Tottenham Turn Focus Back to FA Cup with Rochdale Replay
Replays are starting to become a familiar inconvenience for Tottenham Hotspur, but if they keep winning them all the way to Wembley they won’t complain one bit.
Newport County frustrated Tottenham in the fourth round of the FA Cup, with Rochdale now the latest side to put up extremely tough resistance to the Premier League giant.
Spurs looked to be heading to the sixth round at the first time of asking when Harry Kane slotted home an 88th-minute penalty, but Rochdale booked their fans a trip to Wembley when Steven Davies netted in stoppage time.
Like Newport, Rochdale have been given little chance of causing an upset in the replay – and it’s highly likely that the occasion of a game at the national stadium, which is Tottenham’s temporary home, will drain mental and physical energy and leave them exposed to Spurs’ superior talents.
It’s not a case of whether Tottenham will win but by how much they win by. Newport restricted Spurs to two first-half goals, and a similar scenario would be ideal for Pochettino.
Spurs are fighting on three fronts, with a top-four place in the Premier League to secure as well as a Champions League second leg with Juventus looming on the horizon, and Pochettino will want to keep legs as fresh as possible.
Tottenham are as fit as any side in the game, Pochettino’s attention to detail and work ethic in training sees to that, but legs can go towards the end of a hard season and the Argentine manager would ideally like to see his side get out in front early and control the contest from there, as opposed to be being drawn into an arm wrestle by willing but limited opponents.
Pochettino rotated his side for the replay win over Newport and he has confirmed a similar policy will be adopted against Rochdale on Wednesday, so don’t expect Kane to be leading the Tottenham attack.
Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are both confirmed absentees on account of injuries, but Spurs have enough defensive options to cope and the game hands Fernando Llorente a rare chance to start up top.
The Spaniard is second fiddle to Kane, but the cup hands him his opportunity and he’s priced at 3.60 by 188BET to take it by netting the first goal.
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