FA Cup roundup: Mahrez magic and Giroud’s good start
Plus Llorente’s struggles for Tottenham
They say anything can happen in the cup and that was certainly true at the Spotland Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur looked on the verge of a place in the quarter-finals, before League One side Rochdale scored an injury-time equaliser to earn a well-deserved 2-2 draw.
The Dale now have a trip to Wembley to look forward to, with a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals at stake.
Here’s the Coral News Team with the big talking points from the weekend’s action…
Tottenham need more from Llorente
Tottenham Hotspur brought in Fernando Llorente last summer to give them an alternative up front. But he’s offered very little so far.
He delivered another ineffective display in the 2-2 draw against Rochdale. His lack of pace is an obvious issue, but he’s not causing problems with his size and strength either.
Spurs have a busy schedule coming up, with games in the league, FA Cup and Champions League. They’ll need to Llorente to contribute if they’re going to challenge in all three.
Mahrez shows his importance to Leicester
Riyad Mahrez made his first start for Leicester City since his move to Manchester City broke down against Sheffield United.
The Algerian winger offered a reminder of his importance to the side. His skill and imagination were at the heart of Leicester’s best moments. And he set up Jamie Vardy to score the only goal of the game.
Leicester are 11/1 outsiders to win the FA Cup this season. But they’ll be tough opposition for any side if Mahrez is at his best.
Giroud’s goal offers optimism for Chelsea
Olivier Giroud has made an encouraging start to life at Chelsea. The former Arsenal striker bagged his first goal for the Blues in their comfortable 4-0 win against Hull City. That followed his clever assist for Eden Hazard in the 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
He was brought in as a back-up to Alvaro Morata. And it’s already clear that Antonio Conte has more faith in Giroud than he did in Michy Batshuayi.
But Morata hasn’t been entirely convincing in England so far. Giroud’s physical presence and experience could see him get the nod ahead of the Spaniard in certain games. The 31-year-old is 2/1 to score Anytime against Barcelona on Tuesday.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing