Tottenham supporters, hold on to your hats. After months of doubting, Europa League football could yet be on the horizon – but only if Newcastle can be dispatched at St James’ Park.
After squeaking an all-important win against Arsenal, Spurs are looking to deliver back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since February. Doing so may allow José Mourinho’s side to leapfrog Sheffield United and Wolves, if results elsewhere go their way.
Newcastle, meanwhile, have very similar qualities. Sometimes the Magpies look great, but sometimes they are pretty dire – inconsistency that has put Steve Bruce’s position as manager under the microscope despite the club’s healthy points return.
Here, 90min previews the pair’s meeting.
When is Kick Off? Wednesday 15 July
What Time is Kick Off? 18:00 (GMT)
Where is it Played? St James’ Park
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport 1
Referee? David Coote
Of late, Newcastle have not been blessed with lady luck in regards to injuries.
Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden are both ruled out, while Andy Carroll’s long standing injury troubles have led him to a groin problem. Additionally, Ciaran Clark will probably not play again this season after an ankle operation, though there is better news regarding Florian Lejeune – he could be in contention after a thigh injury.
For Tottenham, Japhet Tanganga is available once more – having initially been ruled out for the rest of the season by Mourinho with a stress fracture. Serge Aurier’s participation is in doubt, following the tragic death of his brother at the weekend.
Juan Foyth remains sidelined with a meniscus tear, while Eric Dier has two more matches to serve of the suspension he picked up for entering the crowd against Norwich to confront a fan.
Newcastle: Dubravka; Krafth, Lascelles, Fernández, Rose; Bentaleb, Shelvey; Saint-Maximin,
Almirón, Joelinton; Gayle
Tottenham: Lloris; Sissoko, Sánchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Skipp, Winks; Moura, Son, Bergwijn; Kane
Anyone who likes a bet should go absolutely nowhere near Newcastle or Spurs, two of the most wildly inconsistent sides in the Premier League since the restart.
Newcastle have sort of lost to the good teams and avoided defeat against the bad ones, but no-one could’ve predicted them putting four past Bournemouth or losing to a dreadful Watford side.
Equally, it’s been well-publicised that Spurs are somewhat unrecognisable from the team that used to sweep their Premier League opposition aside.
That’s evidenced best as sandwiched between aggressively unspectacular victories against Everton and Arsenal is an extraordinary (in the worst way possible) game against Bournemouth where they failed to register a single shot on target.
Here’s how both have performed in their last five.
Watford 2-1 Newcastle (11/07)
Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle (08/07)
Newcastle 2-2 West Ham (05/07)
Bournemouth 1-4 Newcastle (01/07)
Newcastle 0-2 Manchester City (28/06)
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal (12/7)
Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham (9/7)
Tottenham 1-0 Everton (6/7)
Sheffield United 3-1 Tottenham (2/7)
Tottenham 2-0 West Ham (23/6)
If there’s one thing you shouldn’t expect in this fixture, it’s goals. Neither side are famous for scoring many, but that certainly doesn’t mean they’ll make it easy for the opposition to get on the scoresheet either.
While Allan Saint-Maximin will relish a likely battle against Ben Davies, Tottenham’s experienced back four will give as good as they get – and the Frenchman could struggle with the lack of quality support up top.
Something hasn’t clicked up top for Tottenham’s talented bunch of attackers, and though the possible introduction of Steven Bergwijn could give them a bit of zip, not much of an initiative has been shown against defences who operate with a low block.
Expect a frustrating afternoon for both sides.
Prediction: Newcastle 0-0 Tottenham