We’re back to cup action once again as the 1991 winners visit the League One side currently battling to avoid relegation to League Two.
In the last round, The Dale knocked out Championship side Millwall in a replay, whilst Spurs also came out on top via a replay with a win over Newport County.
Thoughts ahead of the game
It’s thought that the “world class” side should stroll through this tie, but lower league sides have proved difficult to play against, especially when they’re the hosts.
Given that the North London side don’t have a mid-week game to commit to for another 2-3 weeks, (having just played one), they should put out a near-full strength side, but it’ll be interesting to see which side Rochdale put out as they’re in a relegation battle.
What sort of preview would this be if I didn’t talk about the surface? In their last FA cup fixture against Millwall, Rochdale’s pitch mirrored a beach, which Mauricio Pochettino criticised, voicing that the pitch “wasn’t a condition to play football”, and a “massive risk” but has since apologised if his comments were taken the wrong way. I could see what he was trying to say, as he was taking a precautious side with player welfare being important.
For Keith Hill’s side, everyone is fit, and ready to go, except for defender Niall Canavan who remains out with a long-term ankle injury.
Mauricio Pochettino says that Lucas Moura starting is a possibility based on assessment (don’t worry, he’s not injured). He went on to add that he’s working very hard, and is happy with the way he’s working.
Fernando Llorente is also in line to play as it’ll be “important for him” to show his quality.
It’s not all good news however as Harry Kane is doubtful. He needs to be assessed having suffered knocks in midweek. Pochettino voices that if he’s not 100 percent, then there’s a little possibility that he will start. Kane will be assessed on Saturday to see if he can play on Sunday.
With both sides having been held to replays in the last round, they’d want to avoid that this time around, especially with the predicaments they’re in. I’d go for a 3-1 win to Tottenham Hotspur, though I’d expect Rochdale not to roll over.
As a neutral, I’m looking forward to this tie. Knowing lower league sides, they will do the best possible to make it difficult for the bigger side.