The last time out Harry Kane saved Spurs with a late equaliser as Newport County threatened to give their glamorous visitors the blodiest of noses in the FA Cup. Tottenham, battling for the Champions League as well as riding high in the Premier League, will want to show that result was a blip, but the 'Ironsides' will have other ideas as Rochdale await the winners in the fifth round.
Will Pochettino and his men be nursing an FA Cup hangover or celebrating the win? Check out our thoughts as we preview the match, below:
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR V NEWPORT COUNTY
This is what the romance of the FA Cup is all about: League Two strugglers Newport County, reformed just 28 years ago, are battling to stay in the Football league itself, and yet here they are, taking on one of European football’s in-form teams. David v Goliath. Sporting underdog, battling against the odds. The Exiles may feel hard done-by a little as they more than matched Spurs last time out. Will there be a ‘Roy of the Rovers’ moment? Let’s put down the rose-tinted specs for a moment and run the rule over both teams tonight.
Mauricio Pochettino has been accused in the past of not giving the cups his full attention, such are the lofty heights Spurs are aspiring to at the moment, but make no mistake, he wants to win this one! Sure, he’ll need to juggle his squad but surely, with a match against Rochdale in the fifth round awaiting the winners, the Premier League glamour boys won’t slip up again, will they? The Lillywhites were given a rude awakening a Rodney parade when Padraig Arnold’s first-half header stunned the visitors. It took England hitman and PL Golden Boot winner Harry Kane to grab an 82nd-minute equaliser and force a replay, and tonight’s hosts know they cannot afford any complacency this time, as Pochettino explained:
“The team didn't really show they want to go next stage of the FA Cup – that is what has disappointed us… “The theory is to win trophies, and it's easy to talk about that. But I think we missed a massive opportunity to show we really want to win a trophy.”
Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven competitive victories, are unbeaten in their last 11 home games, and come into the game on the back of an exhilarating 2-2 draw with Liverpool at the weekend. They’ll have one eye on Sunday’s North London Derby, but given the manager’s comments and Spurs’ need for silverware, we expect to see a strong side selected by Spurs tonight.
Newport County, fighting to stay in England’s football hierarchy, visit the spiritual home of football, Wembley, with absolutely nothing to lose. The club will earn a projected £750,000, which is a huge amount at the lower levels. However, money aside, the players will experience a night they’ll never forget, and that feeling just can’t be bought. It’ll be eleven v eleven on the night, mano-a-mano, and Newport’s men will be dreaming of another hurrah. The Welsh minnows may be dining at the highest of tables in English football, but they’ll certainly not arrive with an inferiority complex. Will Spurs have the stomach for the fight they’ll bring? As Newport boss Michael Flynn said:
"They've just played United and Liverpool and they've got Arsenal on the weekend, so I'm hoping Mauricio makes a few changes. They should still have enough to turn us over, but you never know - and that's the beauty of the FA Cup. We are dreaming now, because dreams do come true occasionally."
Spurs, as mentioned, will make a few changes from the team that drew with Liverpool at the weekend. Harry Winks could make a start, and Toby Alderwerild may get an outing to build fitness ahead of the NLD and a Champions League clash against Juventus. Lucas Moura is ineligible as he did not join Spurs before the first game at Newport County, though Llorente, Juan Foyth, Michael Vorm, and Kyle Walker-Peters could all feature. Newport County do not have any injuries, but they’ll be without midfielder Sean Rigg, who left the club by mutual consent.
What We Sayin’?
Newport County will come and give this a go, but we can’t see Spurs slipping up this time. Son is on fire, with six goals in Spurs’ last eight home games. The South Korean captain and Asia’s Player of the Year loves the FA Cup too, scoring six goals in las year’s competition. The Exiles would do well to keep him in check! …
- BTTS - No, +2.5 goals | 6/5
- Son 1st GS | 5/2
- Spurs clean sheet | 8/13
- HT/FT - Spurs/Spurs | 3/10
- Our scorecast (4-0) | 13/2
- Son 1st GS, Spurs 4-0 | 18/1
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