There's a little know secret in the world and it's one that the doctos should really get a handle on. No matter how awful and sickly you are (yeah, even you), a trophy can cure your ills. This is a fact confirmed by science.
On Saturday, Tottenham will get to cure their ills, at least kind of. They can't really be cured since they can't win a trophy, but they can get through a major stage of treatment and that is a big deal because they are stage four sick. Losses to Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton have resulted in their 10-point lead for third place in the league being cut down to one. It has been more than a month since Spurs have won in league and nothing is going right.
Even if they are struggled in the league, Spurs remain undefeated in the FA Cup and that is why they find themselves with a match this weekend. It is a FA Cup weekend, the sixth round or quarterfinals depending on which you prefer, and although Spurs cannot win their trophy for their cure, they can book a spot in the semifinals. It won't be the cure, but it will be a treatment and a good one at that. Recent struggles or not, trophy hopes are still alive at White Hart Lane.To book their semifinal spot, Spurs will have to defeat Bolton Wanderers, who are having an awful season. Playing a team struggling doesn't really mean Tottenham are through, though. After all, they did require a replay to get past League 1 side Stevenage and as long as Spurs are Spurs, the unthinkably disappointing is always a possibility.
Making things tougher on Tottenham is the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor and likely absence of Ledley King through injury. With those two out, Harry Redknapp will have to decide whether or not William Gallas can make his injury comeback with the Cup on the line and whether he trusts Louis Saha to play alone up top. If Gallas is not trusted, Ryan Nelsen (shudder) will get the nod (double shudder). If Saha can be trust alone up top, Rafael van der Vaart will play beneath him, but if not, Jermain Defoe will get the chance to pair with Saha up top.
It would be unfair to say that Spurs' formation will just be a matter of whether or not Harry trusts Saha to play alone up top. Another consideration is whether he wants to play Niko Kranjcar on the right with Aaron Lennon out so Spurs can go to a lone striker and whether it would be prudent to leave Defoe out of the team considering his FA Cup success. The good news is that neither is a particularly bad option. Against Bolton, both set ups can be effective so unless Harry decides that Luka Modric is not a central midfielder or Gareth Bale should not be on the left wing, all is well no matter who Harry picks.
A match at Stoke in the middle of the week and a gigantic clash with Chelsea next weekend loom, but Spurs are not going to prioritize league over FA Cup, no matter how many millions come with that top four league finish. Harry believes that the team can go full bore in the Cup without risking a league slip up. Being fresh and rested didn't help the club win in league lately so why not give the FA Cup a go. Clearly the team doesn't respond well to rest anyways. (Aaaaaand that's the end of Harry Logic).
"I would love to win the FA Cup,'' Redknapp said. "It's a great tournament and we want to go all the way to Wembley now and win it.''
Well, Spurs are going for it. There is no trophy handed out on Saturday, but there is a trophy at the end of the road. Tottenham are ill and a trophy can cure them so Saturday's treatment is crucial. Don't forget your pills, Spurs.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Bolton Wanderers
Game Date/Time: Saturday, March 17, 1:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. local
Venue: White Hart Lane, London, England
TV: Fox Soccer Channel (USA English), ESPN UK (UK)