In case you missed it, Fabian Delph was sent off in the first half, and League One promotion candidates Wigan Athletic shocked England by knocking the presumptive Premier League champions Manchester City out of the FA Cup. The Latics got a 79th minute goal from Will Grigg (who, I am led to believe, is on fire) at the DW Stadium and move on to face Southampton for a trip to the FA Cup semifinals.
That result is not just more evidence that the FA Cup is magic, it’s also great news for Tottenham Hotspur. Oddsmakers have now greatly increased Spurs’ chances of lifting their first FA Cup trophy since 1991. While odds vary from site to site, most UK betting websites list Spurs at 5/2 odds, making them second favorites behind Manchester United (9/4). Chelsea are third (7/2) and Leicester fourth (8/1 - 9/1).
Obviously we don’t want to put the cart in front of the horse here, especially as Spurs have already limped to two away draws against League 2 and League 1 opponents in this competition already and have a replay next week against Rochdale. Still, assuming Spurs win in their fifth round replay at Wembley, they have a pretty winnable match at either Swansea City or Sheffield Wednesday that would send them to the semifinals.
Wembley may be a neutral venue for the FA Cup, but Spurs could have the advantage of having played all of their home football matches there this season. They may not have an overwhelming crowd advantage, but they know that stadium pretty well. They’ve already beaten Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley this season, and their loss to Chelsea came very early in the league. It’s not at all unreasonable to think that their experience at Wembley could give them a slight edge.
Some will accuse me of jinxing the competition by writing this article, which is nonsense. Having good odds to win doesn’t mean that they will — just ask Manchester City. Spurs will either win it, or they won’t and nothing I write will affect that in any way. Still, darned if this cup run isn’t shaping up like it could be a pretty good one for Tottenham Hotspur. Isn’t optimism fun?