Massive game. Win this and we all get a day trip to Wembley, with hopefully another one to follow. To be honest I’d rather the semi was played at the Emirates, if only to prove that it isn’t impossible to generate an atmosphere in that stadium, but you should never sniff at the opportunity to watch your team play at the national stadium.
Standing between us and a semi final spot are Fulham. In the three meetings between us and the Cottagers this season, they have failed to score a single goal, while we have only scored two. It all points to a pretty tight game.
This is especially true when you consider the amount of injuries we are currently struggling with. With a full strength side I’d be very confident, but it’s reasonably likely that Harry’s team selection will merely consist of writing down the names of the 11 players we still have fit.
Apparently there is a slight chance that Pavlyuchenko, Bentley and even Huddlestone could be available, but it seems likely that our team will read Gomes, Corluka, Assou-Ekotto, Dawson, Bassong, Palacios, Modric, Kranjcar, Bale, Gudjohnsen and Crouch.
Crouch and Gudjohnsen combined to great effect to give us a second half lead against Stoke, but I’m not convinced that it will prove to be the most potent of partnerships. Neither players has ever been a prolific scorer and with Gudjohnsen prone to dropping deep, Crouch could be left isolated.
Such a partnership would allow Fulham to push high up the pitch, safe in the knowledge that Crouch isn’t likely to outpace anyone. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, it is imperative that Gareth Bale is given plenty of the ball so he can get behind Fulham’s back four.
Roy Hodgson’s team coped with the threat of Bale better than most in the first match and always seemed to have markers doubling up on him. They’re a very well organised team, but often the amount of men they put behind the ball, hampers their attacking threat.
Even with the injuries, I’m expecting us to boss the possession. If we can get an early breakthrough then all should be dandy, but otherwise we could be in for a tense evening.
It’s hard not to come over all Ron Manager when you think about this game. FA Cup quarter final replay. London derby. Under the floodlights at White Hart Lane. Marvelous.
Let’s hope that the match is as much a special occasion as it promises to be. Come on you Spurs!