurs. The change comes early enough where they still have a chance at a trophy, and the League Cup is one of their best chances. Even if it's not a full-strength squad, they should have enough talent to advance.
Tottenham 2, West Ham 1