Tottenham Hotspur hosts fellow English Premier League club Bolton Wanderers on March 17th at White Hart Lane in London for an FA Cup sixth round showdown. Spurs are slowly seeing their season slip away after losing three straight league games and are now just a point ahead of Arsenal for third place in the league. Bolton is but did well in the FA Cup last season by making it to the semi-finals where they lost to Stoke. The two teams have meet in league competition earlier this year with Spurs earning a 3-0 win.
Spurs haven’t won a league game in a month and realize the FA Cup could suddenly be their only shot at glory this year if they’ aren’t able to finish in the top four and qualify for the European Champions League next season. The problem with Spurs is they always find a way to lose the big games against the league’s top teams such as Manchester City, Manchester United, and Arsenal.
They’ve made it this far in the FA Cup by facing lower-league teams and had to meet Stevenage in a replay in the last round. They’ve beaten Cheltenham Town 3-0, Watford 1-0, and Stevenage 3-1 in the replay after a 0-0 draw away in the first game.
Bolton is just trying to avoid relegation this season, but have performed much better in the FA Cup. Bolton has beaten Macclesfield Town, Millwall, and Swansea in the Cup so far this year and are hoping they can take advantage of a struggling Tottenham team. They managed to beat Queens Park Rangers at home on Saturday and that left them one point ahead of the relegation zone in the league.
Spurs go into this game with just one win, three losses and a draw in their past five games while Bolton has two wins and three losses. Jermain Defoe scored two goals against Stevenage in the replay and managed a goal in Spurs recent 3-1 loss against Man United, but manager Harry Redknapp usually leavers him on the bench at the start of games, preferring to go with Emmanuel Adebayor and Louis Saha. Defoe deserves to start against Bolton, but that will remain to be seen.
Rafael Van der Vaart has also been on the bench a lot lately, but he might start for Spurs since winger Aaron Lennon might miss the game due to an injured hamstring. Nobody knows if defender Ledley King will be playing until game time, so there’s not much point speculating about him. If He can’t play then Ryan Nelsen might get a game. Michael Dawson won’t be playing though since he’s injured and looks to be out for the rest of the season. For Bolton, manager Owen Coyle has left Kevin Davies on the bench for much of the year and that certainly hasn’t gotten him anywhere, so it’s hard to predict if he’ll play or not.
Spurs have beaten Bolton five times in a row at home including an FA Cup tie two years ago. They’ll probably stretch that streak to six consecutive wins on Saturday.
Sportsbook William Hill is showing the latest odds for a Spurs win at 1/3 and a Bolton victory at 11/2 with a draw at 7/2.