Newcastle United welcome Tottenham to St James’ Park on Sunday for their Premier League clash. The two sides are in very different positions heading into the game. Theoretically, Newcastle United’s season is over and their players are mentally already on holiday. However, 5 losses on the bounce threaten to throw them into the relegation battle late on as teams below them manage to pick up points here and there. Less than the magic 40 points should be enough to stay up this year, but, Newcastle’s 35 points could be too low and they’d be tempting fate if they didn’t make a serious effort to add to that sooner rather than later. Alternatively, Spurs were in a very tight hunt for the final Champions League spot, until a couple of weeks ago. A 0-0 with Burnley and a sore 1-0 defeat at home to Sherwood’s Villa puts them in 7th, 7 points off City in 4th with 6 games remaining. That may be too big a gap to make up in the time left, but it would be an effort worth making for Spurs rather than have their season go flat, when at one point it looked to hold a lot of potential. Spurs will want to get back to winning ways, as will their opponents who are in danger of matching their worst ever league run if they lose again on Sunday (that would be 6 in a row).
Newcastle are currently lumbered with one of the more extensive injury lists in the league. Long term absentees; Cheick Tiote (6 weeks), Jake Alnwick (6 weeks), Massadio Haidara (6 weeks) and Steven Taylor (6 months) will continue to miss out. Summer signing Siem De Jong and full-back Paul Dummett are not set to return to action for another 2 weeks, however De Jong completed 45 minutes for the U21s recently and has a chance of making the match day squad. Meanwhile, youngster Rolando Aarons, who had been impressing for the Magpies this season, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a hamstring injury. Captain Fabricio Coloccini will return to the side after serving his 3 match ban. However, Moussa Sissoko and Papisse Cisse will both miss out as they continue to serve their respective bans.
Kyle Walker’s return to the Spurs side is yet to be confirmed. The England full-back has been out since picking up an injury against Burnley a couple of weeks back with Vlad Chirches debuting at full-back in his absence, a theme that could continue in the meeting at St James’ Park. Spurs’ only other concerns for the game are Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen, Lloris hasn’t played since a wound on his knee picked up in the game against Leicester City hasn’t fully healed. Meanwhile, Belgian centre-back Jan Vertonghen missed out on their defeat last week to Aston Villa after failing to recover from an illness. The hope for Spurs will be there are both fit as they will not want a repeat of their defeat to Villa last week.
- Newcastle have on lost 1 of their last meetings with Tottenham at St James’ Park. Winning 5 and the other 2 ending in draws.
- Newcastle have won none of their last 5 league fixtures.
- Spurs have gone 202 minutes since their last away goal in the League.
- The last time the two sides met at St James’ Spurs ran out 4-0 winners.
- In the previous 146 meetings between the sides, Spurs have managed 62 victories while Newcastle have won 53.
- First meeting between the two was back in November 1909 at Newcastle. The Magpies won that game 1-0.
- The top scorer in this fixture (in the Premier League era) is Les Ferdinand. He scored 8 goals in meetings between the sides.
Newcastle United: Remy Cabella
1 goal and 2 assists isn’t an inspiring return for a creative midfielder. There is no doubt that Newcastle expected more from the man they had been chasing from last season till the summer. However, from watching him it’s clear to see there is quality there. If anything he is a player whose creativity and ability on the ball is what Newcastle should be building their attack around. Moussa Sissoko is their main men when available but his approach is a lot more robust, possibly well suited to the league, but it should be coupled with Cabella’s intelligence and touch to help make Newcastle more of a threat. The French midfielder has quality that he has shown, but not enough. On his day he could be the best player in a Newcastle United strip every week. With their poor form perhaps becoming a worry now, Newcastle should be able to call on players like Cabella for big performances where they show why they were right to pursue them like they did and sign them to the Geordie club.
Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane
At this point there should be no need for justification why Harry Kane will be a key player for Tottenham, his name should suffice. With his recent nomination for PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year Kane will want to make sure his season doesn’t tail off. Sat on 19 goals in the league for now, he is keeping company with Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa and has shown he is capable of going beyond them and securing the top goalscorer award for this season. The difference he has made to Tottenham, not just by finding the net frequently, but by being an outlet for them has been pivotal to any success they have had this season. He works, he creates space, he moves with the ball and off it, it cannot be understated how much he is needed by this Tottenham team. After not scoring in his last 2 I would expect the newly capped England star to get back to scoring ways against the Magpies and potentially heap more misery on for them in what has been a dreadful run of results.
Spurs haven’t won in their last 2, while Newcastle have been beaten in each of their last 5. You would expect both sides to be looking to pick up 3 points to end their poor run or, in Spurs’ case, curtail any bad form before it can really get started. It would not surprise me if Newcastle were happy with a draw from this game, picking up points here and there will be enough for them to guarantee they don’t need to worry about the ensuing relegation battle taking place beneath them in the seasons closing weeks. However, to a Geordie like John Carver, not to mention the thousands of Geordies in attendance on Sunday, playing for a draw at home isn’t acceptable and you would hope they play for all 3 points creating an open and pleasant game to watch. Spurs I think have the quality there that just hasn’t quite clicked in their past 2 games. Eriksen is due a solid performance and Harry Kane will be itching to get back on the score sheet after a 2 game dry spell, which for the season he’s had will be unacceptable to him. Expect a Spurs win as collars start to get a bit hot at St James’ with their position in the league.
2-0 Tottenham Win