Three Things to Look for in Tottenham at Wycombe in FA Cup

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring November 26, 2020 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring November 26, 2020 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) /

On Monday Tottenham Hotspur travel west to Wycombe for their Fourth Round FA Cup tie in a match between the Wanderers and Spurs. Wycombe are considerably better than Spurs previous Cup competition in Marine FC but their overall play this season make them easy to overlook. Here are three things to keep an eye on in the cup matchup.

Tottenham and Wycombe are both Well Rested

Outside an international break, it is not often during a football season that a team goes an entire week without playing, let alone a couple. For both Tottenham Hotspur and the Wycombe Wanderers, rest has been something familiar of late.

Tottenham has been playing every three or four days since September. However, as different matches have been postponed and rescheduled somehow Spurs scored a break. Literally, Tottenham last played last Sunday against Sheffield United, giving the Lilywhites a full week off.

Unlike the international “breaks” which do afford some time off, none of the Spurs have jetted across the globe for the last week either. With the minutes being accumulated by some of Tottenham’s most important players – Pierre Højbjerg, Harry Kane, and Heung-Min Son – the rest is well timed. Even better, all three could get the day off on Monday, meaning they would be super fresh for Liverpool.

Maybe as important for Tottenham has been the time for training with the coach and the opportunity for some others to hopefully get involved. Hopefully Tottenham are both well rested and heavily rotated on Monday.

If Tottenham is well rest, Wycombe is coming off vacation

While nothing related to Covid is actually a vacation, Wycombe has had an extended break having not played in over a fortnight. Wycombe have only played two matches all of 2021 compared to four to Tottenham. The Wanderers last played in the Third Round of the FA Cup, a resounding 4-1 win over Preston.

With so much time off for Wycombe the question is if the team is rested or rusty. Sometimes when a team has a lot of time off, they come back rip-roaring and ready to go. Other times a long break brings back a sluggish team with a rough touch. Wycombe will want to be ready and Spurs better be.

Can Tottenham Beat the Trap?

Maybe one of the biggest issues this season for Wycombe has been defensively, where they have given up 35 goals, nearly 1.5 per game. While the Wanderers have not been great against set pieces conceding 7 goals in that fashion, they have really struggled defending in open play. Wycombe have conceded 21 – or 60% of there goals this season from open play and many of those as a result of running an offside trap.

When a team is well drilled and disciplined and offside trap can be a very effective weapon. Catch the strikers a few times early offside and suddenly, those longer balls over the top start to disappear. Not to mention the balance and spacing horizontally across the field that comes with the trap. However, even really good teams can be beaten if they play a trap.

Spurs have seen an offside trap before

The one match that really stands out this season where the opposition tried to play an offside trap against Spurs was Southampton. While the trap worked several times and the Saints did manage to score twice on Tottenham, it was also a day where Spurs scored six. If the timing can get right, Tottenham have a chance to run wild against an offside trap. As such this may be an opportunity for some players to get right.

Can Tottenham Avoid the Trap?

The offside trap is one thing because it is physical the “trap game” is something else. This Wycombe match is another thing entirely and means Spurs must get their mentality right. The FA Cup is magic right? Well part of that magic is upsets. Crawley Town did topple Leeds in the Third Round and Cheltenham Town forced City to put some more starters on to comeback and win.

At this point there have not been any fourth round upsets. This means there is an extra bit of pressure on Spurs to not drop the ball here and become the magical moment for Wycombe. Given the Wanderers gave a Pochettino managed side all they can handle a couple years ago, they certainly fancy themselves a chance.

Within the broader context Wycombe are last in the Championship and have played rather poorly most of the season. Tottenham also have a HUGE match-up on Thursday with Liverpool coming to town and may already have another eye on a revenge game with Everton in the Fifth round of the FA Cup.

All this is to say it could be very easy for Tottenham to overlook Wycombe.

If Tottenham does look past Wycombe they may be in for trouble. The Wanderers are not great, but they do average 10 shots per match and more importantly they average three shots per game on-target. These are likely to be long range efforts and we have seen Joe Hart struggle with such shots this season.

If Tottenham do not take Wycombe seriously, regardless who is on the pitch, Spurs will be in trouble. However, if the Lilywhites come out and play their game and are aggressive from the off, they should cruise. It is all about avoiding one trap and beating another, because both teams should be rested and ready.

What to Expect from Wycombe. dark. Next