Martin Keown makes prediction about Tottenham’s title challenge
Martin Keown is backing Tottenham Hotspur to recover from their FA Cup exit and recent injury blows
Martin Keown says Tottenham Hotspur’s FA Cup exit could help their Premier League title challenge.
Spurs suffered a surprise 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup fifth round after Martin Kelly scored a first-half winner at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
These are good times for Spurs
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are in second place and two points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City with 12 games remaining in the season.
And former Arsenal defender Keown is confident Tottenham can cope with the demands of the title race.
“I think Tottenham were very unlucky to lose against Crystal Palace on Sunday – the away goal really led a charmed life – but going out of the FA Cup might help their title charge,” Keown told Daily Mail.
“There’s always an argument to say cup competitions are a hindrance to your league form, and now that the Europa League has started up again it could be affected massively.
“They closed the gap on Arsenal, Leicester and City over the winter while they weren’t playing in Europe, and now we will see how Mauricio Pochettino’s side can cope with the extra games again.”
Pochettino confirmed that Belgium international Moussa Dembele is set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up a knock during their FA Cup defeat.
But the retired England defender is confident Tottenham’s squad is deep enough to contend with Dembele’s absence through injury.
“Another factor to contend with will be the loss of Mousa Dembele to injury,” Keown added.
“They were in fantastic form before losing to Palace, and I think a lot of this was down to Pochettino naming essentially the same team week in, week out – it’s nice to look around and see the same faces every game, but now Dembele will be missing from the midfield.
“The Belgian is a very good footballer – his pace, vision and strength make for a very potent mix and he’s virtually impossible to knock off the ball.
“Having said that, they have a lot of strength in depth in midfield this season, with many good players waiting in the wings, so I fancy them to deal with his absence well. These are good times for Spurs.”
Tottenham host struggling Swansea City at White Hart Lane on Sunday before a mid-week London derby clash against West Ham United at Upton Park.