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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Leeds v Spurs, 12.02.2000

Last season's game - Leeds 2 Spurs 0, 10.03.99
This season's home game - Spurs 1 Leeds 2, 28.08.99
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This preview was written by Brian Judson

Full Record of Spurs -v- Leeds United

Prem           Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home            8   3   3   2    13-9   12
Away            7   1   2   4     4-12   5
Total (Prem)   15   4   5   6    17-21  17
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 (Prem)   15   4   5   6    17-21  17
Total (Div 1)  56  20  18  18    79-76  60
Total (Div 2)   8   4   2   2    13-9   10
Grand Total    79  28  25  26   109-106 87

This weekend's game at Elland Road against Leeds United will be one of the toughest games Spurs will have had to endure this season. We currently have only ONE fit striker on our books in the person of one Chris Armstrong, a player who has never been a prolific goalscorer in his career. Admittedly, he has lost two and a half seasons to injury but he has never been a player who has scared the opposing defences. It is likely therefore that Spurs will adopt a 4-5-1 line-up in the hope of frustrating Leeds. I would have been more sanguine about our chances at Elland Road had we had a striker like Clive Allen ........

Earlier this season, Spurs lost 2-1 at Tottenham against Leeds. We had played well in the first half, snatching a 38th minute lead when Freund's throw-in was headed on by Iversen for Sherwood to score. Ferdinand did not re-appear after the break and Spurs lost their shape. Smith equalised seven minutes after half-time and Ian Harte scored the winner with nine minutes left. Smith was sent off for a second bookable offence with three minutes to go. Nigel Martyn was in fine form that afternoon and denied Spurs on a number of occasions.

Last season, Spurs had drawn against Leeds 3-3 shortly after Christian Gross had been dismissed as Head Coach and speculation was rife that George Graham was going to be appointed as his successor. Halle and Vega had both scored from headers before Hasselbaink and Wijnhard had taken Leeds to a 3-1 lead. Iversen had reduced the arrears with 20 minutes to go and Campbell had nicked a very, very late equaliser.

The return game in the League came shortly after we had dismissed Leeds from the FA Cup, following a replay. They beat us 2-0 in March thanks to goals by Kewell and Smith.

Leeds, of course, led the Premier League table for a long period earlier this season but inexplicable defeats and dropped points have allowed Manchester United to catch them and establish a lead that is beginning to look unbridgeable. But there is no doubt in my mind that Leeds are potentially a side to dominate the League when Manchester United finally acknowledge they have met a better team. In David O'Leary, Leeds have potentially a manager who is capable of becoming one of the greatest team managers. He has served an apprenticeship and has guided Leeds to the top of the table for the first time since Howard Wilkinson was their manager. Most of the team have come from within their own ranks, unlike Chelsea or Arsenal, who have spent heavily. I have always thought the best team to have was a mixture of one's own players and one or two good buys. I think it is a mistaken policy to rely on the transfer market without trying to develop your own players.

There are very few links between Leeds and Tottenham. Leeds City, the team that the current Leeds club evolved from, were coached by a former Spurs player in the shape of one Herbert Chapman, who led Huddersfield Town to the treble championship victories in the 1920s, and then managed that rather anonymous North London club at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road from 1925 to 1934, when he died. Another link was Bert Sproston, who left Leeds after five years in the summer of 1938 but failed to settle at Tottenham and signed for Manchester City on the morning of their match with Spurs in November 1938 and played against them in the afternoon.

No one who saw the game will forget the most crucial fixture of the 79 games we have played against Leeds United on 28 April 1975. All the other clubs had concluded their season and we had to beat Leeds to survive in the old First Division.

Spurs snatched the lead in the 5th minute when Alfie Conn was fouled on the edge of the penalty area. Cyril Knowles scored from the resulting free-kick. Pat Jennings had to make two crucial saves from Joe Jordan to prevent Leeds from equalising.

Five minutes into the second half, Spurs grabbed a second goal. Knowles tapped a free-kick to Perryman. Conn's shot was saved but Chivers, recalled for the match, was on hand to force the ball home.

The game was made safe in the 63rd minute when Knowles scored from the penalty spot after Perryman had been upended by Cherry. Yet Leeds then scored when Jordan scored from a rebound off woodwork after Lorimer had made a 30-yard shot.

Conn restored our three-goal lead in the 75th minute when he took a pass from Chivers, rounded three men and scored from a seemingly impossible angle. Lorimer then reduced the arrears again but Spurs were safe. The stars of the night were Knowles and Osgood, who played on despite a head injury and continual pain from an ankle injury.

Unfortunately, for us, it was merely nemesis postponed!

Normally, I try to be optimistic about the outcome of our matches but Leeds has never been one of our happy hunting grounds. I can still remember the shock I felt when I heard that Spurs had WON 2-1 at Elland Road on 9 January 1971. The game was featured on Match of The Day and even after watching it, I still could not believe we had WON thanks to two brilliant goals by Chivers and a string of brilliant saves by Pat Jennings. It was one of those matches that simply defies logic and explanation. Had Leeds won that match, they would have been champions at the end of the season ........ and Arsenal would not have won the Double!

So, what will happen tomorrow? Leeds have been going through an inconsistent patch whilst we have not exactly set the world on fire. I will be surprised if we even snatch a point at Elland Road given that we very rarely seem to win up there. Our last win there was in May 1996 when we won 3-1, thanks to two goals from Darren Anderton and one from Chris Armstrong. We have only won 8 matches in 39 visits to Elland Road. It is difficult to believe things will be any different tomorrow!

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