After the highs of midweek Tottenham get to take a break from Premier League action this afternoon but it doesn’t mean they can relax too much as they make their first and hopefully not their last appearance in this season’s edition of the F.A. Cup
Today they play host to Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa who will be hoping to pull off a Premier League scalp and advance to the 4th Round of the competition, for Villa the prospect of cup football will be a welcome distraction from their current efforts in The Championship as they currently lie 12th in the table.
The Birmingham side may only be 7 points off the play-offs but consistency is still an issue and they come into this game having failed to win their last two matches in England’s second tier and their New Year got off to the worst possible start having been defeated by Cardiff by a solitary goal.
The same can’t be said for Spurs though as they were the side that finally bought an end to Chelsea’a all conquering Premier League winning streak, a win that sees Mauricio Pochettino’s side move up to 3rd place in the table and reignite their bid to not only finish in the Top 4 but perhaps even challenge for the title again.
It’s fair to say that they have somewhat flown under the radar in the past few weeks but after 5 successive wins including that hard fought victory over Chelsea you would have to reckon that will no longer be the case. A result that has bought a fresh wave of optimism to this Spurs side as we now move into the second half of the season.
But now they will switch their attention to the F.A. Cup as they look to win the competition for the first time since 1991, for a club the size of their stature then the fact they haven’t delivered any major silverware since 2008 is something that will still rankle with many and is something that Pochettino will look to put right come May.
Today some fringe players will probably be afforded the chance to appear from the start, so don’t be too surprised if the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen do not start this Afternoon. You would imagine they will be rewarded with a rest after the two combined with devastating fashion to get the better of Antonio Conte’s men on Wednesday.
This game could be the ideal opportunity for Vincent Janssen to not only get some game time but also get back among the goals to give his confidence a boost. After joining last Summer and having an inconspicuous start to the season it would be helpful if he can be called upon towards the business end of the season.
Villa will no doubt provide a test and should be not treated lightly but even with a fringe side being put out Today you get the feeling that Tottenham will have enough to deal with Steve Bruce’s men. A home win for me as the last thing you want is a replay and the extra game that comes with it.