Tottenham aim to continue their great record against Watford tonight in the fourth round of the FA Cup, boosted by the news that manager Harry Redknapp confirmed he will be in the dugout and pick the side to face the Hornets. Despite his well-documented court case unfolding this week, the Spurs manager has been in daily contact this week with coaches, Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan and kept aware of developments. The news could have been better; Younes Kaboul sat out training on Wednesday, whilst Scott Parker and Gareth Bale pulled out with strains, though all three were likely to be rested for the tie. Bond has also stated that Sandro and William Gallas will not feature.
This will be The Lilywhites first visit to Vicarage Road in the FA Cup, all four previous meetings at White Hart Lane resulting in victory for the home side. Spurs have not lost in their five visits to Watford going back to 1987, the last – three seasons ago – resulting in a 2-1 victory for Tottenham in the Carling Cup. In fact, Spurs hold something of a hoodoo over Watford in cup matches having won all three League/Carling Cup matches between the two sides as well as the FA Cup ties. Overall, Tottenham have a good record against Watford. The teams have met on 24 occasions, Spurs emerging winners on 15 of these compared to Watford’s six and on paper Spurs should increase this sequence, having lost only once in their last 33 FA Cup ties against lower league opposition.
After a good spell earlier in the season Watford’s form has dipped of late, with the 4-2 defeat of Bradford City in the third round of the cup and two wins in the league being their only victories in the last two months. This poor run of form has seen them slip to 18th in the Championship. Despite this, Watford should be looking forward to the visit of Tottenham and will hope to take the Lilywhites scalp. The main threat from the home side will come from striker Marvin Sordell, who has netted 10 times in all competitions this season, while ex-Spur Mark Yeats has provided seven assists. The Hornets will also be buoyed by centre back Adrian Mariappa lining up in defence after turning down a bid from Newcastle United and in goal will be Scott Loach, heavily linked with a move to Spurs a few seasons ago.
The FA Cup ties between the two teams have seen over four goals a tie on average and Watford may believe they can cause an upset in the belief that Redknapp will again use the FA Cup to rotate his starting eleven. Spurs fans may expect almost the same eleven that started against Cheltenham. Jake Livermore may make a positional change and start in midfield with Vedran Corluka coming in at right back, Aaron Lennon making way. The bench may contain more regular starting eleven members than the previous tie with Dean Parrett and Yago Falque since going out on loan. Spurs however, should be too strong for Watford and Jermain Defoe who has scored eight goals in his last 10 FA Cup ties will look to add to his tally.
Possible starting XI: Cudicini, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Rose, Giovani, Livermore, Kranjcar, Pienaar, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe.
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