Date: 11th August 2017 at 8:59am
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What kind of season can we expect? We need some silver ware! But can we win the League!

Spurs points return last season would have been enough to win the title in 11 other Premier League seasons, with our best ever total of 86 and our goal difference of 60, it was the highest of a non-title winning team since the Prem started. We are currently one of the most consistent sides in the Premier League and Poch is adamant that he already has the squad to work with this season and our lack of activity in the Transfer market indicates that he is hoping our fringe players in the squad live up to expectations this campaign. We were the best defensive side in the domestic league last season but we failed to compete for the title in the final month of last season, just like the season before.

If we are to go one better this season we have to make Wembley home, just 2 wins out of 9 at Wembley is not good. Last season our set piece plays (free kicks and corners) were poor, one of our biggest issues is the lack of set-piece takers. Christian Eriksen is our best dead ball taker but we failed to score a single goal from a direct dead ball last season. We all know about the high press but we saw how easily our attack could be turned into a scrambled defence when we lose the ball in the middle of the park, we need to manage the ball better and we need to make more interceptions. We made 314 interceptions last season in the league, the least for any side in the competition.

So let’s look at the players for this campaign. For me the key person will be Eriksen. He normally starts a season slowly and comes on strong later. Last season he finished the second half with eight goals and 15 assists in the League. Eriksen is now in his fourth year with the club. Last season he did not score in the League until November 26 with only three assists. Eriksen himself admitted; ‘I will try to be more consistent through the whole season. I want to be part of the elite in football, even though it is not my job to say whether I am there or not. My numbers for goals and assists have been pretty good every season and I want to make sure they keep going in the right direction. We have the potential to do better than last season. We all have one more year of experience, especially in the Champions League. We didn’t play that badly last year but we will be more used to Wembley this time. We want to play in this competition every year.’

Then there is Harry, can he break the August curse? If he can’t who will score the goals in August? The injuries are piling up already Wanyama is a doubt Trippier is crocked Rose and Son won’t be back until end of August and Lamela will be out until October. Josh Onomah is at Villa so Janssen had better find some form soon!

Sissoko may play despite rumours with Trabzonspor. Sissoko could come good and we saw something of the ‘old beast’ in him against Juve. If Spurs can’t rotate we fall into the trap of our rival clubs knowing exactly how we will set ourselves up each time we play, which could put us at a disadvantage. We can’t afford to become predictable, although there is everything to be said for having a team that knows each other inside out, it only takes a couple of injuries to affect our balance as we saw when we lost Kane and Alders and then Rose last season. Whatever 11 players go out on the pitch you know what you are going to get from Spurs but that may not be to our advantage. We need options.

Nkoudou could add something to our side, he was limited to just eight Premier League appearances in 2016/17, totalling just 83 minutes. Georges never got a full league game to prove himself. We need pace down the flanks especially the right-hand side and N`Koudou could offer that this season. His cross to Janssen against Roma last month shows the potential he has. I hope MoPo gives him his chance as we could do with his ability to use the width of the pitch something we certainly need at Wembley. An attacking three of Kane, Eriksen and Alli is arguably the best in the Premier League when playing in a 3-4-2-1. It puts Eriksen and Alli as close to Kane as possible and allows them to exploit the space in central areas. Nkoudou, however, provides a very different option to any one of those three forwards, giving us a greater degree of tactical flexibility, allowing Poch to switch to a 4-2-3-1, which will use Nkoudou`s skillset to greater effect in that formation which may, in turn, help Janssen improve his conversion ratio.

We all know what happened last time we played the Toons and you can expect some reminders coming from the Toon army on Sunday, losing 5-1 to a team that was already relegated! I imagine MOPO will be reminding the players in the dressing room of how much that hurt. A three-point opener will be essential if we are to gather some momentum going into the Chelski game but who will Poch pick given our injuries especially at right back and will Poch risk Wanyama and Son?

According to reports, Newcastle United fans are worried about their forward options for the new season after Dwight Gayle was completely left out of the squad that played against Hellas Verona last weekend. The Magpies main forward choices for this season are expected to be Mitrovic and Gayle, and many feel that this will not be sufficient considering that Mitrovic was not exactly convincing in the Championship last season. Rafa mentioned earlier last week that the side that he selected to play last weekend will be near enough the side that will be selected to face Spurs which means that Gayle is likely to miss out and Mitrovic will be playing up front or Ayoze Perez. Rob Eliot will likely start in goal, while the defence will be occupied by Javier Manquillo, Florian Lejeune, Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett.

Newcastle do have options up front with Siem De Jong, Ayoze Perez, Jonjo Shelvey, Mo Diame and Matt Ritchie but Newcastle still want to sign a striker before the transfer window closes, but they need to shift some of the deadwood. The Toons have spent £31.2m so far bringing Jacob Murphy from Norwich for £12m, while fees have been paid on Christian Atsu, centre back Florian Lejuene and one-time Reds full-back Javi Manquillo to their squad. Benitez is now looking to make winger and midfielder additions – with Adama Traore and Jesus Navas the names being mentioned.

Spurs win?

Hope so, maybe the club will make a DVD of it!


104 Replies to “Preview: Newcastle Utd v Tottenham Hotspur”

  • We are slow starters most seasons, with Harry and his August goal drought. I think our quality will show on Sunday, tight game but I see us edging this one 1-0 or 2-1 COYSS!!!!!

