After failing to beat Championship Middlesbrough away in the first match, Tottenham Hotspur now faced the Teessiders in an FA Cup third-round replay.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
Key Stat: Spurs have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions and have failed to win any of their last four.
Expert Verdict: Middlesbrough gave out-of-form Tottenham a scare in the first match between the two, as Ashley Fletcher gave them the lead. Spurs forced a replay through Lucas Moura, however, and with home advantage it is a good chance for Tottenham to get back to winning ways.
Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko have joined Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies on the injury list, while Tanguy NDombele has been sidelined again. Against Liverpool at the weekend, Jose Mourinho paired Dele Alli and Lucas Moura up front but Erik Lamela could start this game.
Lucas Moura: Scored some notable goals up front for Spurs, and has proved he can cover Kane’s absence before, as well as netting when these teams last met.
Son Heung-Min – Another who has shone in Kane’s absence before, particularly last season, but the South Korean needs to get back to his best form after a frustrating season.
Erik Lamela – Made a difference when he came on against Liverpool and this FA Cup tie could be a big chance for him to prove he has a part to play in this team.
A run of one win in six games has set Spurs back again, with defeat to Liverpool last weekend leaving them eighth in the Premier League table. Since the turn of the year, they have suffered 1-0 defeats to Southampton and Liverpool, either side of their 1-1 draw in this FA Cup tie – Lucas Moura’s equaliser earning a replay.
Defenders:Serge Aurier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Ryan Sessegnon
Midfielders:Giovani Lo Celso, Eric Dier
Attacking Midfielders:Erik Lamela, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura
Forwards:Son Heung Min
Adam Clayton and Tomas dropped to the bench for the draw with Derby in the only changes from the original tie against Spurs, and both could return to the starting line-up this time out.
Ashley Fletcher – His goal against Spurs was his third in consecutive games, and he now has eight for the season to build on.
Patrick Roberts – Failed to make his mark at Norwich, and so has now been sent on loan to Middlesbrough where he will be keen to remind everybody why he was once so highly rated.
Paddy McNair – Stacks of experience at the back, the former Manchester United youngster will lead the defence again.
Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last six matches, winning four in a row across Christmas and New Year and drawing their last two. That includes the original tie in this fixture, when Ashley Fletcher opened the scoring before Spurs hit back, but they twice threw away a lead at the weekend against Derby – Lewis Wing and Paddy McNair scoring in a 2-2 draw.
Expected Line up: 3-4-3
Defenders:Jonny Howson, Paddy McNair, Dael Fry
Midfielders:Diop Spence, Adam Clayton, George Saville, Hayden Coulson
Forwards:Patrick Roberts, Ashley Fletcher, Marcus Tavernier
The 1-1 draw in the original match of this tie – their first meeting, of course, since Middlesbrough’s one-season return to the Premier League in 2016-17 – ended Spurs’ three-match winning streak against Boro. Ashley Fletcher put the hosts in front, but Lucas Moura’s equaliser ensured the game went to a replay.
Tottenham Hotspur avoided a cup upset when these teams last met, but the formbook still shows Middlesbrough to be in better shape than Spurs.
Ashley Fletcher’s goal was cancelled out by Lucas Moura in the North East, but Spurs will need to improve if they are to get past their stubborn opponents.
Nevertheless, the hosts are very much favourites and really needs this win as they look to end their current poor form and get back on track this season.
Without Harry Kane, Lucas will be key from now on – as will the likes of Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli, who are yet to hit their previous heights.
They simply have to start firing against their Championship opponents, however – particularly at home.
Boro blew a lead twice at the weekend as they drew with Derby County – a result which extends their unbeaten streak to six games but will have been frustrating.
It does show their vulnerability too, and Jose Mourinho’s side need to impose themselves on this game in a way in which they failed to do so in the first match.
Spurs have had their warning, but this should see them complete the job at the second time of asking.
Tottenham are huge favourites to win at home to Middlesbrough and can be backed at a best price of 1/4 with Bet365, Ladbrokes and Betway to do just that.
Spurs need to get back among the goals and over 2.5 goals will return 8/13 with Bet365 and Betfair.
Defensively, however, they have let things slip recently and Spurs to win and BTTS is worth a best price of 11/5 with Bet365 and Betway.
Lucas Moura scored Spurs’ goal in the original tie and he is 29/20 with 888sport to score at any time again. Son Heung-Min is favourite at a best price of 6/5 with 888sport.
Tottenham were below their best when these teams met in the original match but they should not be making that same mistake again.