With a distinct lack of Premier League football this past weekend thanks to the fourth round of the FA Cup taking place, it is only natural to look at that competition to fill in as this week’s “Game of the Week”.
There were some notable upsets – Wigan knocking out West Ham, Notts County forcing a draw against Swansea and, to some degree, West Brom winning 3-2 at Anfield to knock Liverpool out of the tournament in the fourth round for the third season in a row.
The match we are taking a look at here, however, produced arguably the biggest shock of the entire round. Tottenham Hotspur were less than ten minutes away from an early exit from the competition at Rodney Parade, the home of League Two outfit Newport County.
That man did step up again of course – Harry Kane spared Spurs’ blushes on 82 minutes to bring a replay back to Wembley, but Newport did themselves proud throughout. Padraig Amond’s header with just a few minutes remaining of the first half gave Spurs plenty of time to respond, but Mauricio Pochettino’s men left it late.
The Ironsides aren’t having a bad season in the league, sitting ninth in England’s fourth tier at the time of writing, just a single point outside of the playoff places (albeit having played a game more). They haven’t lost in their last seven games in all competitions, and owe much thanks for their position to the goals from Amond and Shawn McCoulsky, who have 10 each this season.
Spurs, meanwhile, didn’t exactly field a weakened side, and Pochettino said afterwards that his team had missed a “huge opportunity” to prove they are in the hunt for a first piece of silverware since the 2008 League Cup.
Son Heung-min could have given himself some momentum ahead of the Premier League’s return next week, but his effort produced a wonderful save from home goalkeeper Joe Day shortly before Kane’s equaliser.
Eric Dier had a shaky start to the game as well, losing possession which almost led to the hosts taking an early lead – Spurs could have been chasing immediately had Frank Nouble’s first-time effort not missed its mark by some distance.
Ultimately this game earmarked some questions to be raised over Spurs’ defence. A back line including the likes of Juan Foyth, Jan Vertonghen, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker-Peters should arguably be cause for comfort rather than concern, but on this day they proved as fallible as they were uninspiring during a poor first half display.
Of course more will be demanded of them when league action gets back underway, and they will likely be better prepared for coming up against the more-oft-covered opposition commonplace in the English top flight. But this game proved that the magic of the FA Cup is still very much alive.
If Spurs’ back four want to continue adding fantasy points to their individual tallies they will need to be much more on their game moving forward – especially in the replay against Newport.
So, why not take a look at revamping your fantasy team and getting going on Euro Fantasy League? The game features players from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Eredivisie and Ligue 1. Assemble your dream team and manage your fantasy squad to glory this season!
If you perhaps aren’t quite as familiar with the more continental leagues, then you are also able to play a Premier League-only version of the game. Fantasy Premier is a version of the EuroFantasyLeague game where you will put together your Premier League dream team and compete against others. Check it out now!