Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Previewing Arsenal v Spurs 06.04.02
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Preview Arsenal v Spurs, 06.04.02

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

Full Record of Spurs -v- Arsenal

Prem          Pl  W   D   L  For-Ag  Pts
Home          10  4   4   2  10 - 9  16
Away           9  1   5   3   7 -10   8
Total(Prem)   19  5   9   5  17 -19  24
Football Lge
Home(Div 1)   55 24  12  19  93 -83  63
Away(Div 1)   55 16  12  27  65 -85  46
Total(Div 1) 110 40  24  46 158 -168 109
Total(Prem)   19  5   9   5  17 -19  24
Total(Div 1) 110 40  24  46 158 -168 109
Grand Total  129 45  33  51 175 -187 133

And so to Highbury where we must do all we can to prevent Arsenal from completing yet another Cup and League Double! No matter what injuries they seem to pick up (Ashley Cole is their latest problem), the Gunners seem to take things in their stride. With Manchester United surrendering home points unexpectedly to Middlesbrough, Arsenal have the advantage of crucial games in hand.

So, time to wander down memory lane at past encounters at Highbury ....

The highest number of goals Spurs have ever scored at Highbury has been 4. We once won 4-2 at Highbury (in December 1926) and twice drew 4-4 there. In our 4-2 win in December 1926, Frank Osborne scored twice, Jimmy Seed and Charley 'Tich' Handley completed the rout. Butler and Brain were the Arsenal scorers. Brain was later to become the first player to transfer from Arsenal to Spurs towards the end of his career.

The first of the two 4-4 draws was on 22nd February 1958. Spurs had begun the season with some poor form and had to rely on the old guard when beating Arsenal 3-1 at White Hart Lane the previous autumn. In this match Cliff Jones made his debut for Tottenham after rejecting Arsenal. At the time, Cliff was the most expensive player that Tottenham had ever bought and the weight of the fee burdened him. He was unable to reproduce the form he had shown for Swansea. Henry conceded an own goal in the 3rd minute but Smith put Spurs ahead after 30 minutes. Clapton put Arsenal ahead early in the second half but Harmer quickly equalised. Nutt and Herd then scored a goal apiece to give Arsenal what looked a winning 4-2 lead after 77 minutes. But Harmer netted from a penalty after 86 minutes and a minute later a Smith goal drew Spurs level. Spurs finished the season in 3rd place to Arsenal's 12th.

The second of the 4-4 draws was on a Tuesday evening in October 1963. Spurs were top of the table and Arsenal weren't far behind. The gates were shut on a 68,000 crowd 45 minutes before the kick-off with thousands still locked out. Greaves put Spurs ahead after 3 minutes and Smith added a second after 20 minutes. Dyson then conceded a penalty when he sent Armstrong flying and Eastham converted the penalty on the half-hour. From the kick-off, Mackay let fly from some 40 yards to put Spurs 3-1 ahead. Shortly afterwards, a goal by Jones was strangely disallowed for no apparent reason. Within seconds of that incident Eastham took advantage of a Tottenham defensive mix-up to reduce the arrears. But Smith restored Spurs two goal advantage before half-time when he thumped home a cross from White. There the score remained until there was five minutes left to play. Baker reduced the arrears after evading a tackle from Norman and in the dying seconds of the match, Strong struck to force a draw.

Our worst ever defeat by Arsenal at Highbury occurred on October 20th 1935 when Arsenal thrashed us 5-1. Arsenal were away at the top of the table with five wins from ten matches, having beaten Liverpool 8-1, Blackburn 4-0, West Bromwich Albion 4-3, Birmingham 5-1 and Manchester City 3-1. In 10 games they rattled in 30 goals. Spurs were in mid-table at this stage of the season. Their first choice team collapsed as Arsenal ran riot. Beasley put Arsenal 1-0 ahead soon after the half-hour. Tom Evans then conceded an own goal. Ted Drake rattled in a hat-trick by scoring in the 42nd, 50th and 85th minute before George Hunt scored a consolation goal four minutes from the end. Apart from pre-war friendlies, that was our last visit to Highbury for nearly 17 years.

Over the years that I have followed Spurs, there have been very few occasions when both teams have been either at the top or the bottom of the table. Usually, one side or the other has the ascendancy. One of the few occasions that Spurs and Arsenal were at the foot of the table was in September 1955 when both sides made a dreadful start to the season. Spurs only secured 1 point from their first 6 matches and Arsenal were not too far away with only 5 points from their first 6 matches. I can remember a table that autumn in which the bottom three clubs were Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs. Arsenal and Chelsea eventually climbed away from the bottom but Spurs were in the middle of a relegation battle until just before the end of the season. That was, I think, the last time Arsenal flirted with the bottom half of the table, although they have finished in the bottom half of the table (once as low as 17th) without being embroiled in the relegation battle. The season they finished 17th was when a crowd of 4,554 became the lowest ever attendance at Arsenal.

And the outcome of this weekend's match? Much as I would like to predict a Tottenham victory, it is hard to see how I can be optimistic given the strength in depth the Gunners have. We can see the signs of better times to come where Tottenham are concerned but I can't see anything other than an Arsenal win on Saturday. I would love to be proved wrong!


Cheers, Brian

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