Tottenham will be hosting Newcastle United as their packed schedule continues. In this fixture last year, Steve Bruce tasted his first Premier League victory in charge of the Magpies and increased the pressure on Mauricio Pochettino. Jose Mourinho will be looking to avoid a similar result, as his position is far from secure, despite the backing of Daniel Levy in the transfer market. It will be a game that Spurs are dominant with the ball, but they won’t be afforded as much space as they were last weekend. This will be a different test for the team with top four aspirations.
It was important that Tottenham bounced back from opening weekend disappointment and they managed to do that with a convincing win over Southampton. However, there has been a lot of concern about their performances across all competitions to date. They have yet to keep a clean sheet this season, despite facing two European minnows in the Europa League. Mourinho spoke of the importance of having a pre-season, but there is still a lot of work to do before they become an accomplished unit under the Portuguese coach. The amount of games hasn’t helped and with four scheduled before the international break, it isn’t about to get easier for them.
There has been a Jekyll and Hyde feeling about Newcastle this season. During the opening weekend, they were very good against West Ham United and it looked like they would improve following the summer spending that Bruce has overseen. Last weekend, fears of relegation returned as they were played off the park by Brighton, a team that finished below them in the previous season. The Magpies didn’t register a shot on target. There needs to be a reaction this weekend, in a fixture they have done well in recently.
Harry Kane’s four assists during last weekend’s win over Southampton has seen him double the amount he managed in the entirety of last season.
Newcastle have won four of their last six Premier League away fixtures against Tottenham.
It has been a strange start to the season for Harry Kane. He looks to be a player that is still building up his match fitness, but he has one goal and four Premier League assists to his name already. It could be his creativity that shines through over the coming months, if Mourinho sets up with Son Heung-min and Gareth Bale on either flank. The pair like to run in behind and are both prolific goal-scorers in their own right. Kane is one too, but he has a lot more to his game and he thrives when he has players running beyond him as we saw last week. He has created four big chances already, which is more than any other player in the league. During the first two matches, he has had four shots and Mourinho will be hoping that this number increases. Kane may be a very good creator, but he remains the side’s biggest goal threat too and he needs more service. Newcastle will set up deep and compact, which will limit the space for Lucas Moura and Son to run in behind. It could be up to Kane to produce a moment of magic to take the three points.
The Paraguayan has been sidelined under Steve Bruce in the first two matches of the season. It has been unpopular with the fans and Almiron has proven his point in the four matches to date. He has one goal and three assists across all competitions, proving his quality in the final third. Unlike others in the squad, the 26-year-old is full of energy and likes to press the opposition. This will be needed in this game, with Tottenham likely to dominate the ball. There is a belief that Almiron can go on to have a breakout season after 18 months of inconsistency. On Sunday, he will likely start in the number ten role coming in for Andy Carroll. After missing out on the starting eleven twice, he will have a point to prove. His pace and directness on the counter attack could cause Tottenham real problems.
Tottenham are expected to ring the changes as they try to negotiate a period full of matches. Matt Doherty, Lucas Moura, Eric Dier and Hugo Lloris will all return. Dele Alli could return to the matchday squad in the league. Gareth Bale isn’t fit, but Sergio Reguilon is available.
Allan Saint-Maxmin is a huge injury doubt following an ankle knock last weekend. Jamal Lewis may also not be passed fit to feature. Ciaran Clark has picked up a fresh knock. Jacob Murphy is in line for his first Premier League appearance of the season following an impressive showing in the week.
Football can be impossible to predict and something like recent results in this fixture should have no influence on this meeting. However, Newcastle have a good record against Tottenham away from home and that will give them some confidence. Spurs have shown themselves to be a team that struggles when they are expected to dominate possession, as their strengths lie in the counter attack. This coupled with their relentless schedule makes me think it could be a frustrating day for them.
Tottenham 1-1 Newcastle United