Apart from a sneaky triumph in the FA Cup in 1999, you have to go back over four years to find Spurs’ last win over Leeds United at either ground. The Yorkshiremen have won seven of the last eight league meetings between the two, and with Leeds firmly challenging for the Premiership title in 2001-02, it hardly seems like an attractive fixture for the visitors this time around.
The results that Leeds have been getting so far this term have made all and sundry wonder just what would have been had they not had such a poor start to the 2000-01 campaign. Eventually having hit top gear after Christmas it was simply too late for David O’Leary’s side to mount a realistic challenge for the title, but without the distraction of so many Champions League matches they are firmly on course this time around.
Spurs meanwhile have had an inconsistent start to the campaign. Glenn Hoddle was doubtless hoping for a shot at European qualification in his first full season in charge, and although certain results have gone against them things appear to be on the right track.
In some respects, however, the north London club need to sort things out. They have managed to score 18 goals already, but their shooting accuracy of 35% is the joint-lowest in the division, resulting in more shots heading high and wide of the mark than from the boots of any other side. If more of their attempts on goal were struck cleanly, there can be little doubt that an assault on the top four would be attainable.
With O’Leary choosing to stick with his first choice pairing of Robbie Keane and Mark Viduka for most matches this season, Leeds have found it harder than expected to score so far. In fact, with just 13 goals to date they have scored fewer than every other side in the top half of the table, making it fairly plain that the secret of their success is not in attack.
In fact everyone is aware of the real success at Elland Road. United’s defence has been tighter than a fish’s bum so far this term — they have conceded half as many goals as the side with the second-best defensive record in the division, which is a remarkable record ten games into the campaign.
Considering Leeds’ lowly scoring record and the wastefulness of the Spurs attack, it seems unlikely that this will be a thrilling match with both ‘keepers looking behind them more than in front. However, throw the extraordinary defending of Rio Ferdinand and co. into the mix, and Leeds look the more likely to sneak the win. www.SpursBet.co.uk are offering 6/1 on a 1-0 win for the home side, to keep them very much in touch at the top.