I’ve often thought that the idea of holding the penalty shootouts before a cup-tie was a good one. The crowd would get the voyeuristic thrills that shootouts provide and one team would know that they would have to go for the win to get through thus ruling out the chance of any cagey or time wasting tactics, from one eleven anyway.
There should be no need for such shenanigans tonight though when we take on Burnley in our FA Cup 3rd round replay as it’s almost guaranteed to be an open game – as much because of the likely quality of the sides on display as the attitude of the players and coaches.
Much as Pochettino will want to win this game, we face Leicester at home if we win, he’ll be very much aware of the busy month we’ve had thus far, the importance of getting a good result against Sunderland on Sunday and of course the imminent League Cup semis against the Blades. That’s why you need a big squad of course, but the subclause of that is that you need a decent big squad.
Kane, Lloris, Vertonghen, Eriksen, Fazio, Chadli – these are the players that I’m sure the manager would love to rest if he had the chance but what with unfitness, ineligibility and lack of form (not Vorm) elsewhere it’s hard to see how he’ll do it and still put out a good enough team to stop a currently keen, confident and vibrant Burnley side. Throw in the possible absence of those involved in transfer machinations and the problem moves from a head scratcher to impossible. At least a few of those mentioned in the first sentence will play.
In Boyd, Vokes, Ings and Barnes they have a lively selection up front, certainly lively enough to give Kaboul, Chiriches, Naughton, Rose, Davies and Dier, or whoever is chosen in the back four plenty to contemplate. In midfield Capoue will be disappointed if he doesn’t start, Lennon, Stambouli and Townsend may join him with Lamela and Soldado giving it a go up front – though there appears to a rumour that Adebayor may make an unlikely appearance.
Whatever the side I expect it will be a good open game and it being White Hart Lane, there’ll be a decent attendance as well and with any luck, the chance to look at a youngster or two (Winks? Onomah? Oduwa?) coming off the bench.
Craig Pawson is down to referee, COYS.
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