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Tottenham round-up: FA cup draw; top-four chances talked down; Atlético join chase for Spurs target

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Mauricio Pochettino‘s Tottenham Hotspur learned their FA Cup fate on Monday night, as the draw which followed Chelsea‘s triumph over Manchester United paired the North Londoners with the high-flying Blues. Of course, if Pochettino’s men can overcome Chelsea in their Wembley semi-final, there remains the chance of a North London Derby final, with bitter rivals Arsenal taking part in the other semi-final clash against Manchester City.

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With Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League virtually unassailable, the FA Cup remains Tottenham’s only realistic shot at winning a trophy this season, and winning the tournament would constitute the first tangible achievement at the club since Mauricio Pochettino’s revolution got underway in 2014. In terms of the league clashes between the two sides, both have a win each, with Chelsea coming out on top 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in November, before Spurs avenged that defeat with a 2-0 victory at White Hart Lane back in January, ensuring both have everything to play for in their Wembley semi-final.

Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who was speaking as a BBC Match of the Day pundit after Chelsea’s win, said the following after the draw: “Tottenham have given Chelsea problems this season and it is a London derby too so gives it an edge”.

“They are two very form teams but I think Chelsea are slight favourites as it stands.”

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The ties will be played out on the 22nd and 23rd of April, and the possibility still remains that Spurs will have to overcome the Blues minus their talisman Harry Kane, as the forward awaits the results of a scan on an ankle injury incurred against Millwall.

The loss of Kane will undoubtedly leave Tottenham with not only the task of replacing his goals, but his influence and physical presence up front, and former Arsenal legend Ian Wright has aimed a dig at his old adversaries, writing in his Sun column that Kane’s injury will be detrimental to their top-four prospects.

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Harry Kane’s injury has Tottenham in a battle just to make top four let alone win Premier League title

“For six months they had high hopes of ending the season as champions, but right now I reckon Tottenham have got a battle on their hands to just guarantee a top-four finish”, Wright said.

“That’s how massive the loss of Harry Kane will be to them. That’s how much I believe they will struggle to cope without him.

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“Losing Kane leaves a massive, massive hole in that Tottenham team and it’s opened the door for those breathing down their neck. Manchester City are only behind on goal difference with Liverpool just one point adrift, and the only blessing for Spurs is that those two play each other on Sunday.”

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Amongst the likely candidates to replace Kane in the event of a long-term absence are Son Heung-Min, who has proven his versatility by excelling in the central role this season, and Vincent Janssen, a more traditional Number Nine figure who has struggled for form, but may have turned a corner following his first goal from open play for the club against Millwall over the weekend.

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Spurs hit six past their League One opponents, and despite the gap in quality, it suggests that Pochettino’s men are at least capable of finding the net without the England hit-man, but now will be the time where those waiting in the wings will have to stand-up and be counted. The signing of Janssen was more than likely made with this very scenario in mind, and either he, Son, or perhaps both players, will need to shine if they are to banish the club’s Achilles heel of a lack of depth this season.

This lack of depth is something that Mauricio Pochettino is poised to address in the summer, although he may have a spot of bother according to El Mundo Deportivo, with Atlético Madrid supposedly set to begin pursuing Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi, who is a reported summer transfer target for Spurs.

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The 22-year-old forward has netted 40 goals in 102 appearances for Sassuolo in Serie A, and is thought to be on the radar of Tottenham and Liverpool. Inter Milan are another interested party closer to home according to the report, but previous assertions that Berardi had already agreed to join the Nerazzurri at the end of the season now seem unlikely, with Atléti ready to make a second move for the forward after Sassuolo rebuffed an initial approach last summer.

If Spurs are in the market for the front-man, it can only raise further questions about Vincent Janssen’s future at the club, given that Pochettino prefers to utilise only one lone-striker on the pitch at once. That said, if Kane is to be out of action for more than a couple of weeks, it could render Janssen’s contribution in that time all the more important in deciding where he will be beyond this season.

Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Luigi Pavia.

Scott is a Port Vale fan who writes regularly for The Boot Room as a freelancer. He is a fan of several sports but most of his experience in journalism comes from football and volleyball. He has produced several works on major Championships for both the FIVB and CEV in the volleyball world out in Switzerland, and is currently studying for a BA Hons in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.

English Premier League

It Tottenham Hotspur sign Cedric Soares, Kyle Walker-Peters must move on

If Tottenham Hotspur want Cedric Soares, then Kyle Walker-Peters should force a Tottenham exit.

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It is being reported by The Mirror that Tottenham Hotspur are in the hunt for three Portugal internationals this summer. The report claims that Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins and, finally, Southampton right-back Cedric Soares are all on the radar of Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

The former duo makes sense for Spurs, central midfield and wide areas remain a problem for the club. But Soares seems a waste of time and money.

Undoubtedly the 26-year-old is a great right-back, but the report comes in the same week as ESPN reported Tottenham were ready to offer young full-back Kyle Walker-Peters a new deal at the club.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old has shown glimpses of real talent during his time at Spurs and will soon be hoping to break into the first-team picture. The offer of a new deal would be a major indicator that the England under-20 World Cup winner has a long-term future at the club.

Signing Soares would be a massive barrier to that end goal.

It would leave Spurs having Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier as well as Soares and Walker-Peters.

If the idea is to sell Aurier, who has failed to convince since arriving from PSG in the summer, then Tottenham should not replace him with an expensive new recruit.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Walker-Peters is ready and waiting to go in the first-team and most fans believe he has what it takes to be a star under Pochettino.

Bringing in Soares would seem something of an unnecessary exercise from Tottenham and one which would surely leave Walker-Peters questioning his role at the club.

Tottenham should instead continue with their pursuit of a new deal for their young talent, who can operate on both the right and left side of the defence. If not, the 21-year-old should seriously consider forcing an exit away from Spurs, as it would appear his chance with the first-team is never forthcoming.

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English Premier League

Aston Villa reportedly not keen on keeping Josh Onomah, so what next?

The talented England youth international has had a mixed campaign at Aston Villa and Tottenham have a decision to make.

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Reports this week have confirmed what has long been suspected regarding Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Joshua Onomah. The talented maestro headed to Aston Villa at the start of the season in the hunt for regular first-team football. But next season he will not be at Villa Park, as the club have decided not to make any move to retain him next term – according to the Birmingham Mail.

This is no shock for Aston Villa or Tottenham fans. Onomah has had a difficult season at Villa Park. The 20-year-old has played plenty of football during his spell in the Midlands. Onomah has featured 34 times for Steve Bruce’s side and scored four goals. But his form has been indifferent throughout the campaign. The second-half of the season saw his form drop off dramatically. Since the turn of the year, Onomah has played just 10 times, mostly as a substitute.

Aston Villa fans were vocal in their displeasure at Onomah’s performances, perceiving him to be lackadaisical and disinterested. Most wanted to see their own talents such as Callum O’Hare and Keinan Davis get a shot instead.

(X during the Premier League 2 match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on February 5, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

So what next for Onomah?

He started the campaign with great hope. After playing a pivotal role in the England under-20 World Cup win, many felt this could be his breakthrough season.

But his spell at Villa has just highlighted the fact he is far from the finished article.

As far as a future at Tottenham goes, it is hard to see him not being loaned out again next term. Spurs have ample options in the centre of midfield – with the likes of Mousa Dembele, Moussa Sissoko, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks all at Mauricio Pochettino’s service. With rumours of new central midfield options also arriving Onomah is likely to be loaned out again next season.

If that is the case, Spurs must choose his next location with more care. Villa already have plenty of midfield options and the youngsters coming through led to resentment among much of the fanbase whenever Onomah got the nod ahead of them.

If Tottenham can find Onomah a home in the Championship where he can play regular football week in and week out and be a star for the fans that would be the ideal solution.

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Crystal Palace

Three potential England replacements for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Liverpool midfielder has been ruled out of the summer’s World Cup.

Jake Jackman

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It looked bad for Liverpool and England when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was stretchered off during the first half of the Reds’ game against AS Roma in the Champions League and their worst fears were confirmed on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old has suffered a knee injury, which will keep him out of the rest of the season and this summer’s World Cup.

This is incredibly harsh news to take for the midfielder, who had been playing the best football of his career under Jurgen Klopp.

Last summer, he made a huge career decision as he chose to leave Arsenal to join top-six rivals Liverpool and, in hindsight, it has been a great move for him.

His influence and consistency have stood out from the centre of the park and England would have benefitted from that in Russia.

However, Gareth Southgate needs to readjust quickly and find a suitable alternative to the Liverpool midfielder.

Here are three players that could replace Oxlade-Chamberlain and receive a World Cup call this summer:

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Crystal Palace

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain has opened up an opportunity for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who will now have a chance of making the plane for Russia.

The midfielder has impressed at Crystal Palace and he delivered an assured performance against Germany on his international debut. Although injuries have hindered his progress since he remains one of the only dynamic midfielders available to Gareth Southgate.

Against Germany, he completed 96.2% of his passes and completed four successful dribbles. There were a lot of people that thought the call came too soon, but he looked at home on the international stage and he will be unknown to a lot of the teams England are due to face.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was going to provide the power and pace in the England midfield. Loftus-Cheek may not be as experienced as the Liverpool man, but he can step up and perform a similar role. If he can finish the season strongly, he will have a great chance of making the squad.

England Training Session And Press Conference

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Jonjo Shelvey – Newcastle United

There are growing calls for the Newcastle United midfielder to be called up by Gareth Southgate and they will only increase with the news of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury.

Shelvey won’t be able to step into the same role, but he can provide different qualities and could be a worthy selection for England.

Newcastle’s recent surge up the league table have shown Shelvey in a good light and he has been a major reason for his team’s success.

The 26-year-old dictates the game from deep and has a passing range that can’t be matched by any other English player.

Against Arsenal, he was putting his team-mates in on goal at will and there is a place for his skills in the national set-up.

England have a number of quick attacking players and against better teams, Shelvey would provide a good option.

Southgate will need to set his side up to counter-attack and there is no better player to pick out the runs of Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy than the Newcastle midfielder.

There are risks to selecting the 26-year-old, but he deserves to be considered for the summer’s tournament.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Dele Alli – Tottenham

The Tottenham midfielder is going to go to the World Cup. Nobody can debate that, but he has found himself out of the starting eleven during recent friendly matches.

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain may benefit him, as there will now be a midfield position up for grabs.

Alli isn’t as comfortable in a central role as Oxlade-Chamberlain, but his goal threat and intelligent movement means that he could step into the starting eleven and play well.

The 22-year-old has had his critics this season, but a return of eight goals and ten assists in the Premier League underline the quality that he provides to a team.

Southgate will need to make sure Alli knows his defensive responsibilities and that the player carries them out to the letter, as England can’t afford to carry a midfield player.

At the age of 22, this summer could be an opportunity to break out for the Tottenham man.

It would be a risk to start him in a deeper role, but the rewards may be worth it.

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