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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Lucas Moura looks the man to get ball rolling for Spurs

Tottenham have strolled in previous FA Cup home games

Lucas Moura celebrates his goal for Spurs against Rochdale at Spotland
1 of 1

FA Cup fifth-round replay 
BT Sport 2, 7.45pm Wednesday

Rochdale stole the headlines by going toe-to-toe with Tottenham in a 2-2 draw at Spotland ten days ago and manager Keith Hill is demanding another brave performance in the replay at Wembley.

Hill insists Rochdale are not going to the capital for a day out and plans a positive approach to try to unsettle the home side.

However, the markets anticipate a one-sided contest with Spurs odds-on to win by three goals or more.

Tottenham have hosted two lower division teams in the FA Cup this season - winning 3-0 against third-tier AFC Wimbledon and 2-0 against fourth-tier Newport.


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On both occasions Mauricio Pochettino used plenty of fringe players and he plans to ring the changes again, mindful of keeping his star men fresh for Saturday's clash at home to Huddersfield and next Wednesday's Champions League match with Juventus.

Fernando Llorente may start for the fifth successive FA Cup match and will be desperate for a goal, having failed to find the net in any of the previous four.

It is hard to have much confidence in the Spanish striker and the greater goal threat could come from wider positions, where Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura are likely to cause Rochdale problems with their pace and movement.

Son is Tottenham's second-top scorer this season with 11 in all competitions but hasn't netted in his last nine appearances and is under pressure after falling behind Erik Lamela in the pecking order.

Moura appears closer to the first team -  he came on before Son in Sunday's 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace - and might be the better bet to notch first.

The Brazilian scored 19 goals for Paris St-Germain last season and showed a cool head in front of goal when bagging the first of Tottenham's two goals at Rochdale.

Denying space in behind is the best way of stopping Moura but that doesn't seem to be the approach planned by the Dale manager.

Hill has urged his team to resist the temptation to simply soak up Tottenham pressure and has cited the Newport's cautious approach to their Wembley replay as an example he wants his team to avoid.

Newport did try to push up in the first 15 minutes but soon found that their pressing game wasn't effective. 

They still achieved a respectable outcome by keeping a good shape and defending with discipline.

Dale are a better passing side than Newport and may feel they can have success with a different game-plan.

They have a good technical ability in their midfield (Callum Camps in particular has attracted reported interest from Sky Bet Championship clubs) and strikers Ian Henderson and Steve Davies can finish when given the chance.

However, their best chance of winning the tie has passed them by and a gung-ho approach could expose them to the risk of a heavy defeat.

Recommendation
L Moura first scorer
1pt 9-2 Betfair, Betfred, BoyleSports

Bet on this match at Soccerbase.com


Team news
Tottenham
Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) are ruled out.

Rochdale
Scott Wiseman, Billy Knott and Sam Hart cup-tied. Calvin Andrew (Achilles), Niall Canavan (ankle) and Keith Keane (groin) are sidelined. Joe Rafferty missed the 1-0 loss at Wigan and is a doubt.

Key stat
Rochdale have lost eight of their last 12 away matches.


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Rochdale have lost eight of their last 12 away matches
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