Leicester City (+500) at Tottenham (-162), Draw (+310)
The third round of the 2015-16 FA Cup will see two hot teams clash as Leicester City visits White Hart Lane to face Tottenham this Sunday (Jan. 10 at 11:00 AM Eastern).
Unlike the knock-out phase of most club tournaments, the FA Cup doesn’t feature two-leg, home-and-home series. The winner of Sunday’s game will advance, and the loser will go home. However, if the game ends in a draw, it will be replayed with Leicester as the home team.
Both sides are enjoying great seasons in the Premier League. Leicester are second in the table with 40 points through 20 games (11-7-2); Spurs are fourth on 36 points (9-9-2) and are undefeated in their last four (3-1-0).
But success in the league makes the FA Cup a lower priority and Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri revealed that his team won’t field its strongest roster against Tottenham, saving some legs for upcoming EPL dates
“Of course, the league is our priority,” said the Italian manager to the Leicester Mercury. “I will use a blend of players. … Our mentality doesn’t change. We go there to try to win. A team is all the group.”
Not only do Spurs have the distraction of a successful EPL campaign detracting from their FA Cup focus, but the team is having to deal with a host of transfer rumors, as well. Playmaker Harry Kane is rumored to be on Real Madrid’s radar. But manager Mauricio Pochettino isn’t overly concerned.
“I didn’t see the rumour but it doesn’t surprise me,” Pochettino said to the UK media. “Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in Europe or in the world. It would not surprise me if some big clubs are interested in him but it’s only a rumor. He is not for sale and the good thing is Harry wants to stay with us, this is the most important thing.”
Leicester won the last time these two clubs met in the FA Cup back in the 2014 season. However, Spurs went 1-1-0 against Leicester in EPL action last year. Given that Leicester’s roster is going to, effectively, be the B team, take Spurs to advance.
Pick: Tottenham (-160).
(Photo credit: Whassuo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)
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