All eyes will be on St James’ Park on Sunday, as it is the first match of a new era following the takeover. Newcastle United host Tottenham and the home team will be looking to get their first win of the season. Following a week of speculation linking them to some of the best players in the world, the supporters will want to make sure the current squad start to lift the team up the Premier League table. Relegation would be a disaster and add years to the journey. Spurs will know that they can spoil the party.
Steve Bruce will be in charge of his 1000th match as a manager, despite a week of speculation about his future. It is accepted that a managerial change will be made before the end of the year, but the current head coach remains in the dugout for the time being. The atmosphere will be great at the weekend and it could be the best we have seen at St James’ Park for over a decade. The players will want to impress and show why they deserve to play a part in the new era.
For Tottenham, it has been a mixed start to the season. They have got some good results and currently find themselves in 8th position. Although they are only four points from the top of the table, there are concerns about Nuno Espirito Santo’s capabilities of taking them back into the Champions League. The performances against Arsenal and Crystal Palace were worrying. They need a strong showing on Sunday away from home.
This will be Steve Bruce’s 27th meeting with Tottenham during his managerial career. He has only been able to oversee four victories during that time.
Harry Kane has scored five goals at St James’ Park during his career. Last season, he scored twice.
There will be a huge squad churn over the coming transfer windows, as the Newcastle owners try to transform the squad into one capable of competing at the top of the division. In Allan Saint-Maximin, they already have a player capable of growing with the club and he could prove to be key over the coming seasons. Prior to the takeover being announced, it was expected that this would be the Frenchman’s final season on Tyneside, with clubs interested in signing him. Now, there is a huge chance that he remains in the North East for the foreseeable future. This weekend looks to be perfect for him, as it will be an electric atmosphere and there is an opportunity for him to be the match-winner. He will want to show the new ownership that he is a player they should look to build around. This season, he has contributed two goals and three assists. It looks like he is finding consistency in the final third, despite the poor league position that Newcastle are in. Tottenham will be worried about the impact he could have on the game.
Without Son, they will be hoping that Harry Kane can return to form at a ground he likes playing at. Kane has yet to score a Premier League goal this season, but he was top scorer in 2020/21. The speculation during the summer was a distraction for club and player. It seems like Kane is struggling to find the motivation to get back to his best form. However, there has been a steady improvement in his performances. He was heavily involved in the attack against Aston Villa, attempting six shots on goal. Although he didn’t score, there were positive signs and Spurs will be hoping that he carries on improving in the coming weeks.
Callum Wilson will be back for Newcastle. That is a huge boost, as they have been lacking a goal threat during his absence. Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey are both in contention to make their returns. Joe Willock is fit to start, despite limping off against Wolves before the international break. Martin Dubravka and Paul Dummett remain on the sidelines.
Son Heung-min and Bryan Gil have both tested positive for COVID. They won’t be available. Giovani Lo Celso, Emerson Royal, Cristian Romero and Davinson Sanchez are all doubts, as they have returned late from international duty. Matt Doherty is a doubt.
This is a very difficult match to call. Tottenham’s last two away performances in the Premier League suggest they will be there for the taking for Newcastle. The atmosphere is going to be great and it should motivate the players to get their first win of the season. It feels like a cloud have been lifted on Tyneside and that should give the players freedom to express themselves. That said, Tottenham do have world class players in attack and Newcastle have been far from secure defensively.
Newcastle United 2-2 Tottenham