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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Cottagers can make it tricky for Spurs

Visitors look too short at Fulham in FA Cup

It's been a difficult spell for Tottenham
1 of 1

FA Cup fifth round
BBC One, 2pm Sunday

Punters have had their fingers burnt backing Tottenham in recent weeks and Spurs look vulnerable odds-on shots to overcome Fulham in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Craven Cottage.

Mauricio Pochettino's men have won ten on the spin at home - including the Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow at Wembley - but a severe bout of travel sickness is threatening to derail what had been looking a hugely promising season.

It could yet be a great campaign with Spurs third in the Premier League, still in two cup competitions and widely regarded as strong candidates to qualify for next season's Champions League.

However, the swashbuckling performances at White Hart Lane are nowhere to be seen on the road where Tottenham have won just two of their last 14 matches in all competitions.

A draw at Manchester City and defeat at Liverpool are easier to forgive than a goalless game at Sunderland and 1-0 Europa League loss in Gent as on both occasions Tottenham barely created a worthwhile chance despite being odds-on to win.

The defeat to Gent was damaging in more ways than one as Pochettino picked a strong side and will need to do the same for Thursday's second leg to overturn the deficit, while Harry Kane picked up a late knee injury in Belgium to compound the misery. 

With Stoke visiting north London in a key league match next Sunday there is a fixture pile-up heading Tottenham's way and Pochettino is likely to rotate his troops for this FA Cup tie.

The Spurs boss has never seemed totally in love with the competition anyway - Tottenham have suffered home defeats to Leicester and Crystal Palace in the last two years - while Sky Bet League Two side Wycombe led 2-0 and then 3-2 with just minutes remaining in the fourth round before a late comeback from the Premier League outfit.

Sky Bet Championship high-flyers Fulham, a much stronger team than Wycombe, are capable of at least forcing a replay.

Fulham have knocked Middlesbrough and Hull out of domestic cup competitions this season at Craven Cottage and have also beaten Newcastle in front of their own supporters.

Other impressive home results include 5-0 triumphs over Reading and Huddersfield with Slavisa Jokanovic's side clearly packing quite a punch in the final third.

Tom Cairney is running the show in midfield and the key question is whether inconsistent Fulham can hold it together defensively to keep Tottenham at bay.

The likely absence of Kane will help in that regard and so will the return of Chelsea loanee Tomas Kalas to the home rearguard.

Recommendation
Fulham or draw double chance
1pt 19-20 Coral

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Team news
Fulham
Ryan Fredericks is suspended but Tomas Kalas returns. Reserve keeper Marcus Bettinelli will start in place of usual number one David Button.

Tottenham
Danny Rose and Erik Lamela are out and late decisions will be made on Jan Vertonghen and Harry Kane. Spurs are set to rotate their squad and Mauricio Pochettino reverted to a three-man defence in the second half in Belgium on Thursday.

Key stat
Tottenham have kept one clean sheet in their last 11 away matches

Listen to our Postcast on Sunday's FA Cup matches 

Tom Cairney is running the show in midfield and the key question is whether inconsistent Fulham can hold it together defensively to keep Tottenham at bay
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