Tottenham starts their participation in this year’s version of the FA Cup with a home fixture against League 2 side Cheltenham on Saturday. Harry Redknapp is expected to rest all of our key players coming off a grueling holiday schedule. Center-back Michael Dawson and winger Aaron Lennon will be welcomed back to the side coming off injury and the rest of Redknapp’s selections should consist of first team players who have not seen a great deal of playing time this year. I expect the selections for tomorrow to look something like this:
Conventional wisdom says Spurs should waltz right through into the next round but this match will take a professional effort. Cheltenham are unbeaten in their last nine matches with seven wins and two draws and currently sit second in the League 2 table. I have no doubts that Tottenham will win but this has the potential to be a tough match given the fact most of those in the starting XI have not received much playing time so fra this season and have dodgy match fitness. It is hard to take the pitch flip a switch and play at a high level when a player has spent most of their time riding pine. This is especially true against a well organized team full of confidence such as Cheltenham. Tottenham’s superior talent should eventually take over though but it would not surprise me if Spurs had to turn to their bench in the second half (putting on someone of the likes of Modric or Bale) to ensure a victory much lake last year’s third round game at home versus Charlton.
Prediction: Tottenham 2 – Cheltenham 0