Tottenham travel to Wales to play Cardiff City in the League for the first time since September, 1977. It will be their first meeting in the Premier League but since last playing in the League the two clubs have been drawn together in Cup competitions on two occasions.
The teams have met in the league at Cardiff’s old Ninian Park ground on 20 occasions but this will their first game at Cardiff’s new City of Cardiff Stadium which they moved in to in 2009. Of the 20 matches, to date, 14 have been in the old 1st Division with 6 in the 2nd Division.
P 20 W 10 D 5 L 5 For 24 Ag 14
Spurs’ away record against Cardiff is identical to their home record in terms of matches won, lost and drawn.
Last League Match at Cardiff
The last League game was in September, 1977 as Spurs adjusted to life in the 2nd Division for the first time since winning promotion in the 1949-50 season. It was their fourth match of the season and Spurs had won their opening two home games but had been held to a scoreless draw at Hull City. Cardiff had played two matches – a home draw with Bristol Rovers but a three goal defeat at Blackburn.
The match ended scoreless as Spurs maintained their undefeated record in a season where they were to finish third and gain promotion while Cardiff battled against relegation to finish 19th, one place and one point above the dreaded ‘drop’.
Spurs Team: Daines; Naylor, Holmes; Hoddle, Osgood, Perryman; Pratt, McNab, Duncan, Chris Jones, Taylor
Last Meeting in 1st Division
January, 1962 v Cardiff (a) Draw 1 – 1 Mackay
The season after Tottenham’s Double success, Spurs were 2nd in the table when they met Cardiff in mid-January. Cardiff were 12th but only 3 points above the relegation zone. The Tottenham team included three Welshmen – Mel Hopkins, Terry Medwin and Cliff Jones – and the recently signed Jimmy Greaves but were missing the inspiration of Scottish international, John White, who had flu.
In a scoreless first half, with Greaves marked tightly, Spurs were fortunate when Ron Henry cleared a shot off the line and Mel Hopkins handled the ball in the penalty area without the referee seeing him. Dave Mackay put Spurs ahead after 5 minutes of the second half with a fierce drive from a partially cleared corner. Cardiff fought back and drew level from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining. This increased Cardiff’s efforts but Spurs defence held out.
The draw didn’t do either club any favours – Spurs finished 3rd behind Ipswich while Cardiff were 21st, a point from safety.
Team: Brown; Hopkins, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Medwin, Greaves, Allen, Clayton, Jones
Tottenham’s last Win in Cardiff
April, 1957 v Cardiff City (a) Won 3 – 0 Dunmore, Brooks, Dyson
When the teams met Spurs were 3rd in the League, three points behind 2nd placed Preston but seven behind leaders, Manchester United. Cardiff were 20th, two points ahead of Portsmouth who had a match in hand. Terry Dyson was the ‘star’ for Spurs who tormented Cardiff throughout. Dyson was only in the team due to an injury to regular winger, George Robb. After the match the winger obviously appreciated his opportunity and was reported in the press, saying,
It’s great to have scored two Saturdays running. It’s great to be in the first team at all.
Dyson had put Spurs ahead after 19 minutes, scoring from a pass by Tommy Harmer. Cardiff missed an opportunity to level failing to take advantage of an incorrect award of a penalty for handball against Danny Blanchflower. Spurs other goals were added by Dave Dunmore and Johnny Brooks in the second half. Spurs finished the season as runners-up to United while Cardiff suffered relegation.
Team: Reynolds; Baker, Hopkins; Blanchflower, Norman, Marchi; Medwin, Harmer, Dunmore, Brooks, Dyson
The 3 – 0 win in 1957 is Spurs’ largest margin of victory at Cardiff, a score line they have achieved on one other occasion – in a 2nd Division match in September, 1947. Spurs had three points from 4 games and were in 14th position. Cardiff were undefeated with 6 points and in 3rd position. Spurs showed an unexpected improvement in form to run out comfortable winners. Centre forward, Len Duquemen scored twice and Les Bennett got the other goal.
