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Spurs Odyssey FA Cup Rd 3 Preview - Spurs v Leicester, 10.01.16

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Previous Cup-ties with Leicester City

FA Cup

13-14 1  A   5-5  Bliss 2 Middlemiss Minter Cantrell
      1R H   2-0  Bliss Walden (as Leicester Fosse)
27-28 5  A   3-0  O'Callaghan 2 Dimmock
47-48 5  H   5-2  Duquemin 3 Cox 2
56-57 3  H   2-0  Blanchflower Robb
57-58 3  H   4-0  Smith 2 Stokes Medwin
60-61 F  W   2-0  R Smith Dyson
73-74 3  A   0-1
81-82 SF VP  2-0  Crooks, Wilson o.g
05-06 3  A   2-3  Jenas, Stalteri
14-15 4  H   1-2  Townsend (pen)

League Cup

98-99 F  W   1-0  Nielsen

Difficult start on the path to glory

Spurs fans don't really need reminding that this year will mark a full 25 years since we a) appeared in an FA Cup Final and b) managed to win the premier domestic cup trophy. At that time, we were the Kings of the Cup with 8 wins, 6 of them since the Second World War. Now, sadly, we have been overtaken by both Arsenal (12) and Man Utd (11).

Nowadays, teams give less and less importance to the FA Cup, due to the quest for Premier League glory or survival. Sunday's tie will be no different and both teams are chasing at least top four glory, if not admitting to a tilt at the title itself.

This year's Third Round draw brought a total of five all Premier League ties. Our meeting with Leicester will be the eleventh time the teams have been drawn together in this competition.

On such occasions, one has to mention the famous 1961 Double clinching win, the full story of which is told within Brian Judson's final article of our Double Season series. Goalscorer Bobby Smith used to tell the story of how he was so desperate to hide a knee injury from Bill Nicholson, and to play, that he crept out of the Spurs hotel at Hendon to see his own doctor for pain-killing injections no less than three times during the build-up to the big game.

Almost 10 years ago to the day, on January 8th, 2006, Martin Jol's Spurs went out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle at Leicester. We frittered away a two goal lead, given to us by Jermaine Jenas and Paul Stalteri. This had been Stalteri's first goal for Tottenham, and was a cracking solo effort finished with a 20 yard drive into the roof of the net. Stalteri only scored another two goals for Spurs, but one of those was that dramatic last minute goal at Upton Park in March 2007, when we won 4-3.

In that Third Round defeat, Leicester bounced back quickly, with a goal by substitute Elvis Hammond, before Hughes (57 mins) and De Vries (90 mins) sealed victory. Martin Jol gave us our shortest ever season that year. It consisted of just 40 games, as we went out of both cups at the first hurdle to lower league opponents.

Last year, Leicester came to White Hart Lane for a fourth round tie as Premier Leaue strugglers, but they went away with victory, thanks to an added time winner by Jeffrey Schlupp. Andros Townsend put us in the lead with a 19th minute penalty, but Leicester scored two late goals (the first came from Ulloa) to destroy our hopes of cup glory.

Last year, Leicester came to The Lane as bottom club, but this year they are two places above us, and have to be considered a real threat. One of their threats, joint-top Premier League scorer Jamie Vardy will be missing after having minor groin surgery. The initial report was that he may be out for up to two weeks, but I would not discount the possibility of him playing next Wednesday when we face the same opposition in a league fixture. Schlupp is another absentee, with a hamstring injury. That leaves Riyad Mahrez as Leicester's main threat, but so many of their team have been playing out of their skins this season, such as former Villa midfielder Marc Albrighton, neglected by former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson, but now fully integrated by Claudio Ranieri.

Both managers will probably want to rotate two or three players with next Wednesday in mind. I wonder if this could be a game for Andros Townsend to begin the road to redemption in the eyes of Pochettino. Townsend has been praised by his head coach for knuckling down and seeking game time with the under-21s, for whom he has played in their last five games. if he does not feature in this game, then a January transfer window exit surely beckons.

Nacer Chadli has been the subject of an official site interview, and he has yet to start a game since his return from injury. This will be an opportunity. Predicting the team is as difficult as ever in this situation, but I think we can look forward to both full backs being rotated, giving Trippier and Rose a start. Ryan Mason may also make his first appearance since November.

Those Spurs fans clamouring for Cup glory will be hoping for a strong team. It will be tough for whoever plays with plenty of away fans to cheer on their heroes. The game is being shown live on BBC 1, and is not yet sold out. I'll predict a 2-1 home win.

Referee Robert Madley was in charge of Wednesday night League Cup semi-final first leg between Everton and Man City. We last saw him for our 2-2 home draw against Stoke in August.

Did you know? - Bill Nicholson, who famously managed us to Double Victory, including that FA Cup win over Leicester, played in our February 1948 5-2 win over "The Foxes". Len "The Duke" Duquemin (3), and Freddie Cox (2 - 1 pen) were our scorers.

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