Having already booked a place in the Carabao Cup final, Tottenham will now turn their attention to eighth-tier Marine in the third round of the FA Cup.
The fixture hosts the biggest mismatch in the competitions history with Marine currently placed sixth in the Northern Premier League North West, while Spurs sit fourth in the Premier League.
You only have to go back to Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final clash with Brentford to find Tottenham’s last encounter with a lower league club.
Spurs were able to take the lead in the 12th minute, as Sergio Reguilon whipped a pin-point cross into the opposing box for Moussa Sissoko to guide his header into the top right corner. An unlikely goal for the Frenchman, who last scored against Burnley in December 2019.
However Brentford would not go away quietly and were inches away from equalising in the 63rd minute through a close range header from striker Ivan Toney. Fortunately for Jose Mourinho’s side the goal was ruled out by VAR for offside.
Heung-min Son would take the nerves out of the game in the 70th minute, by making a blistering run in between the Brentford defenders to get on the end of a Tanguy Ndombele through ball and score in clinical fashion.
The 86th minute was worrisome for Spurs, as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had been on the receiving end of a challenge, which was viewed as dangerous by Mike Dean. After checking the monitor the veteran referee decided to give midfielder Josh Dasilva a straight red card, while Jose Mourinho took no risks and subbed off the Dane, despite his best efforts in trying to persuade his manager to let him see out the rest of the game.
Josh Dasilva would take to Twitter after the match to make his intentions clear regarding the challenge, which saw him sent off;
Hojbjerg would respond to the Brentford playmaker with a classy message, assuring him that he is fine;
Spurs will be looking to avoid an unexpected upset against Marine, who are the competitions lowest ranked side heading into the third round.
With such a large gulf in class between the two sides, Spurs are expected to give a rest to a number of starters.
Jose Mourinho was asked about his squad selection ahead of Sunday’s fixture and had the following to say;
Is Gareth Bale going to be fit for Sunday?
“He trained today first time with us so tomorrow second time and tomorrow after training we will make a decision and what I can say and it’s also a way to show you the way we are looking, the respect we have for this fixture, is that Gareth told me he would like to go and would like to play so if tomorrow if the feelings are positive, Gareth will come.”
Will Harvey White and Jack Clarke be involved?
“Harvey and Jack they are U23s, they play U23s when we feel that they should go there and take minutes but there are professionals. They belong with the first team squad, they train with the first team squad since day one in pre-season.
“They played in the Europa League so let’s look at them as first team players and of course they will be involved in the game but they are involved so many times so it’s nothing new.”
The Portuguese coach also revealed that he would be including one U18 player for the trip to Rossett Park.
“With a starting 11 plus nine on the bench we are speaking about 20 players. I can tell you, in this 20 player we will take only one U18 player. So we will take one U18 player who will be on the bench, like we had also that in other matches.
“We had that in many other matches. One kid will be on the bench, so out of 20 only one. Apart from that we have 19 players from the first team squad”
Sunday’s fixture is undoubtedly the biggest game in the Marine’s history and a record breaking turnout was definitely on the card, however the government’s new lock-down procedures have caused the fixture to be played behind closed doors.
The absence of a crowd would have been a huge financial loss for Marine, so the club decided to sell virtual tickets in an attempt to generate some income.
Tottenham themselves have also pitched in by offering four stadium tour vouchers and four Dare Skywalk vouchers as prizes for the club raffle.
Marine have currently sold over 10,000 virtual tickets, 3,434 more than the maximum capacity of their stadium.
Marine have beaten Barnoldswick Town, Frickley, Runcorn Linnets, Nantwich Town, Chester FC, Colchester and Havant & Waterlooville on route to the third round.
Tottenham team news:
Erik Lamela is in with a chance of returning to the side. The Argentine hasnt been selected since his breach of government restrictions.
Giovani Lo Celso remains out with an injury and isn’t expected to make a return until after January.
Gareth Bale is in the running for a return from injury.
Matt Doherty is available for selection after serving his suspension for a red card against Leeds.
One of Dane Scarlett or Alfie Devine is expected to make the bench.
Predicted XI: Hart, Davies, Rodon, Tanganga, Doherty, Winks, White, Dele, Moura, Vinicius, Bergwijn
Marine team news:
Marine manager Neil Young revealed that Liverpool have helped them prepare for Tottenham by sending footage for the players and staff to analyse. Both Everton and Liverpool have also offered training facilities to the club.
Predicted XI: Passant, Davies, Miley, Raven, Joyce, Doyle, Hmami, Barrigan, Kengni, Cummins, Touray
Written by Reece Coughlan