Double trouble in store

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: December 18 2013, 21:50 GMT

Entering the goalscorer markets could be the way to secure some betting value for Wednesday's Captial One Cup quarter-finals.

Jermain Defoe: Has scored three braces already this season
Jermain Defoe: Has scored three braces already this season

Despite stuttering form, Tottenham and Manchester United both start odds-on for victories in Wednesday night's Capital One Cup semi-finals.

The double pays just over 7/4 but the lack of consistency the pair have shown so far this season means it's not something I want to get involved with.

Instead, I'm looking to an increasingly-popular market for a way to side with the favourites - namely 'to score two or more goals'.

The players I like here are two proven goalscorers, Jermain Defoe and Javier Hernandez, both of whom will be desperate to prove they are worthy of more regular football.

I'll start with Defoe, a player kept out of the Tottenham team by Roberto Soldado for much of the season, certainly in the big games.

However, when given his chance, Defoe has largely taken it. In his 10 starts this season in a variety of competitions, the England international has scored nine goals.

Relevant to this market, he's bagged doubles on three occasions, including against Aston Villa in an earlier round of the League Cup.

Looking at the state of West Ham right now, there's every chance he'll get opportunities to add to his tally in this one.

Since their memorable 3-0 win at White Hart Lane in October, the Hammers have won just two of 10 games, those victims being Championship side Burnley and a woeful Fulham outfit.

Team news suggests Sam Allardyce is ready to make changes with some of his youngsters possibly getting a game.

With his squad ravaged by injury and Kevin Nolan suspended, Allardyce knows that several of his regulars could do with a rest as West Ham look to pull clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

Of course, Spurs also have their problems but Andre Villas-Boas is no longer one of them.

No-one really knows how they will set up under the temporary guidance of Tim Sherwood.

He won't have Michael Dawson or Paulinho available due to suspension, while Sandro was injured during Sunday's humiliation by Liverpool.

However, Spurs' squad has plenty of depth at the moment and the side he puts out will surely look a lot stronger on paper than the one the Hammers name. That's the reason they are around the 8/15 mark.

Defoe seems one of those most likely to be on the teamsheet and at a best of 13/2 to score another double, I'll happily get involved.

Spurs are turning a page in their season and while the media attention is currently focused on them for the wrong reasons, it should be remembered that Villas-Boas' departure has come about basically due to high expectation.

A look at the Premier League table shows Tottenham are actually just eight points off the top and five off a top-four spot - hardly disastrous.

They have also eased into the last 32 of the Europa League and are this game away from a semi-final spot in the League Cup.

Their biggest problem has been losing games spectacularly to teams supposedly their rivals (Manchester City, Liverpool) but I feel that with the added motivation of revenge and impressing a new man at the helm, they will do a job on West Ham with Defoe a likely destroyer-in-chief.

In the night's other tie, Manchester United head to Stoke where the home side's fans will remember Hernandez well as the Mexican has netted five goals in seven appearances against the Potters.

In this competition, 'Chicharito' has been United's go-to-man, starting both ties this season. He's already scored twice against Norwich in this competition, while he also bagged one in the third-round win over Liverpool.

The team news for this one takes a similar path to the Spurs game - both sides are likely to make changes. The question is which is better equipped to shuffle the pack?

United are used to the rotation - it happens week in, week out at Old Trafford - and they have shown they can cope with it, albeit this season probably isn't the greatest example.

They've had plenty of success against Stoke in the past and the good news for the suggested bet is that in nine of the 11 games these two have played since the Potters returned to the top flight have seen United score at least twice. One of those came earlier this season.

If they do so again, Hernandez looks a prime candidate to score and the chance of him doing so twice is considered to be 15/2 which seems fair.

Hernandez is, however, nursing a head injury, so it's worth noting there's a chance he won't play. If he doesn't you will, of course, get your stake refunded.

  • The Stoke v Manchester United tie is being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports.

  • Posted at 1820 GMT on 17/12/2013.

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