Tottenham have had a disappointing couple of weeks after being knocked out of the Champions League and losing their top scorer, Harry Kane, to injury. Their need to re-focus their aims and the FA Cup will become one of their priorities for the rest of the campaign. They are at the quarter-final stage and face a difficult trip to face Swansea City. The team from South Wales have improved under Carlos Carvalhal and have had a good run in this competition, but their main focus will be avoiding relegation to the Championship.
During their run to this stage, Swansea haven’t made it easy for themselves as they have required replays in every round to date. Given the importance of their league campaign, they will want to avoid another fixture if possible. Their best chance of progression will come on Saturday as they face Tottenham at the Liberty Stadium. They will have their home crowd behind them and that could become a factor, especially if the Swans start the game well.
Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as one of the best coaches in Europe across recent seasons and his star continues to rise as manager of Tottenham. However, there is one criticism that is often thrown at him and that he hasn’t won a major honour. Spurs have continued to improve under his stewardship, but they haven’t won a trophy since 2008 and that is a run that they need to end. They have become mainstays of the top four and winning the FA Cup will take them to the next level. The competition may not be what it once was, but it would be a major step forward for the club if they were to lift the trophy in May.
The home side will have to deal with the absence of Jordan Ayew after he was sent off against Huddersfield Town last weekend. Renato Sanches could potentially be back in the match-day squad after injury, but Wilfried Bony, Leroy Fer and Angel Rangel will all miss out.
Harry Kane won’t be available for the visitors, which means Fernando Llorente will be given an opportunity to impress. Dele Alli and Danny Rose are both doubts after picking up knocks last weekend. Toby Alderweireld continues his recovery and he will be assessed ahead of the trip to Wales, but a start is unlikely.
- Swansea City have won all three of their home FA Cup matches this season, albeit against lower league opposition on every occasion.
- Tottenham have failed to win in both of their away matches in this competition this season.
The South Korean international has emerged as a prominent player under Carlos Carvalhal and he will be important this weekend. A good performance from the midfielder will be required if they are to upset the odds and make it to the next round of the competition. In the last two matches, he has shown that he can thrive in both attack and defence, which will encourage his manager. Against West Ham, he contributed a goal and an assist as the Swans ran rampant at home. In the following match, the team were up against it as Jordan Ayew was sent off early and the players had to dig in to grind out a point. Ki completed eight ball recoveries and made three clearances as he helped his side to an unlikely draw.
Harry Kane’s injury will mean more game time for Fernando Llorente, who has been a spectator for the majority of the season. He will be coming up against his former club on Saturday and he will be hoping to haunt his former employers by getting his name on the score-sheet. The 33-year-old’s only Premier League goal this season came at the Liberty Stadium and it will be a ground that has a lot of good memories for him. Tottenham will be wanting him to give a good display ahead of what is likely to be an extended run in the team for the Spaniard. His experience could prove vital if the game is tight and if he receives good service, he will cause problems for his old side.
This is going to be a fascinating contest as both sides have struggled to win ties at the first attempt in this competition. Tottenham have been poor on the road, with both Newport County and Rochdale causing them problems. If they deliver a similar performance on Saturday, they will be knocked out of the competition. There is less likely to be the rotation from Pochettino as he can now focus on the FA Cup after being knocked out of the Champions League. The visitors should have enough in their ranks to win the game in Wales and qualify for the semi-finals. Once they get to that stage, their first major trophy in ten years will be a real possibility.