  • Given the injury to Trippier and the lack of a like-for-like replacement, I’d go with a 4231 with Dier having to fill in at RB. There were already question marks about Rose’s fitness on the left side, but given his recent statements, I doubt MP will play him at all. The other question mark is who will play in attacking midfield next to Alli and Eriksen, with Son out and Lamela a fitness worry. That leaves Sissoko or N’Koudou, and I’d personally lean towards Sissoko, hoping he can play like he did against Juventus. My 11 would be Lloris, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Dembélé, Sissoko, Alli, Eriksen, Kane. Beyond Vorm and Wimmer, that leaves a bench of unproven or unfit players. Let’s just hope that Harry has his scoring boots on from the first game on, and doesn’t wait until mid September to start scoring…

  • Last season we sprinted out the blocks, but I think we were more settled, had less injury problems and we had WHL, which helped a lot with our dominant home form. I don’t think we have a good record vs Newcastle, so on paper, should be a test, but I still expect us to win. If Sissoko starts, he’ll have to keep his composure because the Newcastle fans won’t exactly be throwing him a “welcome home” party..

  • Rose and Victor Moses were converted from wingers to wing backs, I was thinking maybe N’Koudou could possibly learn the RWB position in a 3421. He seems to have the work rate and the pace for it at least.

  • As Dele Arri says, Kane not scoring in August is heavily contrived. In his break out season, he wasn’t first choice, so did not start season. I do not care so much as long as he keeps scoring 20+ in a season. I’d go for 3 at the back, Davies and Sissoko on wings… Additionally Sissoko back to old club should shake things up a bit…

  • Great article. At last we can talk about real football. I’m concerned about the team cohesion and focus after the Rose affair. I will be looking at the demeanor of the players and their intensity early in the match. I may not get to see it live as I will be traveling that day, so I may have to be satisfied with just the extended highlights. COYS! Let’s get a win form game 1. Something we haven’t done for a couple seasons.

  • Tony – In Kane’s breakout season, Soldado was the starter at the beginning of the season so indeed Kane didn’t start the season. However, in his second season for the senior team (when he won his first golden boot), Kane was the started but began very slowly (only scoring one goal between the first game and Oct 25, 2015, when we beat City). In his 3rd senior season (last year), Kane scored his first goal on Sept. 10, 2016 against Stoke. However we turn it, in the last 2 seasons he has had a habit of not scoring in August. Those are facts… How much we want to read into that is a different story, but my original comment wasn’t meant to be very serious – I think Kane will be at his usual excellent self on Sunday.

  • The BBC report that Trippier and Rose are definitely out against Newcastle due to injury, but Trippier’s injury is apparently not as bad as feared and his recovery time should be counted in weeks, not months.

  • This is the first test. Can we start on the front foot. Never mind Jannson needs a run out, or picking CCV or KWP, we need to pick our strongest available team, give it our all, and start with 3 points. We need to overcome our defensive frailties resulting from Trippier, Rose, and of course Walker all missing. Given our iffy record v Newcastle I am hoping for, rather than expecting a win.

  • I think it goes without saying that we all hope for a positive result. It’s just that confidence isn’t sky high at the moment, for fairly obvious reasons. As you always say DA, we can’t be sure until the final whistle is blown, but the chances remain that the more talent you exclude from the starting lineup (through injuries, player departures or other), the harder it is to win games. There is still a strong case to be made that we still have more than enough talent to overcome Newcastle of course, so we’ll just hang on to that.

  • That would be a rather catastrophic blow for them. I’m not sure who they can go out and sign to replace him.

  • Rose, GK, Tripper and Lamela are out.

    Personally I would go with three at the back if Wanyama is fit to start in midfield and play young KWP as a right wing back. He will have less defending to do as a wing back and it gives us a chance to see how he fairs. If he struggles we can take him off at half time and slot Dier in there and go to a back four. Maybe with the assurance of a back three KWP can feel more confident. I would play Wanyama and Dembele in the middle and then of course Dele, Eriksen and Kane.

    If KWP doesn’t cope drop Dier in at RB and bring on Son if he is fit or push Dembele further forward and bring on Winks depends on the score line and how we are doing.

    I assume Son is available even if not sharp so a good 30mins in the second half would be welcomed. I see no reason not to try KWP out even though I have stated clearly I don’t think he is ready to be back up, but what do I know.

    If he doesn’t start then Poch is basically saying he isn’t ready, and then I would suggest he would go for four at the back with Dier as RB and play Sissoko. I was suprised Marcus Edwards didn’t have a squad number

  • Another option is to play 3 at the back and play Sissoko as a wing back. If Victor Moses can do it, why not Sissoko? He’s got all of the physical attributes to play there.

  • Belgian…. 2 seasons in a row do not make a trend on their own…. That is also a fact…. If Kane fails to score this August and plays most of those games, then I will be the first to state that Kane has a habit of not scoring in August. If he scores this August, then there never was a trend… Let’s see. As I said, as long as he gets 20 odd goals, no problem either way.

  • Tony – given the injury crisis and the lack of game changers on the bench, we could use Kane’s goals earlier this year. Let’s hope for a solid performance from him from the first game.

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