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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Watford, 26.09.18

See the current injury list for all Premier League Teams
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Full Cup Record of Spurs -v- Watford


FA Cup ties

1894-95 1Q H   3-2 Hunter Goodall 2 
                   *Watford as West Herts
1921-22 2  H   1-0 Bliss
1938-39 3  H   7-1 Miller 2 GW Hall 2
                   Duncan Sargent Ward
1986-87 SF VP  4-1 C Allen P Allen Hodge 2
1998-99 3  H   5-2 Iversen (2), Anderton (pen), 
                   Nielsen, Fox
2011-12 4  A   1-0 Van der Vaart

FL Cup ties
1975-76 2    A   1-0 Chris Jones
1994-95 2/1  A   6-3 Klinsmann (3), Anderton,
                     Dumitrescu, Sheringham
        2/2  H   2-3 Barmby Klinsmann
2008-09 5    A   2-1 Pavlyuchenko (pen),
                     Bent

We're all having an away day!

This is, of course, an unusual League Cup tie, because of the neutral venue at Milton Keynes, so we are all having an away day this week!

The match is being played at MK Don's Stadium because of the unavailability of Wembley for this time, and because our own new stadium's opening has been delayed until a date yet to be notified to impatient Spurs fans. It has to be said that plenty of the gloss will have been removed in the eyes of most Spurs fans whenever we do get to see our team play in their new home.

The Spurs Trust declared that as a board they had decided not to attend this game, no doubt in solidarity with the original Wimbledon "Dons" (now AFC Wimbledon) who regard the football club at Milton Keynes as "Franchise". Many Spurs season ticket holders have chosen not to make the trip, not so much because of any political stance, but because of the inconvenience of travel, and no doubt apathy towards the Carabao Cup competition. It is likely that the stadium, with a capacity of 30,690, will not be sold out. Should Spurs succeed against Watford, the club must be hoping for an away draw in the fourth round, scheduled for late October when we will still be waiting for a proper home. I will be driving down the M1 from Chesterfield to view this game.

This will be only the fourth season in which we meet Watford in the League Cup competition, but the first occasion on which Watford are also in the top flight. I fancy they will offer tough opposition despite the inevitable rotation and resting of key players by both sides.

The first League Cup meeting between the two sides was in September 1975 in the second round. We had yet to meet "The Hornets" in any Football League match, and when we met in 1975 there had been a gap of over 35 years since our previous meeting in an FA Cup tie in 1939. In 1975, when they played us Watford had just lifted themselves off the bottom of Division Four with a 2-1 win over Hartlepool. They managed to finish eighth at the end of the season. Former Spur Dennis Bond was in the Watford side. Chris Jones scored our winner in front of a crowd of 14,997 at Vicarage Road.

Watford have never beaten us in any Cup tie, although they did win the second leg of our next League cup meeting in October 1994. Watford were low down in Division One at the time. This was the magical start of the season which featured the "famous five" of Klinsmann, Sheringham, Anderton, Barmby and Dumitrescu, four of whom played and scored in our 6-3 win at Vicarage Road in the first leg. I had been inspired (and able) to buy my first season ticket when Klinsmann was signed. I missed the opening games, but saw a 2-1 home defeat to Southampton when neither Campbell or Nethercott covered themselves with glory at the back. Campbell even got sent off that day!

At Vicarage Road both Ramage and Anderton scored in the first minute before a first half hat-trick by the mighty Jurgen gave us a 4-1 lead. Sheringham and Ilie Dumitrescu added goals in the second half. Loveable and enthusiastic Spurs legend Micky Hazard made thee first of his last three starts for Spurs at Watford. Micky made 10 appearances as substitute that season and his last start was in October 1994 in a 3-1 win against West Ham.

Barmby played and scored in the second leg, as did Klinsmann, but Watford stole the glory on the night. It was the third round 3-0 defeat at Notts County which ultimately led to Ossie Ardiles' departure as manager.

Our last League Cup tie against "The Hornets" (we have met since in the FA Cup) was played at Vicarage Road in December 2008. Watford were 20th in the Championship, and we weren't doing too well in the Premier League (2 points from 8 games, remember). Priskin had given the home side a 13th minute lead, but a Pavlyuchenko penalty and a good low finish by Darren Bent gave us a path to the semi-finals, and ultimately the Final, which we lost on penalties to Manchester United. Remember goalkeeper Ben Foster was United's man of the match that day, and he is now back at Watford, having spent time there on loan 13 years ago.

Watford have fielded the same starting eleven in all 6 of their Premier League games, but will no doubt make some changes for tomorrow's game. Their team for their 2-0 win at Reading in the second round was Gomes; Navarro, Mariappa, Prodl, Masina, Femenia, Wilmot, Chalobah, Sema, Quina and Success, none of whom have started a league game as yet. It will be interesting to see what mix Javi Gracia offerrs tomorrow, but it will be a decent and strong line-up, whoever plays.

The Spurs team needs to be a strong one to beat whoever represents the Hertfordshire club. There have been a couple of features regarding how much Dele Alli is looking forward to returning to his old stomping ground, where he made his first start in an FA Cup game against Cambridge City. Dele had been a playing substitute in the away draw against Cambridge, but he sealed his home debut with his first senior goal at the age of just 16 1/2! Dele's team won 6-1! Dele scored our winner in last year's Round 3 game against Barnsley.

Hugo Lloris has progressed to field work, and perhaps he will be available for Huddersfield on Saturday. Michel Vorm's rehabilitation continues so we can expect to see Paulo Gazzaniga between the sticks. Paulo had a more than satisfactory game at Brighton on Saturday night. I think we might see a team of Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Davies, Walker-Peters; Wanyama, Winks; Sissoko, Dele, Lamela and Llorente tomorrow, but what do I know? Maybe Dier will play and be captain. Obviously, I am hoping for a Spurs win, but I am not counting on it. No scoreline prediction from me! Kyle Walker-Peters is on the programme cover, so I fancy he will play.

Tomorrow night's match referee will be Lee Mason. he is not one of our favourites, and perhaps not favoured with the club either, as he has not had charge of a Spurs game since August last year, when we drew at home to Burnley. In 12 matches over the course of 8 1/2 years Mr. Mason averages a low 5.3 on our surveys. His best grade of 6.9 was achieved in September 2013, when Gylfi Sigurdsson scored both our goals in a 2-0 home win against Norwich.

Spurs will be paying tribute to the late Chas Hodges tomorrow night, walking out to the sound of "Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur" as sung by Chas & Dave.

Spurs' record in recent London Derby League matches

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - On this date 20 years ago, a certain centre half was mentioned in glowing terms when he scored a very late equaliser against Leeds. That's how it was before he moved down the road.

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