Tottenham Hotspur host Rochdale in their second successive FA Cup replay.
While lacklustre performances against teams significantly below them in the football league food chain may seem frustrating, fans would do well to remember the fact that despite these results, Spurs remain in the competition.
Wigan’s victory over Manchester City a week ago underlines the fickle nature of the FA Cup. A 20-point lead at the top of the Premier League provides no scoreline advantage. Any team, at any stage, is capable of causing upset.
Form does not exist. Only twice this decade has an FA Cup final been contested by two top-6 teams. Tottenham, as the third most successful club in the tournament’s history, understand what it takes to achieve success.
A run to FA Cup glory is a unique proposition.
The 2-2 draw at Rochdale could’ve and should’ve been a win, and once Harry Kane had put Spurs in front you would have expected them to hold on. But importantly, it wasn’t a loss. Tottenham remained in the competition.
Having an additional fixture to play alongside the Champions League and an intense top four battle will present it’s own challenges, but Tottenham’s squad is strong and fit.
Jan Vertonghen will remain on the sidelines in his race to face Juventus, but with Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela coming back to fitness and Lucas Moura getting very quickly up to speed there is no shortage of options available to Pochettino.
This replay should have no impact on the big games coming up for Spurs. With this confident side back at a homely Wembley Stadium and a vast array of options available, they should have enough to advance.
Dier, Sissoko, Dembele, Wanyama, Lamela, Moura, Eriksen, Son, Winks, Dele.
It’s an astounding list, lined with a huge amount of talent. Although they struggled to nail down the result against Rochdale, the quality of this squad will carry confidence into the game.
Being able to mix and match such a strong collection of players makes playing mid-week much less of a problem.
The key element of this fixture will be the performance of Fernando Llorente, if he features at all. Despite starting twice against Newport, and then again against Rochdale, the Spaniard has failed to make an impact. He has left too many pieces for Harry Kane to pick up.
Kane’s form has been immense however. His goals in recent weeks have carried Tottenham through a dangerous period, but the guys behind him need to start taking some responsibility.
Goals from Lamela and Moura are a good start, but Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min, Christian Eriksen need to get their names on the score sheet, especially in fixtures like this one. Such quality needs to have more of an impact.
With Manchester City already gone from this years’ FA Cup, and Tottenham desperate for silverware, staying in the tournament is all that matters. Spurs just need to keep scraping out results.
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