WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) takes a look at Spurs' second away cup game of the week. Tottenham were knocked out of the FA Cup at this stage last season whilst Fulham have been exceptional at home since the Autumn with goals flowing throughout the side.
Fulham v Tottenham | Sunday 14:00 | BBC One
The Cottagers welcome Tottenham to the banks of the River Thames on Sunday afternoon. It’s the first meeting between these two famous London clubs since Fulham’s relegation from the top-flight in the 2013/14 season.
Fulham are experiencing a revival under Slavisa Jokanovic. A play-off spot is still in reach with the Whites just six points behind Sheffield Wednesday. They’ve won four on the bounce at Craven Cottage in all competitions and only lost one of their last 11 home games in all competitions.
The sole reverse came at the hands of table-toppers Brighton – a game in which they missed a penalty, took the lead and had the lion’s share of possession and chances. It’s fair to say that they are playing with a swagger in front of their own fans.
Goals are flowing through the side, Jokanovic’s men bagging in each of their last 12 home games and putting plenty of sides to the sword. High-flyers Reading and Huddersfield have both suffered 5-0 defeats at the Cottage in that sequence and Hull were rattled 4-1 in the previous round, a game I was fortunate enough to attend.
Fulham are my local club these days and I’ll also be in attendance on Sunday for this 5th Round showdown. The hosts have scored 31 goals through those 12 home games since the beginning of October, an average of 2.58 per-game.
Their Serbian boss certainly seems to have a knack for creating attractive attacking football in the English game.
As for Tottenham, they had another tiring and disappointing midweek in Europe. This one coming in their old enemy the Europa League, away to Belgians Gent. Despite fielding their strongest eleven, they struggled to make any particular impact on the game and left Ghent without even an away goal.
Spurs have now scored just one goal in their last four games. It would appear that Mauricio Pochettino is interested in progressing in the Europa League but he certainly has a few decisions to make on which competition to prioritise.
The Argentine normally fields a second team or at least rests and rotates in Europe but that’s usually ahead of a Premier League weekend. The fact that we are looking at an FA Cup fixture this weekend makes all the difference.
At this exact stage last season, Poch had just recorded a 1-1 draw in Florence in the Europa League. Three days later Spurs faced Crystal Palace at home and played a few lesser lights; Josh Onomah, Michel Vorm, Kevin Wimmer and Nabil Bentaleb. They were knocked out after a 1-0 defeat.
Spring a surprise
All told, Spurs are a little out of sorts. I think this tie means more to Fulham and their home form is too good to ignore. I’ll back them +0.5 on the Asian Handicap line at 97/100 with Bet365, avoid defeat and we have a winner.
I’m also having a punt on Ryan Sessegnon to score anytime. This marauding 16-year-old English wing back is an exceptional talent.
He’s been making some wonderful forward runs, against Hull he was Man of the Match, scored one, assisted one and had another wrongly ruled out for offside. This fixture presents an even better platform to impress and 9/1 with Marathonbet will do me nicely.