Another Sunday so it must be another home game
And we’ve got one next weekend as well.
It’s the FA cup this time and a real opportunity to get to play at magical historical Wembley in the semi-finals. Yeah right. Should everything go to plan and we make it into Monday’s draw (and there is no replay by the way, it’s straight to extra time and pens if the scores are level after 90 minutes) there are two big downers ahead of us. The other three semi-finalists are likely to be from the Premier League top four, and the remaining games will be played at the FA’s home of football, somewhere we’re very familiar with and somewhere most of us loathe with a passion. Ah well.
Millwall, despite their League One status, have already beaten three Premier League teams and backed by nearly 4,000 fans will be looking forward to trying to make it four. The most familiar name in their lineup (apart from James Brown) is Jordan Archer who came through our youth system. The keeper has missed the last few games with injury however though and is doubtful for this one. Their goals are scored mainly by Lee Gregory (14 in the league), Steve Morison (10) and Aiden O’Brien (also 10).
They deservedly won their games against Bournemouth, Watford & Leicester and so are very capable of lifting their game to a level above their usual weekend standard, having said that, that bar is set quite high at present; they’ve not lost since Dec (17 games) and remarkably the goal they conceded to MK Dons on Saturday was the first in 10 games!! Blimey.
We take them lightly at our peril
It’ll be a surprise if we don’t field a strong side though there are a few players that Pochettino would prefer to rest, Alderweireld and Vertonghen in particular, which may mean a deviation from the preferred three centre back formation that has brought us so much success in the last few months. Trippier will probably come in for Walker and possibly Winks for Wanyama (who took a knock last week) or Dembélé (who’s been carrying an injury all season) as well as Son for Alli or Eriksen. Poch will be tempted by Sissoko, Wimmer and Carter-Vickers additionally.
Much of the focus on this game will be off the field, on the streets and pubs around WHL. The Millwall fans come with a deserved reputation, the police will be looking forward to shipping them back south of the river as soon as they can.
Wembley (booooo!) crooks a beckoning finger
The form of the Lions when added to the occasion and the atmosphere make this game a more formidable challenge than it would appear at first glance. We know that our second string is nowhere near a match for our first thus if we do tinker overmuch with the selection or the formation we may well get our comeuppance. If we treat them with respect and play to a tempo and with agression from the off, we should get through.
Martin Atkinson is the referee.
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