Plymouth Argyle have been drawn against Leyton Orient in the second round of the EFL Cup, with the winner facing Tottenham Hotspur at home in the third round. After defeating Championship side QPR 3-2 in the first round on Saturday, the club must now beat League Two Orient to win a potentially televised tie against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs.
Due to the Coroanvirus pandemic, the first four rounds of the cup will take place by the end of September. The tie against Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road will take place on the 15/16th September. It will be the third time that Argyle have faced the Os in this competition since 2014. Argyle will surely be favourites but Ryan Lowe will know better than to take a win against a lower division side for granted. Argyle fans should not forget when Orient, doomed to relegation from League Two, turned up at Home Park in 2017 and won 3-2, ultimately costing the club the league title.
Should Argyle triumph over Orient in the cup for the second time in two seasons, they will face Spurs at Home Park in the third round which will take place on September 22/23rd. It is a shame that fans will almost certainly be unable to attend this game, though there is a strong chance that neither England captain Harry Kane, or even Jose Mourinho, will be present on the night.
Tottenham’s start to the season is packed, with their second Europa League qualifier against Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria on 17 September, a Premier League match at Southampton three days later on 20 September, then the League Cup fixture most likely on 22nd September. Should they beat Lokomotiv, they will have a third Europa League qualifier in either Romania or North Macedonia on Thursday 24th.
Therefore, any side Spurs may send to Devon or East London would almost certainly be made up of young professionals and frozen-out reserves. Mourinho himself may not even attend, as Jurgen Klopp didn’t for Liverpool’s 5-0 loss at Aston Villa in the EFL Cup in similar circumstances last season.
Yet, this does increase the chances of Argyle reaching the forth round, assuming Spurs play a severely weakened side. Before then is a repeat of 2016, as Argyle must see off Orient to face Premier League opposition, much as they did when knocking Newport out of the FA Cup to win a trip to Anfield. The permutations are similar, though the circumstances very different.