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Preview Spurs v Leeds, 23.08.03

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

Full Record of Spurs -v- Leeds United

Premier         Pl  W  D  L  For- Ag  Pts
Home            11  5  3  3  18 - 12  18
Away            11  1  3  7  10 - 21   6
Total (Premier) 22  6  6 10  28 - 33  24
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)    28 14  8  6  47 - 34  37
Away (Div 1)    28  6 10 12  32 - 42  23
Total (Div 1)   56 20 18 18  79 - 76  60
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)     4  3  1  0  10 -  4   7
Away (Div 2)     4  1  1  2   3 -  5   3
Total (Div 2)    8  4  2  2  13 -  9  10
Total (Premier) 22  6  6 10  28 - 33  24
Total (Div 1)   56 20 18 18  79 - 76  60
Total (Div 2)    8  4  2  2  13 -  9  10
Grand Total     86 30 26 30 120 -118  94

The dramatic sacking of manager David O'Leary and his backroom staff followed by the bizarre appointment of former Spurs player and manager, Terry Venables, saw Leeds plunge from championship aspirants to hot favourites for the drop to the Football League in a matter of weeks. Venables was brought in with firm instructions to shed the high wage earners as a priority. Initially welcomed by the Elland Road fans, both Venables and chairman Ridsdale were soon cast as candidates for departure. Indeed both left before the end of the season with former Sunderland manager, Peter Reid being brought in to steady the ship. Leeds eventually survived if only because the clubs below them spurned their own chances of survival, particularly West Ham United, who were confidently expected by most experts to survive.

Leeds only aspirations this season are survival. Anything else will be a bonus. Viduka is still there but for how much longer remains to be seen. But Alan Smith has gone on record as saying he only wants to play for Leeds and has no intention of seeking employment elsewhere.

It is a far cry from the heady days of four seasons ago when they were tipped to break the Manchester United domination of the Premiership. David O'Leary had built a very entertaining side but it seems to have been a side built by a shaky set of economic loans that finally caught Leeds out.

Tottenham, meanwhile, have various injury doubts of one kind or another. With players struggling to regain fitness and two strikers doubtful to play, it remains to be seen what side Hoddle selects and which tactics he will use. Dean Richards is on the way back but has missed all of the pre-season build-up. He will probably not be quite ready for this match, although he came through a reserve team game without any problems, earlier this week.

What I would like to see is Ricketts getting an extended run-out. I would much rather see Ricketts playing than Acimovic, who clearly has still to attune himself to Premiership football. He may be an international but I think Ricketts looks the better prospect.

In the corresponding game last season, Tottenham beat Leeds 2-0. Sheringham grabbed a 12th minute goal and Keane scored an exquisite goal just before half-time. The same duo scored at Elland Toad near the end of the season. Spurs looked like winning a rare match at Elland Road as Sheringham and Keane struck twice in a minute before the break. Viduka had earlier put them ahead and later snatched a penalty with fourteen minutes left.

I suspect that Saturday's game will see the points divided. I cannot imagine Leeds will be good enough to nick all three points but with both defences still porous, I think there will be one goal at least apiece.


Cheers, Brian

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