Spurs fans will consider a fixture against lowly Colchester a just reward following two bruising encounters with Leicester, eventually decided by Son Heung-Min’s MotM performance. Pochettino will be aware of the danger of hubris though, so expect a strong line-up here regardless of opposition. It might be a case of overkill though—Colchester are without a win since October, and the Essex club are staring relegation full in the face. Although they’d certainly love to earn a big scalp, perhaps Colchester have other things to worry about.
Tottenham’s rotated team is likely to see recalls for Nabil Bentaleb, Josh Onomah and Kevin Wimmer, with Son playing as centre-forward. Seeing Bentaleb back in the team with more regularity over the past month will be pleasing to fans who worried he had been relegated to the fringes of the team following injury. His passing range, strength and versatility are likely to be too much for this dispirited Colchester side to handle. Andros Townsend’s transfer to Newcastle confirms Onomah’s leapfrogging him in the playing order, and the young man is clearly favoured by his manager.
For all the doom and gloom, Colchester should be able to carve out some chances against Tottenham. Although they have shipped a whopping 65 goals this season, they’ve managed 36 at the other end. Acquiring Marvin Sordell after he was released by Championship outfit Burnley was a good move—and the young striker seems to have a good attitude about his drop down the English football pyramid. Sordell has actually scored against Tottenham before in the FA Cup, there’s no reason he couldn’t do it again.
Other Colchester players to keep an eye on include 22 year old George Moncur, a West Ham academy graduate with 8 goals from midfield so far this season. Moncur actually began his career as a schoolboy at Tottenham, so will undoubtedly be delighted at a chance to play against them. He may be called upon to defend more than he attacks in this fixture though, faced with the pace and renewed form of Kyle Walker at right back. Walker has looked much improved this season, playing with a calm and mental strength that fans are not used to seeing.
Pochettino’s side are flying in the league, and much of their good form has been down to fostering an excellent team spirit in the dressing room. “Team spirit is one of the key things for the next three or four months—we have to do it all together,” Spurs Captain Hugo Lloris said. That spirit will be tested in the coming months, but the rare chance of a shot at the title is the only thing that could really derail this Tottenham side—if they allow themselves to be put off by it, winnable games like this one could be full of unhappy surprises.
Colchester’s Owen Garvan was remarkably optimistic about his side’s chances against the visitors though, saying “I think people see Tottenham as a good team in the Premier League, but the way that football is, we could easily go and win that game”. Football is an unpredictable game to be sure, but the word ‘easily’ seems a touch far-fetched.