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Preview Spurs v Leicester, 09.02.02

Bottom of the table Leicester have won just 7 Premiership games since Boxing Day 2000:-

3.2.01  2-1 H v Chelsea
24.2.01 2-0 H v Sunderland
3.3.01  2-0 H v Liverpool
5.5.01  4-2 H v Spurs
15.9.01 3-2 A v Derby
3.11.01 1-0 H v Sunderland
1.12.01 2-0 A v Aston Villa

So - their last league win was over two months ago on the 1st December, but that was the sort of surprise result that must make Tottenham sit up and be very careful not to become similar victims. Even the Leicester players are starting to look at the prospect of Nationwide football next season, and it will give me great pleasure to wave them goodbye at Filbert Street on 11th May.

Leicester's Last 6 League games:-

Bolton 	  2 2	Leicester 
Leicester 1 3	Arsenal
West Ham  1 0	Leicester 
Leicester 0 0	Newcastle 
Liverpool 1 0	Leicester 
Leicester 2 3	Chelsea

            P  W  D  L  F  A  GD PTS 
9  Spurs    25  9  5 11 35 34  1  32
20 L'cester 25  3  8 14 17 44 -27 17

On Spurs' current league form, anything is possible, but I expect a line-up similar to the team that thrashed Bolton on Tuesday night to win again by a convincing margin this time. Gus Poyet will be suspended due to 5 yellow cards, but Les Ferdinand and Teddy Sheringham may be risked from the start despite the fact that a booking would keep them out of the Worthington Cup Final.

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

Full Record of Spurs -v- Leicester City

Premier       Pl  W  D  L   For- Ag Pts
Home           6  2  1  3    8 - 8   7
Away           6  1  1  4    6 -13   4
Total(Prem)   12  3  2  7   14 -21  11
Football Lge
Home(Div 1)   29 13  6 10   64 -46  34
Away(Div 1)   29 16  4  9   53 -54  40
Total(Div 1)  58 29 10 19  117 -100 74
Football Lge
Home(Div 2)    7  3  3  1   12 - 7   9
Away(Div 2)    7  4  1  2   14 -13   9
Total(Div 2)  14  7  4  3   26 -20  18
Total(Prem)   12  3  2  7   14 -21  11
Total(Div 1)  58 29 10 19  117 -100 74
Total(Div 2)  14  7  4  3   26 -20  18
Grand Total   84 39 16 29  157 -141 103

With Leicester desperately struggling for points at the bottom of the table, supporters should not travel to White Hart Lane thinking Spurs will pick up an easy three points. Leicester have a habit of winning at Tottenham. Even the great Double side of 1960-61 lost at home to Leicester City, then captained by a player who was to achieve notoriety 10 years later on 3rd May 1971. Frank McLintock may be older and greyer this days but he is still fairly recognisable from the player he once was, unlike some of the past players who have become pundits.

Leicester have, down the years, been able to find players, polish them and transfer them to other clubs. Gordon Banks, Alan Smith, Gary Lineker, Frank McLintock and Allan Clarke all spent time with Leicester City before moving on to bigger clubs.

Over the years, Leicester have been a yo-yo side, not good enough for top flight football but too good for the second flight. They have made occasional forays at the top of the table but more often than not have supported the rest of the Division from the bottom rung of the ladder. Their best years recently were during Martin O'Neill's stewardship prior to his departure for Celtic. Memories will still be fresh in most supporters' minds of our victory over Leicester in the Worthington Cup Final nearly three years ago. There are those who, like me, can remember the greatest day in Tottenham's history when we accomplished the double of League and Cup by beating Leicester 2-0 at Wembley in May 1961.

Most games involving Leicester have been good ones. There is rarely any ill-feeling between the clubs (despite Robbie Savage!) when they play. I remember Jimmy Greaves scoring a cheeky penalty whilst Gordon Banks was still drying his hands at the back of his goal. I also remember the greatest goal Greaves ever scored on October 5th 1968 when he trapped the ball on the halfway line, spun round and hared for goal, leaving several defenders trailing in his wake before drawing Shilton off his line and poking the ball into the net.

One of the few incidents that did cause ill-feeling between Spurs and Leicester occurred when Derek Dougan was playing centre-forward for them. I remember he was chasing Cliff Jones back down the wing and barged into him, literally throwing him into the concrete wall in front of the old West Stand Standing Enclosure. Jones sustained a broken collarbone, if I correctly recall, and missed a number of subsequent matches. If memory serves me correctly, Dougan was only booked though many believed he should have been sent off.

It was from Leicester City that Spurs bought one of their greatest defenders of all time. They played Leicester City in a Division One match and noted Tommy Clay in the right back position. Within a matter of days, Spurs had swooped to sign Clay and he became a fixture in the Spurs side in the years before WW1 and post WW1. He was probably our best defender prior to the signing of Alf Ramsey in 1949.

Coming back to Saturday's match, Leicester will be desperate for points but Spurs need to start winning soon if they are not to be sucked downwards in the relegation scrap. There are too many parallels with season 1927-28 for my liking and I hope history is not going to repeat itself. Don't forget that one of the three clubs to be relegated is almost always a surprise, having looked safe until the last few games.

However, Spurs ought to have enough nous to find the goals to beat Leicester on Saturday. Hopefully, we will score a few goals in the process, too. But I suspect we will have to be patient before we see any goals!


Cheers, Brian

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