last game at Filbert Street becomes the last game in the Premier League
for Leicester City. How sad. The Foxes have been getting
away with it for many years, but in the end, they have been found out
and the move to a shiny new stadium will herald a new era for the club
... in Division One. It will not be easy for them to get back
quickly either as many side have found of late. Especially as they
might have to sell off stars to fund replacements and additions to their
squad. And Robbie Savage won't even be able to wind Spurs players
and fans on from the pitch as he is suspended.
The rot set in a while
ago at Leicester. Turning over managers as quickly as they have
done (although not all their own doing) has seen a succession of players
coming and going under Brian Little, Mark McGhee, Martin O'Neill and
Peter Taylor. When Dave Bassett and Micky Adams came in, you knew
it was the last throw of the dice to a certain extent. The man who
has escaped relegation so often has a reputation for pulling clubs out
of the mire, but this time, they have sunk, getting the ticket to the
Nationwide in the early month of March. His lack of options and
injuries at the wrong times have hindered him, but the lack of quality
in depth has hit them hard. Peter Taylor was sacked basically for
signing Ade Akinbiyi, as he became the talisman of Taylor's transfer
dealings. As he failed to hit the target, so Taylor slipped wider
of the mark with the Leicester fans. His dismissal was nothing
more than bowing to supporter pressure. He will take the brunt of
the blame for them going down, with the new management saying they had
little chance after the bad start, but who knows what would have
happened. Taylor did a good job there the season before and also
has done well with Brighton before jumping ship there.
So, what of the players
who will be expected to raise some cash for them if sold or help them
out of the First Division ?? Well, former Spurs keeper Ian Walker
has already been linked with Man. City and Everton. City have
signed Schmeichel, so he won't be going there, bit Everton might
consider him an available option to Gerrard and Simonsen. He's
been one of the better players at Leicester this season, but he is still
suspect on crosses and can be prone to lose his position with efforts
from long range. Behind him, Simon Royce has fallen from grace and
is only a sub as Tim Flowers is going to Coventry.
With Matt Elliott and
Gerry Taggart (as well as Gary Rowett) out for long periods of the
season, the two pillars of the City defence have been missed .
Having to rely on Lee Marshall (not really a defender), Frank Sinclair,
Alan Rogers and Callum Davidson. Not the most frightening line-up
to face if you are a Premiership forward. Jacob Laursen was
brought in from Denmark, but has returned from whence he came. The
traditional back four have been ripped apart on the flanks quite often
and Spurs could reap the benefits of Simon Davies and Darren Anderton
working the lines.
Muzzy Izzet's on-off move
to Boro' has disrupted his season as much as the injuries he has had,
but he remains an important player in the middle of the park for
Leicester. His replacement, Stefan Oakes, might play instead for
the suspended Savage (who won't be missed by Spurs fans), alongside
Upfront we are likely to
face the pairing of young Matthew Piper and little ex-Gooner (and
possessor of one of the more exotic names in the league) Paul Dickov.
Neither can compare to the internationals that play week in, week out up
and down the country, but they battle hard and Piper might be more
difficult in that he is a bit unknown to the Spurs defence.
However, having seen him for their reserves, he is athletic, has a
little bit of pace, but is lightweight, so should be adequately
marshalled by our back line. Trevor Benjamin is a strong forward
who is good in the air and might be considered, but he has not made a
great impact since his signing from Cambridge United.
The number of players
absent that had hindered Taylor and now Bassett continues to deny
Leicester of their first choices. Brian Deane has a hamstring pull
that will keep him out for the rest of the season, as will Jordan
Stewart with a shoulder injury. Defender Gerry Taggart and
midfielders Matthew Jones and Darren Eadie have all been sufferers from
knee knocks and will be out for this match (and some far beyond).
Others doubtful for the match include Dennis Wise (thigh),
Davidson (strain), a pelvic injury for Jamie Scowcroft and Andy Impey
with his damaged knee.
For Tottenham, if they
play like they did against Liverpool (no guarantee of that though), they
should run out winners reasonably easily. Davies should cause
plenty of problems and Sheringham will be able to pull the City defence
all over the place, but there will need to be someone to put the chances
away though !! Poyet might be given the space he needs to get
forward, but unfortunately, with him not even being able to command a
place on the bench against Liverpool, we might have seen the last of
Sergei Rebrov in a Spurs shirt, so goalscoring duties might fall to
Iversen on his own. Let's hope he can do the job and help Spurs to
a win ...
PREDICTION : -
Leicester City 1 Tottenham 3
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
|Leicester City 2
Tottenham 1 (Half time score: 0-0)
|FA PREMIER LEAGUE
|Saturday 11th May 2002
|Venue : Filbert
|Kick Off : 3.00 p.m.
|Weather : - Dry,
|Crowd : - 21,716
- Mr. D. Elleray (Harrow)
Scorers : - Leicester City - Dickov
60, Piper 71
Tottenham - Sheringham (pen) 53
: Walker; Sinclair, Elliott, Ashton (Stevenson 58), Marshall;
Izzett (Williamson 90), ; Piper, Dickov (Taggart 76).
Unused Subs : - Royce, Reeves
Tottenham : Keller;
Thatcher, Gardner, Perry, Tarrico; Clemence (Doherty 74), Anderton,
Poyet, Davies (Etherington 72); Sheringham, Iversen
Unused Subs : - Sullivan, Leonhardsen, Rebrov
: Blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks
: White shirts,
navy shorts, white socks
From the start of the game, with the carnival
atmosphere going on amongst the home supporters, the teams looked like
they were taking part in a pre-season friendly or testimonial. For
the rest of the game, it was only when Tottenham took the lead that
Leicester managed to rouse themselves enough to take the points from the
grasp of a lethargic Spurs side.
