This match looked set to be the most interesting fixture on the final day of the Premier League season for months. Newcastle have been fighting relegation, while Spurs were challenging for the title. However, it is now a dead rubber, as both of these clubs have seen their fate sealed. The only slight point of interest this weekend is that Spurs need a point or more to ensure that they finish above local rivals to Arsenal.
Newcastle United will be playing their last Premier League match for some time, as they were relegated on Wednesday, after Sunderland easily beat Everton to secure their own survival. This has been a result of poor management and a lack of direction from the board. Mike Ashley has made a lot of more decisions and this relegation is completely deserved. The decision to bring in Rafa Benitez was made far too late, leaving the Spaniard with a near impossible task. The club now need to focus on preparing for a long slog in the Championship and promotion is a must. They are holding talks with Benitez about retaining the services of the Spaniard, which are believed to be going well.
Tottenham have had a good season, overachieving in the eyes on many, but its being largely ignored due to the incredible success of Leicester. Mauricio Pochettino has agreed a new deal, which is great for a club starting to build something special. The youthful nature of the squad and the quality coming through the academy spells for an exciting future ahead. Next season, they will need to add quality in one or two areas to guarantee that the club can challenge in the league and the Champions League. They will be hoping for a victory to sign off the campaign and clinch second position.
In the last meeting between the clubs this season, Newcastle sprang a surprise to beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane for the third season in a row. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez scored for the Magpies, while Eric Dier put the home side ahead in the first half. In the corresponding fixture from last season, Spurs ran out 3-1 winners in the North East. The goals being scored by Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. Jack Colback grabbed the goal for the hosts.
Newcastle will be without Tim Krul, Rob Elliot, Fabricio Coloccini and Massadio Haidara. Aleksandar Mitrovic is likely to start ahead of Papiss Cisse, who has been disappointing recently. A number of players are likely to be playing their last game for the club following relegation.
Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli will be suspended this weekend, while Nabil Bentaleb is injured and will miss out.
Despite their relegation, Newcastle are unbeaten in five matches, having kept three clean sheets. This shows the impact Benitez has made, and he could have kept them up given more time.
All five of Tottenham’s losses have come when Mousa Dembele hasn’t been in the side.
Andros Townsend will be motivated to put in what will probably be his last match in a Newcastle shirt, as it is rumoured he has a £7m release clause in his contract. The England squad will be announced on Monday, and with Danny Welbeck’s injury, Townsend has a great chance of being in the squad, or at least on standby. Theo Walcott, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all been poor this season, while Townsend has been great since joining Newcastle. He is direct, and likes to run at defenders, and as he has confidence at the moment, he is at his most effective. Townsend’s ability to score from range is well known to English fans, and he has also added quality from set pieces. England aren’t spoilt for quality set piece takers, which is why I feel Townsend should be in the running for a spot on the plane. Newcastle will be hoping to leave the Premier League with a good performance, and Townsend is central to that.
Harry Kane is going into the final day as one of three players capable of winning the golden boot. He leads both Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy by one goal, but he will be confident of scoring at least one against a poor Newcastle defence. This season has confirmed that Kane is one of the most talented players coming through in the English system at the moment as he has led Tottenham to Champions League football for the first time in years. He has the potential to grow into a world class player and will be hoping to do so under the stewardship of Pochettino. The one thing about Kane this season that has caught the eye is his ability to score goals out of nothing. His goal in the North London derby was particularly special and he will be wanting to finish his season with a bang in the North East.
I expect the atmosphere to be amazing at St James Park on Sunday with fans chanting for Rafa Benitez to stay on next season. This may resonate with the Spaniard and be the key piece in him deciding to stay and lead the rebuild. There have been jokes about Benitez going from Real Madrid to the Championship in a season on social media, but Newcastle are a sleeping giant and the project is one that excites him. The game is likely to be a typical end of the season affair, packed with goals and entertainment. I think the result will be a score draw.