Attention turns back to the FA Cup this weekend as Tottenham prepare to host Portsmouth in the third round of the competition.
It’s Spurs’ first taste of the FA Cup this season and could be a welcome distraction from the Premier League, where a tricky run of form ramped up the pressure before a second-half turnaround saw Antonio Conte’s side romp to a surprisingly comfortable 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.
As for Harry Redknapp’s other favourite sons, Portsmouth find themselves down in mid-table obscurity in League One but with the games in hand needed to fire them right back into the play-off competition. They’ve just sacked manager Danny Cowley, so what to expect is a mystery.
Here’s all you need to know about the game.
Tottenham team news
With a north London derby against Arsenal coming up on January 15, Conte may be cautious about selecting his big names, although injuries have limited the extent of the rotation available to him.
Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison and Lucas Moura are all unavailable to fill in in attack, while Rodrigo Bentancur is out with a groin problem.
Yves Bissouma is back from a one-game suspension, however, and should be part of the squad.
Tottenham starting XI (3-5-2): Forster; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Spence, Skipp, Sarr. Bissouma, Sessegnon; Gil, Son.
Portsmouth team news
With no permanent manger in place, Simon Bassey will take charge here, so Spurs will have very few ideas over what to expect tactically.
The visitors will be without Spurs loanee Dane Scarlett for this one and will instead rely on top scorer Colby Bishop up front.
Marlon Pack is suspended and Blackpool’s Owen Dale is cup-tied, while captain Clark Robertson is doubtful because of a hip injury.
Portsmouth starting XI (4-4-2): Griffiths; Swanson, Raggett, Morrison, Ogilvie; Hackett, Morrell, Mingi, Hume; Koroma, Pigott.
The potential for a cup upset will see Conte give his side very strict orders to kill the game off early, but just what performance he’ll get from some of his fringe players remains to be seen. That being said, anyone in Spurs’ first-team squad should be able to come out on top against League One opposition.
It may quietly be a blessing for Spurs that so many of their forwards are out injured because the likes of Bryan Gil and Son Heung-min may be forced to play here, giving them plenty of chances to boost their confidence against opposition who, with all due respect, are obviously inferior.
Pompey will hope that a new manager bounce can inspire an upset, but that dream looks a step too far.
Prediction: Tottenham 3-0 Portsmouth