Monday, December 26, 2011

Preview - Spurs Record at Norwich

Tottenham play catch up again as they travel to Norwich for an evening kick-off at the end of the second set of matches for the Christmas/New Year period.  Norwich have made a favourable impression on their return to the Premier League following an absence of six seasons.

Norwich City were last in the Premier League in season 2004 - 05, a one season sojourn before returning to the Championship.  They won automatic promotion last season as runners-up to champions QPR and are currently the highest of the three promoted teams in ninth position with 21 points.  They've gained 14 of those points at Carrow Road with four wins and two draws.  Their only home defeats have been against Arsenal (1 - 2) having taken a first half lead and WBA who took an early lead and held out for the next 87 minutes.  In their last home match they defeted Newcastle United 4 - 2 with goals from Wes Hoolahan, Grant Holt (2) and Steve Morison.

Norwich started their season with a draw at Wigan (1 - 1) and followed it with a home draw with Stoke City.  Following defeat at Chelsea and at home to West Brom their first win of the season came at Bolton.  They then won their first home game against Sunderland (2 - 1).  Swansea City lost 1 - 3 at Carrow Road and then Blackburn took a point home from a six goal thriller at Norwich.  Since the home defeat to Arsenal they have enjoyed home success against QPR (2 - 1) and Newcastle.  After a difficult start to life in the Premier League they have shown a resilience, an attacking spirit and a work ethic for which they have been rewarded, especially at home.

Their leading goal scorer is Holt with 7 Premier League goals but Morision is close behind with 6.  Anthony Pilkington has four goals.

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John Ruddy in goal has impressed for Norwich, especially when the team earned a point at Anfield in mid-October, thanks to his display.  Tottenham's Kyle Naughton will be missing from the team as he is ineligible while on loan from Spurs, although he is also suspended for five bookings - convenient.  He has established himself as regular in the team and is gaining good Premier League experience which hopefully will be of benefit to him on his return to White Hart Lane. Norwich are a hard working, well organised team who give their all in every game without any 'star' names.  They are making the most of this opportunity in the Premier League and their manager Paul Lambert knows that they must continue in a similar vein throughout the season to avoid an instant return to the Championship, the fate that befell them when they last won promotion.

Tottenham's Record at Norwich
Totenham have visited Carrow Road on four occasions in the Premier League with a record of three wins and a draw.  The last two matches were on Boxing Day and ended with Spurs winning 2 - 0.  In 2004 Robbie Keane and Michael Brown were the scorers, while in 1994 the goals came from Nicky Barmby and Teddy Sheringham.  The previous April, Spurs won 2 - 1 and Sheringham scored again.  The other goal was an own goal.  On Boxing Day, 1992 the clubs played out a scoreless draw.    

The overall League record:

P  24  W  8  D  6  L  10  For  32  Ag  36

As can be seen, Spurs record in the Premier League matches has improved the overall record which is not too impressive.  Matches have been close but Norwich have had the upper hand.  

In August, 1991 a Gary Lineker goal was enough to earn Spurs the points but the previous April Spurs lost 1 - 2, a few days ahead of their FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal.  The most notable aspect of the game was the return of Paul Gascoigne after missing five games following an operation.  Gascoigne was using this game to test out his fitness for the weekend's big match.  That Spurs lost was an irrelevance at the time and that John Hendry scored his first goal on his League debut for Spurs and that Ian Walker and Peter Garland also made their debuts has largely been forgotten.

The first League meeting between the clubs was in season 1935 - 36 in the 2nd Division.  Spurs lost by the only goal of the game on their first League visit to Norfolk in April, 1936.  The following season they won their first League match at Carrow Road - Johnny Morrison scoring a hat-trick in their 3 - 2 success.

Having met in four consecutive seasons up to 1939, the clubs didn't meet again in League football until Norwich won promotion to the 1st Division in 1972 when Norwich won 2 - 1, Martin Chivers scoring Spurs only goal.

Spurs eventually managed a win in March, 1978, their relegation season.  Goals from John Pratt, Gerry Armstrong and Peter Taylor gave them a 3 - 1 win.

On gaining promotion after a year's absence, it took Spurs seven attempts before winning at Carrow Road.  In December, 1994, Tony Galvin and Garth Crooks scored the goals as Spurs won two nil.

Norwich have proved difficult opponents for Spurs teams in the past and the current Spurs team can expect a difficult evening with a team prepared to battle against them in an effort to put them out of their stride.  The good news for Spurs is that Rafael Van der Vaart has recovered from injury and is expected to play.


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