Championship side Fulham ought to fancy their chances of causing an upset when they take on Tottenham Hotspur in the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend (2pm Sunday, live on BBC1).
Mauricio Pochettino’s men, who were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool at Anfield in their last domestic outing, have made it through to this stage of the competition courtesy of victories over Aston Villa in the third round and Wycombe Wanderers in the fourth. They were made to work in the latter of those ties, ultimately running out 4-3 winners after trailing 2-0 and 3-2 at different points in the match. They will certainly not have everything their own way this weekend either.
Tottenham’s principal focus in the final third of the campaign will be on securing a top-four finish. Spurs are, at the time of writing, occupying one of the Champions League places, but the battle between five clubs for three spots behind runaway league leaders Chelsea is fierce. Spurs are also in the knockout stage of the Europa League. That could lead to Pochettino fielding a weakened team when his side make the trip across London to Craven Cottage, even though the former Espanyol and Southampton boss would patently love to win the first piece of silverware of his managerial career.
Fulham beat Cardiff City 2-1 in the third round and thrashed top-flight strugglers Hull City 4-1 in the fourth to reach this stage of the tournament for the first time since the 2010/11 season. That is when they finished eighth in the Premier League under the guidance of current Stoke City boss Mark Hughes.
Of this weekend’s FA Cup matches, this has the highest chance of an upset
Slavisa Jokanovic is the man in charge at Craven Cottage these days, and his side retain an outside chance of finishing in the Championship play-off places this term. The west Londoners are known to be a possession-based, attack-minded outfit. No team in the second tier averages more shots per game, while they are second to only Reading in terms of possession figures. Fulham will look to take the game to their opponents on Sunday.
Spurs will again be without Danny Rose (knee), Erik Lamela (hip), Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Georges-Kevin N’Koudou (knee) for Sunday’s clash. Pochettino handed opportunities to fringe squad members and non-regular starters such as Harry Winks, Vincent Janssen, Michel Vorm, Moussa Sissoko, Josh Onomah, Kevin Wimmer and Cameron Carter-Vickers in the clashes with Aston Villa and Wycombe. He is likely to do the same here, particularly now that European competition has resumed after the winter breaks around the continent.
Fulham will have to soldier on without the services of Ryan Fredericks (suspension), Ragnar Sigurdsson and Tomas Kalas (hip), but Jokanovic has no other selection concerns. The Cottagers have experimented with a 3-4-2-1 formation at times in recent weeks but will probably revert to their more usual 4-2-3-1 for the visit of Tottenham, with Sone Aluko, Lucas Piazon and Tom Cairney the favourites to start in the line of three behind lone central striker Chris Martin (pictured).
This Preview’s Fulham v Tottenham Betting Tips
Of all this weekend’s FA Cup matches, this preview reckons that this game has the highest chance of an upset. The Cottagers are a good side on their day and have home advantage to call upon – they have lost only one of their last 11 games in front of their own supporters. So despite the big disparity between the pair in the FA Cup outright winner betting, this could go the way of the underdog.
Spurs, who will almost certainly name a rotated starting XI, have already shown that they do not possess the same strength in depth as many of their rivals towards the top of the Premier League table. With that in mind, it could be worth putting some money behind a win for the Championship outfit, while another wager worth considering is Martin to find the net at some point. Hence our preview’s betting tips are:
- Fulham to beat Tottenham at a best price of 4/1 with Paddy Power.
- Chris Martin to score anytime at 2/1 with SkyBet or Coral.
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