Tottenham will play Manchester United at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals, amid complaints that the venue will give Mauricio Pochettino’s team an unfair edge.
Manchester United fans took to social media to complain to the FA about Wembley giving Spurs a ‘home’ advantage. It’s ironic when you consider that at the start of the season, many people thought the club would struggle to achieve their aims while playing their home matches at the national stadium.
Prior to this season, Tottenham have had a poor record at Wembley over recent years. The new campaign saw the team find it difficult to adapt to life at their temporary home, but over time the wins started to come. Spurs have beaten the likes of Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid at Wembley this season and playing at the stadium on a regular basis has undoubtedly enabled the team to overcome their previous difficulties.
That said, there have been disappointments along the way. After an unbeaten final season at White Hart Lane, Tottenham have lost three times at home this season – to Chelsea, West Ham and Juventus – with two of those losses seeing them eliminated from a cup competition.
Then there have been the frustrating draws with opposition prepared to sit back and make it difficult for Spurs to break them down, as was the case in the matches against Burnley, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham. This might be instructive considering Jose Mourinho’s approach to big games.
In the most recent match between Tottenham and Manchester United in the Premier League, Mourinho picked a surprisingly attacking team and paid the price as the hosts controlled the match at Wembley and won 2-0. It seems unlikely that a manager as naturally cautious as Mourinho will make the same mistake twice.
Mourinho can also be expected to increase the pressure on Spurs by citing the supposed home advantage. The media will lap it up and the issue will be the major talking point in the run up to the game.
In truth, it shouldn’t make too much difference. Don’t forget that Manchester United had won six consecutive matches at Wembley prior to their defeat to Tottenham in January. It promises to be a tight game, with Spurs only the narrow favourites at 2.45 with NetBet UK, just slightly ahead of United at 2.75.
So what’s your verdict? Have Tottenham truly been handed an advantage, or are Manchester United fans making a fuss over nothing?