1st League Meeting
The first League meeting was on the opening day of season 1921-22. Cardiff had been elected into the Football League for the first time a year previously. They finished 2nd in the 2nd Division to win promotion at the first attempt. At the end of August, Spurs, the FA Cup holders, were Cardiff’s first opponents in a 1st Division game and the first at Ninian Park. Unfortunately for Cardiff, such a momentous occasion didn’t end with a result in their favour, Spurs proving ‘party-poopers’ with a 1 – 0 victory. Spurs team was the one which had won the Cup the previous season with the goal coming from Jimmy Banks.
As was the norm in those days, that clubs met on consecutive weekends, Spurs and Cardiff met the following weekend at White Hart Lane with Spurs recording a comfortable 4 – 1 victory. Spurs finished runners-up to Liverpool at the end of the season and Cardiff had an impressive debut season, finishing 4th, three points behind Spurs.
In their first seven League matches at Ninian Park Spurs won on five occasions with two defeats. They followed their initial success with a 3 – 2 victory the following year. They suffered their first defeat in April, 1924 losing 2 – 1. They then had three successive victories before losing 2 – 1 in October, 1927, the season which brought the series of games to an end as Spurs were relegated at the end of that season.
The teams met up again in 1928-29 in the 2nd division as Cardiff were relegated the season after Spurs, having been promoted a season after them in 1921.
Spurs and Cardiff met for the next two seasons but Cardiff suffered relegation to the Third Division (South) and they weren’t to meet again until after the War in 1947-48. Spurs promotion in May, 1949 brought the run of matches to an end but Cardiff joined them in Division 1 in 1952. They met for five consecutive seasons but Cadiff were again relegated but returned to the top flight for two seasons in August, 1960.
The Double Season
In that Double winning season Cardiff were one of the teams to take two points from Spurs with a win at Ninian Park in Match, 1961. It was a busy period for Spurs with FA Cup matches to play. They had drawn at Sunderland the previous Saturday and then won the replay at White Hart Lane in mid-week. The match in Cardiff started well with Spurs going ahead through Dyson after four minutes. The home side equalised quickly but Les Allen put Spurs ahead again, a lead they held at the interval. In the second half, Cardiff scored twice in less than a minute to take the points.
The following season Cardiff were relegated and the clubs have gone very different ways since then bar a brief re-acquaintance in the 2nd Division in 1977-78. Now Cardiff have returned to the top-flight after many years of hardship and difficulties, they will want to make a lasting impression in their first season in the Premier League, having won promotion as Champions.
Tottenham need to be prepared to battle to ensure their right to play football against a Cardiff team who will be very motivated for today’s game.
Cardiff had the best home record in the Championship last season and are unbeaten in their last nine league matches at Cardiff City Stadium, winning three and 6 draws. They defeated Manchester City 3 – 2 in their opening home game in the Premier League.
Steven Caulker and Fraizer Campbell will feel they have a point to prove against Tottenham. Caulker left White Hart Lane in the summer to get regular first team football while Campbell had a season loan with Spurs. Cardiff have brought out the best in Fraizer who scored twice against City and they also have the experience of Craig Bellamy playing for his hometown club which means a great deal to him. Cardiff also expect to have David Marshall, their first choice goalkeeper, back following injury. Cardiff will be well prepared and backed by their fanatical fans Spurs can expect a difficult afternoon and will need to be fully focused.
The injuries picked up in last Thursday’s Europa League have left only Danny Rose unlikely to play. Younes Kaboul and Mousa Dembele should be available if required. In the absence of Rose, Jan Vertonghen could play at left back with either Kaboul or new signing Vlad Chiriches playing alongside Michael Dawson. An alternative would be for Kyle Naughton to play on the left as he did at times last season. Aaron Lennon and Nacer Chaldi are still recovering from injury so Andros Townsend will probably return on the right wing.
It could be a difficult afternoon for Spurs – Cardiff will be up for the game, totally committed and still buoyed by the early season motivation of playing in the the Premier League and come the end of the day, Spurs might be satisfied with a point. Motivation for Spurs would be that a win would see them return to second place in the League following Liverpool’s defeat while a good win could possibly take them to top spot.
Yesterday’s results should be a clear warning to spurs that they can’t take anything for granted. Liverpool expected to beat Southampton at Anfield and Newcastle took newly promoted Hull City to lightly at St. James’ Park so Spurs need to be properly prepared mentally for a tough match at the City of Cardiff Stadium. it’s the result of matches like this which will determine how successful a season Tottenham will have.