And now, for our next trick
Despite the predictability that money has brought to football its capacity to surprise still remains, cf Liverpool’s Anfield capitulation to Swans & Saints in the past few days and our own, against all current form, near humbling at the Etihad.
Thus with eyebrows still arched, gasps of wonder remaining audible and wisps of smoke lingering on the stage, what better time for the magic of the FA Cup?
Slings and (B)arrows
And if you’re looking for a David, you could do worse than head to White Hart Lane where Goliath faces Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday afternoon. The Chairboys lie 5th in League two so any result other than a Spurs win, would superficially, look to be a shock of major proportions, one that might shake the foundations of the newly emerging edifice behind the Paxton Road end, assuming the reverberations from any tumbles the mighty Bayo Akinfenwa might take haven’t done so already.
This superficial view conveniently ignores a number of factors that make the odds being offered on an upset (Wycombe were 16/1 when I last looked) generous in my opinion. Our visitors are on an unbeaten run that stretches back to Oct 22 (if you don’t include the Football League Trophy), we have injuries enough to make our shallow in terms of quality squad look fragile, our struggles against Villa in the last round were painful to watch, we have a Premier League game at Sunderland on Tuesday and we have a manager who appears to view the cup competitions with disdain.
Without knowing more about the fitness levels at Hotspur Way and the attitude of Pochettino towards this game it’s very difficult to predict our side. We’d like to rest everyone who took a major part in Saturday’s epic at City which leaves Vorm, Davies, Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Winks, Sissoko, Onomah, Nkoudou and Janssen.
Piecing those around Dier and Wanyama (say) with Alli, Son and Eriksen at least on the bench would be a tempting way to proceed but is there enough there to break down a League Two side playing possibly one of the biggest games of their careers in front of four thousand plus glory hunters (attendance at Adams Park on 14th Jan v Yeovil – 3,493)? I’m not sure. We brushed aside Gillingham of League One earlier in the season but then we had Eriksen and Lamela starting.
Big lad up front
Akinfenwa is the poster (or should that be billboard?) boy of the Wycombe lineup, Scott Kashket is their leading scorer however with 14 goals compared to the big man’s 10. I don’t recognise any of the rest of their possible lineups – which says more about me than them I’m sure.
Despite my cautionary words, we should of course win through to the fifth round. As usual in these games, an early goal would really help proceedings as the longer they keep us out, the more confident etc they’ll become of taking us back to Bucks.
Roger East is the ref. He started the season in charge of Premier League games but has done one since November weirdly. Hm.
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