Tottenham face Championship strugglers Wycombe in the FA Cup fourth round on Monday night and Mike Norman believes the Premier League outfit will win with ease...
"...if Wycombe line-up weaker than their usual starting XI against a strong Tottenham side then I can see the away team scoring three or four goals quite easily."
Wycombe v Tottenham
FA Cup 4th Round, Monday 19:45
Live on BT Sport
Championship survival the priority for Wanderers
Championship basement boys Wycombe will go into Monday's FA Cup fourth round tie against Tottenham having not played a fixture for over two weeks due to an outbreak of Covid-19 at the club, and one suspects that progression to the next round is the last thing thing on their mind.
The Chairboys sit rock bottom of the Championship table - seven points adrift of safety - having won just three of their 23 league fixtures this season, scoring an average of just 0.7 goals per game.
Gareth Ainsworth's men had won two of their previous three fixtures - both at Adams Park - prior to their virus outbreak however, including a thumping 4-1 win over Preston in the third round of this competition with a much-changed starting XI.
Without knowing who or how many players have been effected by Covid-19 it's impossible to guess Wycombe's starting line-up to face Spurs, but it's highly likely that Ainsworth will try to keep as many of his first team regulars as fresh as possible for their Championship survival battle ahead, and therefore we should expect to see a weakened starting XI on Monday night.
A nice little break for Spurs
Tottenham will also go into this FA Cup tie having had more than a week's rest - seen as a luxury in this truncated season - though their situation and circumstances are very different to that of Wycombe.
Jose Mourinho has virtually a fully fit squad at his disposal with only Giovani Lo Celso being confirmed as currently on the injury list (Dele Alli could also be absent for another few days), while despite some inconsistent league performances of late Spurs are still firmly in the Premier League title race following last week's 3-1 win over Sheffield United.
The Lilywhites are currently fifth in the table, seven points adrift of Manchester United with a game in hand, and they've also already booked a Carabao Cup final spot, confirming the belief that Mourinho takes domestic cup competitions very seriously.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if Mourinho named a strong line-up to face Wycombe, but with a huge Premier League game against Liverpool to come just three days later it's likely that his star names will at best make the bench.
We should expect to see the likes of Carlos Vinicius - hat-trick hero from the third round - Garth Bale, Harry Winks, Lucas Moura, Toby Alderweireld, and Matt Doherty, all of whom didn't start against the Blades last Sunday, involved at some stage however. Not bad for a 'second-string' side!
A banker away win
It's not very often that I would suggest that a price of 1.282/7 is a good one, but in this instance I genuinely believe it's more than generous for a Tottenham victory.
There's a huge gulf in class between these two sides - almost 40 places in the league ladder - on a normal day, but given that Wycombe are returning from a Covid-19 outbreak it's very likely that a weakened - perhaps physically as well as ability-wise - starting XI will be facing a strong Spurs side at Adams Park on Monday night.
Let's also not hide away from the fact that even at full strength Ainsworth's men have won just two home league games all season, while Spurs are among the highest scorers away from home, and have one of the best away records in the Premier League.
I'm obviously not going to put a 1.282/7 shot up as a tip, but I think there'll be a lot worse similar-price bets during the next few days that you could include in an accumulator.
If you disagree, Wycombe cab be backed at 13.012/1 for the win with the Draw trading at around 7.06/1.
Tottenham victory covered on the handicap
I don't think there's any reason to over-complicate the search for a decent-price wager in this tie, because if Wycombe line-up weaker than their usual starting XI against a strong Tottenham side then I can see the away team scoring three or four goals quite easily.
And it's not as if I'd be fearful that I've done my money if Ainsworth does go in with his strongest team, after all, they're returning from an enforced break and won't have done much training and preparation - if any - ahead of this game.
Tottenham have progressed to the next round of the FA Cup in 20 of their last 21 ties against lower league opposition so we don't even need to worry about a bad trend.
I'm confident that Mourinho's men will run out comfortable winners and therefore I'll back them to cover the -2 goal handicap on the Sportsbook at 13/8.
Moura a more merrier bet than Bale
It's anyone's guess what's happening with Gareth Bale during his loan spell at Tottenham, a wonderful player who should walk into this team if anywhere near his best given Spurs' over-reliance on Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to supply and score goals.
If he's match fit then I don't see any reason why he shouldn't start against Wycombe, so perhaps now is the time for him to shine. The Welshman is 11/10 on the Sportsbook to score at anytime.
Should he start then Lucas Moura would be my idea of a preferred bet however as the Brazilian appears to love the FA Cup. The 28-year-old has been involved in nine goals (five assists, four goals) in 11 FA Cup starts, more than any other Tottenham player since his debut in the competition two years ago.
If you fancy Wanderers to get on the scoresheet then it really is a matter of waiting for team news. Scott Kashket (4/1 to score anytime) is their leading goalscorer this term with just four strikes to his name, but he was left out of the third round win over Preston, pouring more uncertainty on exactly how Wycombe will line up.