FA Cup: Tranmere Rovers vs Tottenham preview

Tottenham start their FA Cup campaign with a trip to Birkenhead on Friday evening, when they visit the Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park. The two teams have last met in 2002, that was an FA Cup match as well, and Tottenham won it 4-0. These two sides have rarely met in competitive matches because the Tranmere Rovers have never reached the Premier League, their best ever moment was playing the League Cup final in 2000. There have been eight direct matches between the two sides, the Spurs won six and the other two were draws. The last three direct matches were all won by Tottenham with the same scoreline: 4-0.

League Two side Tranmere Rovers will enjoy one of the best moments of the season on Friday, regardless of the outcome of the game. Hosting Tottenham at Prenton Park will be a joy for the home fans, and the Rovers will surely play with great determination in order to at least get the right to a replay. The Rovers are currently ninth in the League Two table, just three points away from the last playoff place. They have not lost a home match since the end of October, when they were defeated by Manchester City Under 21s in the EFL Trophy. Evan Gumbs is injured for the home side, while Oliver Banks has returned from surgery and will most likely have to settle for a substitute appearance.

Tottenham had a pretty good month of December, even though it started with the 4-2 defeat against Arsenal in the North London Derby. The Spurs recovered with a five-match winning streak in the Premier League, but that ended on December 29 when they were surprisingly beaten 3-1 by Wolves at Wembley Stadium. They did bounce back with a 3-0 victory at Cardiff on New Year's Day, but their busy schedule will surely force manager Mauricio Pochettino to make quite a few changes. Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen, Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen are all injured, while Mousa Dembele, Erik Lamela and Serge Aurier are carrying knocks and will most likely be rested.

Probable line-ups:

Tranmere: Davies - Sutton, McNulty, Ellis - Caprice, Harris, McCullough, Jennings, Ridehalgh - Norwood, Mullin

Tottenham: Gazzaniga - Walker-Peters, Foyth, Alderweireld, Davies - Sissoko, Skipp - Moura, Alli, Son - Llorente

My prediction: Tottenham to win 3-0, you can always expect surprises in the FA Cup but the Spurs should be able to win this one easily.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Tranmere win - 17.00
Draw - 7.50
Tottenham win - 1.20

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