FA Cup: Fulham v Tottenham Preview


Our English football scribe gives his verdict on Sunday's FA Cup 5th Round FA Cup tie between Fulham and Tottenham.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side travels to London neighbours Fulham in a period of mild reflection. Their defeat to Liverpool all but ended their faint title hopes last weekend, with the Reds thoroughly outplaying a side starting to show signs of fatigue. Slavisa Jokanovic’s Fulham have actually been ascendant of late, with a morale boosting, come-from-behind victory over Forest taking them towards a whisker of the playoff places. The quaint London outfit will feel that they may have it in them to complete the job that Wycombe Wanderers came so desperately close to fulfilling.

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Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur | Sunday 19 February | Craven Cottage | 16:00

To Win (90 Mins)
Fulham 32/10 | Draw 26/10 | Tottenham 15/20

Fulham captain Ryan Fredericks will miss out due to suspension, which will likely see Dennis Odoi start in his place. Fulham will be all too aware of the counterattacking threat posed by Spurs, and will do well not to fall into the trap of feeling too confident against a slightly diminished side. I have to say, I’m encouraged by the players that Jokanovic has at his disposal. Sone Aluko - formerly of Hull - is a midfield battering ram with an eye for goal. He could prove vital in extinguishing those quick Spurs counterattacks. 

Cairney also provides cutting edge from midfield, while Piazon was explosive against Forest. His ability to run and beat players may give them that bit of effervescence needed against top sides. I do hope that he chooses to play him alongside the burly presence of Chris Martin.

I think teams of smaller stature are bound to fail when they try to match systems against the top sides. The old 4-4-2 is a system rarely utilised in the Premier League, so it actually confounds sides when they encounter it - just look at Leicester City last year. I honestly think that this free-flowing Fulham side could go into this game with more confidence than a Spurs side approaching critical mass in terms of fixture congestion.

Tottenham Hotspur
Pochettino has not been shy about the fact that he utilises these domestic cup competitions for rotation. With Rose and Vertonghen still injured, it means that this Spurs side could have a fairly intriguing look to it. Expect Wimmer and Davies to operate on the flanks while Vorm comes into the goals.  Young Carter-Vickers and N’Koudou could also feature.

Young N’Koudou was on the bench against Liverpool and is an exciting prospect for Spurs. Vincent Janssen could also get a rare start. I have to say, I think that he has been quite unfortunate. I don’t know how many times I have seen his explosive left boot draw a fantastic save or hit the woodwork this season.
Son was their hero against Wycombe and he may very well be the most senior player in the attacking areas. Alli, Kane and Eriksson are likely to be rested with European commitments mounting. Son has that ability to turn it on against slightly weaker opposition, so expect him to remain their most tangible threat.

I have to say, this could be a tough one for Spurs. It’s a London derby, and Fulham’s fanatical supporters will do their best to make the field as small and atmosphere as uncomfortable as possible for Spurs.

Verdict: Double Chance - Fulham to Win or Draw 19/20I’m going for a surprise here. I wish I had the heart to go all the way and opt for the Fulham win, but that bench of Spurs will have miracle workers on it: just look at the way that Dele Alli’s introduction ignited their challenge against Wycombe.
Written by Damien Kayat

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