Tranmere v Tottenham
Friday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport

Tranmere hard to crack at home

Tranmere have some cup pedigree after reaching the League Cup final in 2000 and making the quarter-finals of this competition in 2001 (lost 4-2 to winners Liverpool) and 2004 (lost to beaten finalists Millwall).
They were the glory years before a 94-year stay in the Football League was ended in 2015. However, they bounced back in 2018 and now sit ninth in League Two with a home record of W8, D4, L1.
That strong record at Prenton Park is further highlighted by the fact that they've conceded just five goals in their 13 games.
To get to round three, they've beaten Oxford and Southport, both times winning replays on the road after scoring draws at home.

Spurs have been devastating on the road

Tottenham have been superb on their travels this season, winning 10 of 12 Premier League games and scoring 28 times in the process (six more than anyone else).
They also went to great rivals Arsenal and won 2-0 to book their place in the League Cup semis while a 1-1 draw at Barcelona secured their passage to the last 16 of the Champions League.
It all means Spurs are attacking silverware on four fronts still although just one would be nice given their lack of it in recent times.
This competition represents an excellent chance and Mauricio Pochettino's men are fifth favourites at 9.00 in the outright market.
But do they have the squad to handle such a congested fixture list? Spurs played eight times in December and this will be their second match in January. It doesn't stop there as Pochettino will also have one eye on Tuesday's League Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea.

Spurs expected to cruise through but history urges caution

Tottenham are predictably short at just 1.24 while Tranmere are 15.00 and The Draw7.20.
On the handicaps, Tottenham (-2) is 2.68 and those who witnessed them burst into a 3-0 lead at Cardiff on New Year's Day may be happy to take it.
What sort of team can we expect Pochettino to roll out?
They've only played Premier League teams (Watford, West Ham and Spurs) in the League Cup so that denies us a few clues although last season's third-round game at home to AFC Wimbledon could provide some pointers.
That day, Spurs went with Vorm, Trippier, Vertonghen, Foyth, Walker-Pieters, Lamela, Wanyama, Sissoko, Dembele, Kane, Llorente.
What we do know is that whatever team they send out usually finds a way.
That's borne out by the stat they they've progressed from 17 of their last 18 FA Cup ties against opponents from a lower league although let's not forget that some of those were after replays.
Last season, Spurs needed a second bite of the cherry at Wembley to get past both Newport and Rochdale after trailing away from home and being held in the original ties.
The memories of those draws should certainly make us wary of lumping on Tottenham at short prices.

Scorer options limited

This could have been a good chance for Erik Lamela to shine but he's sidelined through illness.
It's smart to wait for starting XIs before getting involved although Fernando Llorente looks a likely starter up front. However, he's just 1/2 to find the net so that makes no appeal.
For Tranmere, James Norwood is the obvious play as he's Rovers' top scorer with 18 goals this season. The striker is 11/4 to net although it's a little frustrating for prospective backers that he's managed just one in his last six.
He could easily spring to life though and, looking at the Same Game Multi market, Norwood to score in a Spurs win is interesting at 5.66/1.

BTTS worth a play

Despite the lack of recent goals, Norwood's presence helps me lean towards a bet on Both Teams To Score. The 'Yes' is odds-against at 2.18 while 'No' is 1.75.
Evidence for backing both sides to net? The weakened Tottenham sides conceded at Newport (once) and Rochdale (twice) last season so they could be vulnerable again.
I also think Tranmere's home record deserves respect. This is a step up but a bouncing Friday night atmosphere will definitely spur them on and this could be an uncomfortable eveningfor the visitors.
Alternatively, Spurs get an early lead before a bit of fatigue kicks in and they concede late on as they did three times against Wolves.

Opta stat

Tottenham are unbeaten against Tranmere in eight previous meetings in all competitions (W6 D2), knocking them out of the FA Cup in 1952-53 (9-1 in a replay) and 2001-02 (4-0).
2pts Both teams to Score at 2.18

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