If Peter Crouch is feeling the heat from Roman Pavlyuchenko, he couldnâ€™t have come up with a better response than his brace against Egypt. Scoring for England is one thing though but Harry Redknapp should go for the man whoâ€™s scored five in his last three games for Spurs and has notched up thirteen in thirteen cup matches for the club. Should and will are too different things though. So donâ€™t be surprised to see Crouch starting to give Spurs the option of by-passing the midfield if needs be.
Tottenham 1-0 – 6/1
Tottenham 2-0 – 10/1
Tottenham 2-1 – 15/2
Tottenham 3-0 – 22/1
Tottenham 3-1 – 18/1
Thereâ€™s little doubt that this is going to be a tough game with Tottenham winning only once at Craven Cottage in their last nine attempts. The good news, for those who believe in such omens, is that it came in the form of a 4-0 FA Cup 5th round win. This one will be a lot tighter, barring an exceptionally good or bad performance from either side, with Fulham having one the best home defensive records in the league. Theyâ€™ve also only conceded one goal in the cup so far, though theyâ€™ve played three games against significantly weaker opponents.
Saying that, being the FA Cup, a tight game doesnâ€™t mean a lack of goals. They drew 0-0 when they met in here in the league back in December, but the FA Cup allows a little more freedom to play as well as injecting an urgency which adds to the pace of the game. Both sides have midfielders who like to get the ball down and pass but if Hodgson starts with five in midfield then we could see more direct play from back to front. Bobby Zamora, who continues to push for a place on the plane to South Africa, is a danger in this role and is a very decent price to score in 90 minutes at 11/5. His physical presence could win some crucial free-kicks in dangerous areas, making Danny Murphy worth a look to score in 90 minutes at 4/1.
Jermain Defoe – 11/2
Peter Crouch – 6/1
Roman Pavlyuchenko – 13/2
Luka Modric – 10/1
Niko Kranjcar – 14/1
Gareth Bale – 18/1
For Spurs itâ€™s hard to ignore Pavlyuchenkoâ€™s recent and overall cup scoring record for Spurs and heâ€™s a tasty 13/2 to open the scoring, 9/4 to score in 90 minutes and 17/1 to get two or more. With Defoe looking a little off form against Egypt you may want to avoid him (cue a 4 goal, match-winning performance) , whilst if Crouch starts ahead of him heâ€™ll fancy adding to his England goals. The 2/1 for him to score anytime is still worth a bet if he starts on the bench.
Confidence will be high in both camps and we should be in for an entertaining affair, with both sides trying to play the â€˜rightâ€™ way. If it does end scoreless itâ€™ll have more to do with poor finishing and good goal-keeping than a lack of opportunities. Thereâ€™s profit to be made by backing Spurs to win in 90 minutes at 7/5, though thereâ€™s even more to be made if they win 3-2 at 25/1. Spurs showed against Everton that they have the backbone to win the tight games and their extra attacking options should give them the edge and put them in the quarter-final draw.
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