After a solid start to the season, Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to kick on with victory over Newcastle at White Hart Lane on Sunday (12:00 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
Spurs are fourth in the table with 20 points from six wins, two draws and two defeats. They have won four of their last six matches in all competitions, including Thursday night’s 2-1 victory over Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League. They drew 0-0 with Everton in the Premier League last weekend.
Andre Villas Boas’ (pictured) side dominated the first half, pressing energetically and regaining the ball high up the pitch, but struggled to create many clear cut chances. Everton improved in the second half, but the Spurs defence held strong to come away from Goodison Park with a credible point.
The match highlighted some of the difficulties Spurs have had so far this season. While their defensive record is elite, with just five conceded in 10 league matches, they have also struggled to find the back of the net themselves. They have scored just nine times to date, with three of those coming from the penalty spot.
The lazy explanation would be that they play defensive football, but that is far from the case. They see a lot of the ball in the final third and regularly dominate the shot count. The problem is the quality of their attacking play, which, as their numerous new signings try to bed in, is yet to reach a sufficient level of incisiveness.
Roberto Soldado is not getting the sort of service that he thrived on at Valencia. In time, this is likely be provided by Christian Erikson and Erik Lamela, both of whom have been given regular cup outings. Lamela impressed in the win over Sheriff on Thursday and may feel he has done enough to challenge Andros Townsend for a place in Sunday’s starting lineup.
Danny Rose, Emmanuel Adebayor and Nacer Chadli are unavailable due to various afflictions, while Younes Kaboul, who is slowly being eased back into first team action, is unlikely to play after starting on Thursday.
Newcastle are ninth in the Premier League table with 14 points from four wins, two draws and four defeats. They come into Sunday’s match in good spirits following a solid 2-0 victory at home to Chelsea last weekend.
The first half was relatively even, with Chelsea perhaps edging it, but Newcastle went on the offensive after the break and had already squandered two presentable chances before Yohan Cabaye’s pinpoint free-kick was headed home by Yoan Gouffran. After a couple of nervy moments, Loic Remy sealed the victory in the final minute.
Remy, on loan from Queens Park Rangers, was Newcastle’s only signing this summer and has so far proved great business, with six goals in eight appearances. Capable of playing as the central striker or cutting in from the left, his pace, trickery and finishing ability have made him an instant fan favourite at St James’ Park.
There were also good performances from a trio of players who joined the club in January. Mathieu Debuchy was excellent at right-back, successfully nullifying the threat of Eden Hazard and getting forward adeptly when required. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was surprisingly calm and efficient in defence and Moussa Sissoko was a driving force in midfield.
Much was made of the fact that Newcastle did not add further to their squad over the summer. But in Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa and Sissoko, three of six signed in January, they have players who, with a pre-season and time in the league to their credit, are starting to perform at the level expected of them.
Newcastle will definitely be without the injured Massadio Haidara, Paul Dummett, Ryan Taylor and Steven Taylor for Sunday’s match. Club captain Fabricio Coloccini is back in contention after recovering from a thigh injury.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Newcastle Betting Tips Verdict
Spurs won last season’s equivalent fixture 2-1 with a double from the now departed Gareth Bale and enjoy an excellent record at home to Newcastle, having won each of the last four meetings between the sides at White Hart Lane.
There has been a clear contrast in styles between the two sides so far this season, with Newcastle’s matches averaging the fourth highest number of goals (3) in the league, while Tottenham’s have averaged the lowest (1.40), and it will be interesting to see which prevails on Sunday.
Newcastle certainly have enough pace on the break to cause Tottenham’s high defensive line some problems, but with the home side so adept at squeezing play and preventing their opponents time on the ball in midfield, Newcastle may struggle to get the necessary service to their forwards. A narrow Spurs victory seems the most likely result.
- Back Tottenham Hotspur to win by one goal @ 11/4 with Ladbrokes.
- There have been just two first half goals across Tottenham’s five home matches this season. Although Newcastle have been porous away from home, conceding 11 goals in five matches, it seems unlikely that there will be any more than one goal scored in the first half on Sunday. Back under 1.5 first half goals @ best odds of 8/15 with Boylesports.