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Match Reports
Leicester v Spurs, 19.10.98

This report courtesy of Brian Judson of the "Spurs list"

MONDAY OCTOBER 19th 1998
FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
LEICESTER CITY (1) 2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (1) 1

Leicester City : Keller; Sinclair, Elliott, Taggart (sub Campbell 45, sub Parker, 87), Ullathorne; Savage, Lennon, Izzet, Guppy; Heskey, Cottee.

Substitutes *NOT* used : Arphexad, Zagorakis, Fenton.

Booked : Sinclair.

Goalscorers : Heskey (27), Izzett (85).

Tottenham Hotspur : Baardsen; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Edinburgh; Calderwood, Anderton, Fox, Clemence (sub Dominguez, 87), Ginola (sub Armstrong, 64); Ferdinand.

Substitutes *NOT* used : Walker, Berti, Scales.

Booked : Fox, Ginola, Campbell, Clemence.

Goalscorer : Ferdinand (12).

Referee : Mr M Riley (Leeds).

Attendance : 20,787.

There were signs of changes yet to come in the Tottenham set-up. The back four were almost successful in the operation of the offside trap but not to the extent of four arms being lifted simultaneously. The match itself was a mediocre one but somewhat uplifted by the emotional appeals made by the Leicester fans, who were imploring Martin O'Neill not to leave Filbert Street. O'Neill is a very passionate manager, who wears his heart on his sleeve. Not for him the blank face that does not register any emotions but he becomes as fanatical as any supporter who can recite any line-up ever played for a club.

Graham's first selection of players included no less than four players the supporters want to make a rapid departure from the club. Vega was again played at centre back and was again, like the curate's fabled egg, good in parts. Calderwood was totally anonymous in midfield as was, by and large, Fox. But I thought Edinburgh played a fairly good game. For me, the most annoying player was either Ginola or Anderton. Ginola again allowed his emotions to be his undoing and earning a totally unnecessary booking which will shortly deprive Tottenham of his services for one match. Anderton was, for me, a peripheral figure, making the occasional run but not really achieving much.

The first fifteen minutes of the match saw Tottenham produce their best football. They largely kept the ball on the ground and passed to feet rather than to torso. No one's first touch betrayed them. It seemed likely that Tottenham would score a goal.

The goal when it came was a peach. It was a classic Tottenham goal, one that any of our trophy winning sides would have been proud to claim. I think it was Carr who freed Anderton on the right. Anderton was unimpeded as he dashed down the wing and had plenty of time to steady himself, take a long around and pinpoint Ferdinand. Ferdinand timed his run right and in one quick movement slammed the ball behind Keller before Keller was aware of the threat to his goal.

And then Tottenham faded fast. Was it because they thought Graham had said 1-0 would be enough? If he did, he should have remembered that it was a Tottenham defence out there, not Arsenal's famous back four. It soon became evident that 1-0 was never going to be enough. Paradoxically, though, Baardsen was never seriously troubled : he could not be blamed for either goal.

Heskey, realising that he was not going to gain any loose change from Campbell, switched his attention to Vega. He soon had Vega in a daze from rapidly spinning around to chase the elusive Mr Heskey. And eventually it paid off. Lennon's pass to Heskey caught Vega in two minds and Heskey had the ball in Baardsen's net before Vega had decided what to do. It was a very good goal and a fair outcome for Leicester's honest endeavour.

From then onwards, Leicester slowly grabbed a stranglehold on the game. Graham pulled off Ginola, sensing the Frenchman was not going to toil to get something out of the game, sending on Armstrong. But it did not change the pattern of the game, although Armstrong eventually made the miss of the match. In the 77th minute, Armstrong beat the Leicester offside trap and was one on one with Keller. But he dithered before shooting and Keller was able to block the shot with ease.

A couple of minutes later, Elliott should have headed Leicester into the lead but only succeeded in ballooning the ball over the bar. Soon after, however, Guppy swept in a free-kick which Ferdinand half-cleared. Izzet collected the loose ball and volleyed it back, leaving Baardsen with no time to re-act at all.

Overall, I thought Spurs deserved to draw. Leicester were not much better than Spurs but Spurs are capable of doing much better than this. Some of those playing last night will have an uncomfortable morning when they see Graham. He will have plenty to say on the defensive short-comings.

Brian Judson's match preview

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