League One side, Rochdale, host Premier League giants, Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday, in the fifth round of the FA Cup 2017/18. Spurs have progressed from 16 of their last 17 FA Cup ties with lower league oppositions, losing only to Leeds United in the fourth round of the competition back in 2012/13.
Rochdale, who compete in the third tier of English football, lost 3-2 against Bristol Rovers last Tuesday, in their previous league game. The loss counts for their second defeat in the league this year. Keith Hill’s men have lost two of their last five games in all competitions, winning two and drawing the other one.
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs are heading into this FA Cup tie on the back of the 2-2 draw against European giants, Juventus, last Tuesday, in the first leg of the Round of 16 in the Champions League.
The lilywhites are unbeaten in their previous 11 games in all competitions. Pochettino’s men have already defeated rivals Arsenal and Manchester United in the league earlier this month.
The home side on Sunday, Rochdale, are currently bottom of the League One table. They have managed just 25 points from 28 games played in the league so far. They have won only five games in the league this season, which is the lowest in the division.
Meanwhile, Tottenham are currently fifth in the Premier League table. The side from North East London, have managed 52 points from 27 matches played in the league. Spurs are just a point behind Chelsea who are at fourth and seven points above Arsenal who are currently sixth.
Rochdale defeated second division side, Millwall, in the fourth round of the competition. Keith Hill’s men survived the challenge of teams like Doncaster Rovers, Slough Town, and Bromley, earlier in the tournament. Last season, they were knocked out of the competition in the fourth round at the hands of Huddersfield Town. Rochdale, who have never reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, have only reached this far in the competition back in the 2002/03 campaign before losing to Wolves.
Tottenham who were knocked out of the competition in the semi-finals last season, are aiming to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 2001-02 campaign. Spurs have not lost to a side in the third-tier or lower in the competition since January 1988, when they lost 1-2 against Port Vale.
This match will be the first competitive meeting of any kind between these two sides. Referee Robert Madley will be in charge of the fixture on Sunday. Steve Child and Edward Smart will be Assistant Referees whereas, Jeremy Simpson will be on fourth official duties.
Players To Watch
Ian Henderson (Rochdale)
Ian Henderson has scored eight goals in the league for Rochdale. The 33-year old scored a brace in the midweek’s loss against Bristol. The Englishman is expected to be a potential threat for the Spurs. He scored twice against Millwall in the fourth round of the competition.
Harry Kane (Spurs)
Kane is one of the hottest strikers in the world at the moment. The Englishman has scored in each of his last three games for Spurs. Kane will be playing in Spotland for the first time since 2012, a ground where he made his professional debut in January 2011.
Rochdale vs Tottenham Lineup ( Possible XI)
Rochdale Possible Lineup (5-3-2)
Defense: Rafferty (RWB), Wiseman (RCB), McNulty (CB), Delaney (LCB), Done (LWB)
Midfield: Camps (RCM), Cannon (CM), Kitching (LCM)
Tottenham Possible Lineup (4-2-3-1)
Defense: Trippier (RB), Alderweireld (RCB), Forsyth (LCB), Rose (LB)
Midfield: Wanyama (CDM), Winks (CDM), Moura (RAM), Lamela (CAM), Sissoko (LAM)
Rochdale vs Tottenham Prediction
Rochdale are struggling at the bottom of the League One while; Spurs are high in the Premier League table. Spurs have been in scintillating form in recent weeks. They are clear favorites to win this game. Our prediction is a 4-1 win for Tottenham Hotspur.