Tottenham Hotspur continue their journey in the FA Cup on Monday as they face Wycombe Wanderers in the fourth round.
Tottenham Hotspur were handed arguably the easiest draw among the Premier League clubs when they faced non-league side Marine AFC in the FA Cup 3rd round, earlier this month. They secured a comprehensive 5-0 win at Rossett Park, which happened to be one of their four victories in the last five competitive matches – making them one of the most in-form sides in England.
And on Monday, Jose Mourinho’s men are hoping for yet another routine victory when they lock horns with Wycombe Wanderers. The Lilywhites are coming on the back of a 3-1 triumph over Sheffield United in their most recent match, but with the club due to face Liverpool in midweek, things could get tricky for Mourinho in terms of team selection.
Wycombe, on the other hand, have been the worst-performing team in the Championship this season, which is hardly surprising given their status as a newly-promoted outfit. It is, however, fair to point out that they have secured two wins in their last three competitive matches, one of which was a 4-0 triumph over Preston North End in the previous round.
The Chairboys, therefore, are certainly high on confidence as they look to cause one of the biggest upsets in this edition of the FA Cup. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at their chances of doing so in this highly exciting match-up at the Adams Park on Monday.
Team News & Tactics
Adams Park in the snow.
— Wycombe Wanderers (@wwfcofficial) January 24, 2021
Wycombe Wanderers head coach Gareth Ainsworth has no option but to settle for a natural approach any underdog would take against a club like Tottenham, which is to defend deep and frustrate the opposition. And the onus of doing so will be on the central defensive duo of Josh Knight and Ryan Tafazolli.
The 47-year-old primarily favours a 4-4-2 shape, which means the full-backs in Jack Grimmer and Joe Jacobson should act narrow and assist the central defenders as they look to provide cover for Ryan Allsop in goal.
Wycombe’s second line of press could consist of Curtis Thompson and Denis Adeniran in central midfield, although Ainsworth also has the option of deploying Matt Bloomfield and Dominic Gape. David Wheeler and Fred Onyedinma, meanwhile, could operate out wide, though they are largely expected to provide cover for the full-backs.
And finally, the Wycombe attack should be spearheaded by top goalscorer Scott Kashket, who could be partnered by highly-experienced Adebayo Akinfenwa in the first line of press.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Allsop; Grimmer, Knight, Tafazolli, Jacobson; Wheeler, Thompson, Adeniran, Onyedinma; Akinfenwa, Kashket
In light of the upcoming clash against Liverpool, Mourinho is certain to ring in the changes from the side that faced Sheffield United last weekend. At the same time, the Portuguese tactician could retain some quality in the team, knowing the fact that the FA Cup serves as an ideal opportunity for him to register his first trophy at the club.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 24, 2021
Hence, there is a chance of Toby Alderweireld coming back into the starting eleven and partnering Joe Rodon in central defence. His experience and ability to thread diagonal long passes out from the back could be useful for Spurs in this fixture.
The two full-backs in Matt Doherty and Ben Davies should a play role in penetrating the opposition, though the latter is more likely to operate deeper and aid the two centre-backs. His presence in the backline should also allow Tottenham Hotspur to shift into a back-three, if necessary.
There could be changes in midfield as well, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg making way for Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks to form the double-pivot. Dele Alli, meanwhile, is a slight doubt and may miss out from the starting eleven, which means Tanguy Ndombele might be forced to operate in that number ten slot.
Moving forward, Mourinho is guaranteed to rest the two main attackers in Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane. New signing Carlos Vinicius should naturally return, along with Gareth Bale while Lucas Moura will be hoping for a bit more game-time in the final third, in light of his excellent record in the FA Cup.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Hart; Doherty, Alderweireld, Rodon, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Moura, Ndombele, Bale; Vinicius
- This is just the second competitive meeting between Wycombe and Tottenham, with Spurs winning 4-3 in an FA Cup fourth-round match in 2016/17.
- Tottenham Hotspur have progressed from 20 of their last 21 FA Cup ties against sides from a lower division, losing the other against Leeds United at this stage in 2012/13.
- Wycombe have lost seven of eight their FA Cup ties against top-flight opponents, winning 2-1 at Leicester in 2000/01 en route to the semi-final.
- Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho last faced Wycombe in the semi-final of the 2006/07 League Cup with Chelsea, drawing 1-1 away before winning 4-0 at home en route to winning the trophy.
- Lucas Moura has been involved in nine goals in 11 FA Cup starts, more than any other Spurs player since his debut in the competition in February 2018.
Player to Watch
🤷 The Harry Kane vs Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang comparisons are a bit pointless now, no contest.
🇧🇷 Carlos Vinicius
⏱️ 475 mins played this season
⚽️ 6 goals
🅰️ 3 assists
— TranSPURS (@TranSPURS) January 18, 2021
Gareth Bale, upon his likely return to the team sheet, is guaranteed to attract the attention. But the most important player for Tottenham in this game could be striker Carlos Vinicius.
The Brazilian has been scoring a lot of goals in the cup since joining Tottenham in the summer. He has already netted six goals in 13 competitive matches, two of which came in the last round fixture against Marine AFC. Therefore, he will be heading into this game full of confidence.
From a tactical perspective, Vinicius could cause problems for the Wycombe defence with his unpredictable and rather versatile nature in the final third. He has the tendency to move out wide, which should aid someone like Bale, who does the complete opposite. It will be interesting to see how the Championship side combats this problem on Monday.
Wycombe 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur have looked quite solid in defence this season and given their current run of form, they are unlikely to concede any goals against the bottom club of the Championship. Offensively, however, they have looked quite ineffective when dealing against a deep defensive line, though a lot could depend on how Wycombe execute their plans. We are expecting a hard-fought 2-0 victory for the Lilywhites.