Marine against Tottenham is the sort of tie that the FA Cup is all about. Jumpers for goalposts, isn’t it? Kids in parka jackets running onto mudbath pitches from stands so small you can see rows of houses stood behind them. Marvellous.
Not that Jose Mourinho will care about any of that. He will want his Goliath to take David’s catapult and smack him firmly in the face with it.
Meanwhile Marine’s manager Neil Young will send his side after the goldrush of further progression in the cup, hoping they’re rockin’ in the lockdown world at full time. Bayleigh Passant will bring back even more from the off licence than he did after Marine’s second-round win if they achieve the impossible in this match. Get us some crisps please, mate, ta.
Sunday 17:00 – Marine v Tottenham
This is the first match ever between two teams separated by seven divisions in the English football pyramid. It will be hilarious when Jose Mourinho parks the Spurs bus on the Rossett Park pitch. If Spurs are to win the FA Cup this season – and the year ends in a one, which automatically increases their chances – they will have to negotiate six ties in total. Marine have already played seven games in the competition just to reach this point.
The underdogs have been to the third round of the FA Cup once before, bowing out with a 3-1 loss at Crewe in 1993, while the only other example of a team from the eighth tier reaching this stage occurred when Chasetown faced Cardiff in 2008. The Bluebirds won and reached the final that year if you’re looking for omens, Tottenham fans.
But can Marine add Tottenham to the list of their vanquished 2020/21 cup foes which already includes Barnoldswick, Frickley, Runcorn, Nantwich, Chester, Colchester and Havant & Waterlooville? Sounds like they’ve already beaten eight teams, doesn’t it?
Mourinho’s men may have only claimed victory in one of their last six away matches in all competitions, but there’s no way they won’t win this one. The only issue from our perspective is that it’s tricky to find any value in the market. We’ll need to back Spurs to win while scoring plenty of goals to make it dimly worth our while.
While there is an extreme gap between the teams in the league, Marine can take inspiration from decent performances from other non-league clubs against Premier League sides in the last decade or so. In 2011, Crawley Town only lost 1-0 at Old Trafford, but far better was to come – Luton won 1-0 at Norwich in 2013, before Lincoln knocked out Burnley by the same score line at Turf Moor in 2017.
That same year Sutton United, the club who memorably knocked out top-flight Coventry in 1989, only lost 2-0 to Arsenal. That wasn’t bad going considering the Gunners won the cup that year, as they always seem to irrespective of how badly they are otherwise doing.
Tottenham’s last even vaguely comparable domestic cup match ended in defeat to League Two Colchester on penalties following a 0-0 draw in September 2019. However, they were on Merseyside to face Tranmere eight months earlier and won 7-0. With Spurs six up, Mauricio Pochettino brought on Harry Kane, which is tantamount to bullying.
While the visitors seem likely to score a hatful, we can’t rule out the likes of Niall Cummins or Josh Hmami putting their name in lights with a memorable cup goal too. Tottenham have played six away games in cups and Europe this season, and haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of them. There should be goals galore in Crosby on Sunday afternoon.
While it’s impossible to know exactly who Mourinho will select for this match, it seems reasonable to assume that Carlos Vinicius will feature. The former Benfica man has only had 15 minutes of Premier League fame so far, but has started four times in the Europa League.
What’s more, the 25-year-old has done well. In his trio of Tottenham appearances which have lasted for longer than 45 minutes, Vinicius has scored three goals and assisted three more. No more, no less, it’s the magic number. With 18 goals in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season, he certainly has the pedigree to find the net on a regular basis, and he should be able to bag a brace like he did against Ludogorets in November.
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