Rochdale travel to London in search of an upset over Tottenham, but the Premier League side will be hoping for home comfort and advance into the FA Cup quarter-finals
Rochdale earned their FA Cup 5th round replay courtesy a fascinating battle at Spotland in the first tie which ended 2-2 against Tottenham. They will be hoping for an upset against the North London giants, but they have the comfort of playing this match at their temporary home, Wembley, where they have been spectacular all season.
Spurs are expected to play a more experienced and robust starting-XI than they played in the first clash, but Rochdale would be wary of the same. The visitors, on the other hand, have experienced playing replay matches earlier too, having already been forced to play Millwall twice in the fourth round which they eventually won 1-0.
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Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will be wary of the damage Rochdale are capable of inflicting as he experienced first hand in the previous tie. Accordingly, Pochettino is expected to name a strong side for the replay, but one that will see a few first-team stars start from the bench, allowing other fringe players to help with the progression.
Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Moussa Dembele and Hugo Lloris are all expected to be rested or start from the bench for this match. They could make way for Harry Winks, Heung-Min Son, Michel Vorm and Lucas Moura to start.
The Belgian defensive pair, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, missed the weekend clash against Crystal Palace through injury and may not be risked for the replay clash. Instead, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth are expected to start as Tottenham’s centre-backs.
Harry Winks will likely come in place of Dembele in midfield with Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura to form the attacking three alongside Alli, all behind Fernando Llorente who is expected to replace Harry Kane in the side.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Aurier, Foyth, Sanchez, Rose; Wanyama, Winks; Moura, Alli, Son; Llorente
Rochdale manager Keith Hill is expected to name the same side that drew 2-2 in the first match at Spotland in the 5th Round. The manager is likely to keep faith in the squad amid concerns about fatigue and tiredness.
Rochdale have their injury concerns too, with Niall Canavan, Keith Keane, Steve Davies and Calvin Andrew all ruled out for the side through respective injuries. But from the last leg against Spurs, Rochdale have no new injuries to contend with for this tie.
On the other hand, Rochdale have Scott Wiseman, Sam Hart, Mihai Dobre and Billy Knot, all ineligible to play this match because they played in the competition earlier this season before their move to the club.
Probable Starting Lineup (5-3-2): Lillis; Rafferty, McGahey, McNulty, Delaney, Done; Cannon, Camps, Kitching; Henderson, Inman
- Rochdale are undefeated in their last six FA Cup matches.
- Tottenham have scored at least 2 goals in eight of their last nine FA Cup games.
- Rochdale visit Wembley for the first time since the 2008 League Two playoff final, which they lost to Stockport.
- Tottenham haven’t reached the quarterfinals of the FA Cup in consecutive seasons since 2000-01.
- Rochdale have never reached the FA Cup Quarterfinals
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Lucas Moura, having completed his move from Paris Saint-Germain in the January window, has not exactly gone on to cement his place among the Spurs’ starters. Instead, he has started games from the bench, and thus far the manager seems to prefer him in a super-sub role.
The Rochdale game represents a rare opportunity for Moura to show his manager his class and talent ahead of a busy schedule involving Premier League and Champions League football. Moura is hoping to replicate his goalscoring form he was in the last season in France.
Most importantly, Moura is aware of a spot in the World cup squad with Brazil is still a possibility and will be looking at as much game time as possible to shine and show his countrymen he is deserving of a place on the plane to Russia in the summer.
Tottenham 3-0 Rochdale
The prediction of a heavy Tottenham win has its own reasons. One being a stronger starting-XI than in the previous clash, second being the game played at Wembley where Tottenham have been imperious this calendar year, as well as the enormous pressure of playing in the stadium itself, would likely be too much for Rochdale to bear.
Spurs, on the other hand, have the quality in their squad to brush Rochdale aside. Although the same Rochdale drew 2-2 against Spurs in the first encounter of this 5th round clash, Mauricio Pochettino will make amends to safely take Spurs into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, with an ambition to win it.