Many of the Spurs players were anonymous
during the match, adding a new dimension to the phrase "end of season
game". The stroll with some good passing movements as there
were few tackles flying in, was a useful work out to get fit for the
coming season, but didn't really signify the urgency there should have
been from Tottenham, who could have secured seventh position with a win,
but failed and dropped two places like a stone (who turned in a decent
performance for the Villa side who leapfrogged us into eighth).
With a few efforts on goal from either
side, few moments of excitement occurred. Clemence was set up by
Poyet to slide a shot past Walker's goalpost, while a weak visit by
Sheringham caused the former Spurs keeper little trouble. When
Iversen smashed a shot about ten feet over the bar, it was symptomatic of
the goal-scoring malaise that hit the team when faced with a white
rectangle with netting behind it.
There were chances either side of the
half-time period for ex-Gooner Dickov, but he followed Iversen's lead by
clearing the bar with both of them, with Izzett marking his last Foxes'
appearance doing the same. When an Anderton corner was cleared to
Clemence, he tried to weave his way into the penalty area, but was floored
by Marshall's tackle and the ref pointed to the spot. Teddy stepped
up to plant the penalty past his old team-mate in the Leicester goal.
It was a lead that Tottenham should have
gone on to extend, as they were the better team up to this point and
Leicester had looked like the relegated team that they are. However,
as with the usual pattern of a Tottenham game, the home side were allowed
back into the match and Spurs were pushed back towards their own
goal. Letting City take the initiative meant that the ball entered
our box too often, with the inevitable consequences happening.
Marshall was desperate to atone for his
earlier misdemeanour and made a burst into the box, but was stopped by
Chris Perry's block. However, the ball came off him and dropped
invitingly into the path of Dickov, who struck it firmly, first time, past
Keller. The lead lasted just over five minutes and the game swung
the way of the Nationwide bound club, as we sat back expecting to be able
to soak up the pressure.
With just about 10 minutes left, the ball
was swung over from Rogers' throw in and a header at the near post got to
Piper in the middle of the goal and he dived in to head his first ever
goal for his team. The game petered out into a home win and lots of
lost money from the falling placement by Spurs.
Keller had no chance with either goal,
while the rest of the defence didn't do much wrong, but hardly impressed
against a weak and inexperienced side. Gardner looked OK
though. Midfield, Davies apart, were ponderous and lacked urgency,
while Sheringham dropped deep, leaving Iversen up front on his own.
He needs a partner, as he is not in possession of a good touch or the
strength to hold the ball up.
It is disappointing that the same team who
beat Liverpool could lose to a team who have won only four games
previously this season. The old Tottenham inconsistency has cost us
once again and although sixth place is a long way off, just think back to
stupid pints that have been thrown away since August 2001 and that will
explain why we ended in ninth.
|MEHSTG TOP MAN :
- SIMON DAVIES
|While mugs like us are still
trying to get the best out of the dying embers of another transitional
season, the players were either in Japan/Korea or on some golden strand
somewhere in their heads. That can be the only reason why they
played like they did in this loss at the home of Leicester City, which
would be the last match at the venue.
I suppose it is a bit better than
last year. We were half as bad as losing 4-2 then and 2-1 now is
an improvement, but it still amounts to the same = 0 points. And a
loss of about £700,000. As this defeat cost us the chance to
finish in seventh place, with both West Ham and Aston Villa creeping
above us. Now for all those who know fans of these two clubs, even
the summer will be unbearable. And for goodness sake, these are
two clubs that have been in turmoil for one reason and another this
season. When not being able to beat Blackburn Rovers to get into
Europe wasn't bad enough, not being able to take three points off
Leicester City at their own ground (which most other clubs have done
like taking candy off a baby), then Hod needs to look carefully at who
in the side should be there and who shouldn't.
There was little to get excited
about really. Leicester fans were bizarrely celebrating their
relegation and Spurs fans were muted until we scored. Then the
tables turned and the home fans were noisy again.
Clem hit the post, Davies drove
over, Ted brought a couple of saves from the the rejuvenated
Walker. One brought about the corner that was swung over and
cleared to Clemence, who darted into the box, only to be brought down by
Marshall near the edge of the area. Mr. Elleray said it was inside
and Teddy dispatched the penalty past Walker's dive.
Then things started to go
awry. Perry halted Marshall's charge into the area, but the ball
fell perfectly for Dickov to strike a powerful drive past Keller's
outstretched arm. Then Piper popped up, having lost Thatcher, to
nod home in the middle of the six yard box.
I suppose this was a return to
the charitable Tottenham of yesteryear. Last game in the Prem,
last game at old ground ... well, it is the least we could
No doubt some of the faces will
change during the summer, but the one real change we need is the one
that turns the players into a clinical side, capable of beating poor
sides like Leicester. The should have the skill, but they need to
have the application to bring home more points from these sort of
games. With only three more points, we could have been sitting in
seventh place, but even that was 13 behind Chelsea in sixth.
It looks like being a long hard
summer for Hoddle and one in which he needs to be busy to bring about a
new approach by the players.
So, so long Leicester, so long
Filbert Street, may it be a long time before we see your likes again.