Up for the cup?
It’s the first week of January which can only mean one thing, the start of a discussion about how seriously we should take the FA Cup. I think we know Pochettino well enough now to know that the answer to the question is going to be ‘pretty, but not totally, seriously’. In a season, or at least during the period of a season, where we feel we can beat anyone, to not treat the competition with respect would be very wrong but there are enough players that Poch trusts to do a job that he’ll, certainly in the early rounds, feel that there’s no need to put the A team out from the first whistle.
Déjà vu all over again. Nearly.
Last season we lost to Leicester at home in the fourth round. We fielded a weakened side that took the lead with a Townsend penalty. The Foxes were stronger and played with the sort of laissez faire gung ho spirit that saw them do so well at the end of last season and in this one so far of course. Ulloa equalised before Vorm decided that he didn’t fancy a replay and let a tame header from Schlupp bounce over his orange prone diving body.
Vorm had kept us in the game in the first half with some outstanding saves but he took the blame for the loss and has never really recovered. Given that we have a league game next Wednesday (also against Leicester of course) it’s very possible that Michel will be given the chance to exorcise a few ghosts.
Some guesswork allows for a decent stab at some of the players who will start for us on Sunday. Vorm, Trippier, Rose, Wimmer, Chadli, Bentaleb, Son, Onomah maybe? That leaves a centre half (hopefully not Fazio, I can’t imagine that he’s particularly interested), a defensive midfielder, Dier or Carroll, and someone to join in the fun up front. Lamela probably. Kane, Eriksen, Alli should be on the bench and it’d be nice to see Carter-Vickers or Winks also in case things go surprisingly well on the field and they can be given a chance.
With only one win out of four over Christmas, Leicester have stuttered for the first time this season. They’ve also got a couple of injuries – Vardy is out having had an op for instance – thus I suspect they will also be saving some of their first teamers for Wednesday. After four tough battles with them in the past 18 months we should be aware that we’re in for a fight even so. Their team is full of tigerish and speedy players who certainly won’t be bothered by who they’re up against or where they’re playing.
I think our backup eleven is up to the job though and suspect that we should be ok – we’ll need to take our chances though.
Robert Madley is the referee.
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