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Match Reports
Preview Pack - Spurs v Middlesbrough - 20.08.05

Last Year's Game - 2-0 to Spurs
Last Year's Spursometer - 69%
This week - last year
What happened in the Premiership in Match 2 2004-5

(Atouba scores his amazing winner at St James Park, whilst Middlesbrough lost 5-3 at Highbury)

Full Record of Spurs -v- Middlesbrough

Prem          Pl  W  D  L   For- Ag  Pts
Home          10  3  4  3   10 - 13  13
Away          10  2  3  5    8 - 14   9
Total(Prem)   20  5  7  8   18 - 27  22
Football Lge
Home(Div 1)   25 15  4  6   62 - 40  36
Away(Div 1)   25  3  6 16   25 - 52  13
Total(Div 1)  50 18 10 22   87 - 92  49
Football Lge
Home(Div 2)    1  0  0  1    2 -  5   0
Away(Div 2)    1  0  0  1    0 -  3   0
Total(Div 2)   2  0  0  2    2 -  8   0
Total(Prem)   20  5  7  8   18 - 27  22
Total(Div 1)  50 18 10 22   87 - 92  49
Total(Div 2)   2  0  0  2    2 -  8   0
Grand Total   72 23 17 32  107 -127  71
Last Six Premiership results:-

Great new Spurs Head to Head Records in this new publication! (Spurs Odyssey is grateful to Bredon Books Publishing for their permission to quote certain statistics from their book in the compilation of this preview)

Spurs      1-1   West Brom
Arsenal    1-0   Spurs
Spurs      5-1   A. Villa
M'brough   1-0   Spurs
Spurs      0-0   Blackburn
P'tsmouth  0-2   Spurs


M'brough   4-0   West Brom
Newcastle  0-0   M'brough
Liverpool  1-1   M'brough
M'brough   1-0   Spurs
Man City   1-1   M'brough
M'brough   0-0   Liverpool

Pos           P  W  D  L  F-A GD Pts
5  Spurs      1  1  0  0  2-0  2  3
13 M'brough   1  0  1  0  0-0  0  1

Middlesbrough achieved their highest ever Premiership finish last season (7th) to qualify for the UEFA Cup for the second successive year. That situation arose of course very much at Spurs' expense, losing 1-0 at Middlesbrough in the penultimate game of the season, as our lack of grit and experience in the middle cost us dear, and our late challenge for Europe crumbled.

Now, of course, Spurs have Edgar Davids, and also Teemu Tainio to add some bite and creative class to the engine room, just where it is needed in order to hurt opponents - purely in a football sense! At the time of writing it is not known whether or not Davids will be available this week-end.

As can be seen above, Spurs have not got a great record against "Boro", and indeed, in recent years have suffered some abysmal home reverses at the hands of the Tee-siders, who have inflicted three Premiership defeats at The Lane, two of them by 3-0 margins. The first of these was on 13th September, 1998, when Paul Gascoigne played for "Boro" and Ricard went through our defence like a knife through butter. This was the second match of an 8 match caretaker management run for David Pleat, after Christian Gross had been despatched back to Switzerland.

Three years ago, it happened again on 28th September, 2002, and I described it as a truly abysmal performance. Glenn Hoddle's side had a pathetic end to that season too, losing 5-1 at The Riverside, before an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat against Blackburn.

Last year's 2-0 League victory was therefore very welcome, especially as we had gone three months without a home win in the Premiership. Defoe scored a cracker; Kanoute scored a comedy goal, and Arsenal lost on the same week-end as we won for the first time in two years. It was a good day!

The last time we played Middlesbrough at home in August was in 1979 (on my birthday!), when we lost 3-1 in the first match of the season. Glenn Hoddle scored for Spurs, but David Armstrong, Micky Burns and Yugoslavian Bozo Jankovic scored "Boro's third. All the goals came in the second half.

On the transfer front, there has not been drastic change by manager Steve McClaren. Boudewijn Zenden left, perhaps surprisingly, for Liverpool, whilst Yakubu was signed for a massive 7.5 million from Portsmouth, presumably to replace the slowing, more injury-prone Mark Viduka. Emanuel Pogatetz has also arrived for 1.8 million from Bayer Leverkusen. Pogatetz will offer competition for Quedrue at left back, although he can also play in the middle of defence. Trouble is Pogatetz got himself a 24 week ban for a leg-breaking (literally) tackle when playing for Spartak Moscow at the end of last season. He is appealing the ban, which does not apply to UEFA or FIFA games, but maybe he should have gone to Blackburn! Pogatetz may yet be available for this game, but centre-back Ugo Ehiogu will definitely miss the game after his sending-off kast week for a "professional foul".

"Boro" and Liverpool were both quite unadventurous in a 0-0 at The Riverside and perhaps McLaren's side will operate in a similar fashion this Saturday. It's up to Spurs then to break them down. Wayne Routledge's absence with a fracture in his foot may leave an opening for Aaron Lennon, but I think it more likely that Martin Jol will go for a consolidating midfield of Tainio on the right, with Carrick and Davids (or Mendes in the middle) and Reid on the left. Erik Edman is also a possible doubt, but Spurs have several options to cover at left back, including Stephen Kelly, Reto Ziegler, and even Goran Bunjevcevic.

I expect Defoe and Mido to operate up front, and whether or not Ledley and Naybet feature, I'm going for another 2-0 win for Spurs. We must look out though for Mendietta, Hasselbaink and of course Downing, who we tried to sign in the summer.

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