Tottenham Hotspur's Recent Form Against Newly Promoted Premier League Teams

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2012

Tottenham Hotspur's Recent Form Against Newly Promoted Premier League Teams

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    Last season's Championship winners Reading welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Madejski Stadium on Sunday as the London club face their first newly promoted side of the season.

    The easy assumption to make ahead of such fixtures would be that it is three automatic points for the team who have been flirting with Champions League football and the top four for the best part of five years.

    Tottenham supporters know better, and recent history backs this up.

    These games have been among Spurs' trickiest, and while no club can claim to be perfect against promoted sides, the White Hart Lane side have enough negative experiences to point to be nothing less than cautious against these teams.

    It hasn't all been negative though, and among the slip-ups and upsets, Spurs have demoralised a few plucky young upstarts with a comprehensive lesson in the realities of Premier League football.

    Andre Villas-Boas and his team will be hoping for the latter this weekend as they look to kick-start their stuttering campaign.

2011/12: Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City

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    Like Tottenham's season itself, it was pretty much a tale of two halves when it came to their form against the year's new arrivals in the Premier League.

    Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City were dismantled quite comprehensively in October and December respectively, while even the 1-1 draw away at Swansea City on New Year's Eve wasn't a bad point considering the Welsh club's tremendous form at the Liberty Stadium.

    Swansea were comfortably beaten 3-1 in the return game, goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor confirming a win that was hoped had signified an end to the spring slump that allowed Arsenal to catch them up following Spurs' disastrous 5-2 loss at the end of February.

    Instead Norwich and then QPR won in consecutive games that all but killed Spurs hopes of holding onto third place in the face of the reinvigorated Gunners.

    The Canaries were good money for their 2-1 win in the game which gave Ledley King the surest sign yet his injuries were finally getting the better of him, City's Grant Holt giving him as rough an afternoon he ever endured.

    Almost two weeks later the tight confines of Loftus Road made for a hostile atmosphere that Spurs never looked comfortable in, as Rangers put in a suitably ugly and gritty display (of which they had delivered far too few as relegation threatened) to take all three points.

    With former Spur Adel Taarabt scoring the solitary goal, it is easy to imagine Harry Redknapp feeling a pang of regret he was unable to find a way of getting the best out of the mercurial, potentially brilliant Moroccan.

2010/11: Blackpool, Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion

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    Tottenham Hotspur only played two of the promoted teams before the turn of the year this season.

    West Bromwich Albion held them to a 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns early on just prior to the turn of the year, Spurs got the better of Newcastle United thanks to goals from wing duo Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale sealing the win.

    The two sides drew at St James Park less than a month later, Lennon scoring an injury time equaliser to seal what might have been deemed a valuable point had his side been able to build on the late escape.

    While Spurs enjoyed a fine beginning to February, winning three games in a row, they came unstuck at their first meeting of the campaign with Blackpool as Ian Holloway's side picked up a memorable 3-1 victory.

    After this Spurs only regained their form when it was too late for them to earn a return to the top four and a chance to repeat their escapades in the Champions League.

    That was in part down to the efforts of West Brom and Blackpool, who each came to White Hart Lane and took a point.

    The game against the Baggies was especially frustrating for Spurs who, after going a goal down to Peter Odemwingie's opener, fought back to take a 2-1 lead...only to then take their foot off the gas and allow Simon Cox the freedom of north London to curl in a spectacular equaliser.

2009/10: Birmingham City, Burnley, Wolverhampton Wanderers

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    Wolverhampton Wanderers' form in their return to the top flight may have had supporters of the Black Country club thinking the 2009/10 season might well have been the beginning of something great.

    Performances like their two 1-0 victories over Tottenham played a significant part in them finishing eight points above the drop, and spoke of a side back where they belong.

    Sadly for Wolves it was all downhill after this year.

    While Spurs have had a lot of reasons to enjoy the two seasons that followed this one, they have never been quite as consistently good since.

    With that said, their results against the newly promoted teams were a little on the inconsistent side.

    Burnley were thrashed 5-0 at White Hart Lane in September, with Robbie Keane scoring four times in his last great game as a Lilywhite (Jermaine Jenas the other).

    Going into the final game of the season, Spurs were safely in fourth while the home side were relegated, but the Clarets came from behind to win 4-2 and depart the Premier League with some pride.

    Against Birmingham it was the late show in both games.

    Just as some Spurs fans were leaving White Hart Lane frustrated at dropping points, Lennon took Roman Pavlyuchenko's well crafted assist to score a tremendous winner with seconds to spare.

    Liam Ridgewell returned the favor just over five months later, volleying in to give the Blues a 1-1 draw.

2008/09: Hull City, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion

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    Tottenham miserable start to a 2008/09 campaign that so much hope had gone into was in large part down to the Premier League's new arrivals.

    Hull City followed up a memorable 1-0 win away at Arsenal by beating their north London rivals by the same score in October.

    A couple of weeks later a disastrous performance away at Stoke City saw Spurs lose 2-1, with Bale and Michael Dawson being sent off in the process, the result all but ending Juande Ramos' tenure as manager as his side remained winless after eight games.

    Redknapp fared little better initially, as his new side went down 2-0 to West Brom just before the turn of the year.

    The return fixture against Stoke brought a measure of revenge for Spurs and a vital three points, their 3-1 win bringing an end to a run of six games without victory.

    Just under a month later Redknapp's side went to Hull and beat them 2-1 in a win that saw the tide begin to turn on what had been a struggle of a season up until then.

    Lennon had given Spurs the lead before Michael Turner drew the home team level, and with just over five minutes remaining in normal time Jonathan Woodgate headed the vital winner.

    By the time West Brom visited White Hart Lane, Spurs were safe, Jenas grabbing the solitary goal as he and his team-mates went on to secure a respectable eighth-place finish.