The FourFourTwo Preview: Tottenham vs Newcastle
Super Sunday, unless you're a travelling Newcastle supporter. Cheers for that.
Newcastle make the 248-mile round trip to North London to take on Spurs this weekend, and while the Toon Army decide how to navigate the cross-country jaunt down south in time for a ludicrously early 12pm kick-off, they can at least do so comforted by renewed optimism following a pleasing 2-0 win over Chelsea.
- Spurs 2-1 FC Sheriff (EL)
- Everton 0-0 Spurs (Prem)
- Spurs p2-2 Hull (LC)
- Spurs 1-0 Hull (Prem)
- FC Sheriff 0-2 Spurs (EL)
- Newcastle 2-0 Chelsea (Prem)
- Newcastle 0-2 Man City (LC)
- S'land 2-1 Newcastle (Prem)
- Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool (Prem)
- Cardiff 1-2 Newcastle (Prem)
The Magpies threw the form book out of the window in that game as Alan Pardew's masterplan, or... Pardsterplan (pass me my coat) worked wonders thanks to second half goals from Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy.
"We had a little gameplan to conserve our energy and really crank it up as the game went on, and that worked for us," Pardew revealed after getting one over on Jose Mourinho's men. Newcastle were conservative in the first half, managing just four efforts on goal, but expansive in the second period. After introducing Vurnon Anita and Papiss Cisse as substitutes they hit a further 11 shots, finding the net twice.
It remains to be seen if Pardew opts for a similar simmer-to-the-boil strategy at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Spurs are beginning to gather a reputation as one of the league's dullards. With only 14 goals in their 10 games so far, Spurs are the team with the least value for money in the division - goals-wise.
Andre Villas-Boas' team are miserly at the back - a necessity for any team with title-winning aspirations - but don't score many either, a trait that has begun to agitate the White Hart Lane crowd to AVB's very public dismay. Another goal-free fest at Goodison Park last weekend ended with grumblings about Hugo Lloris' bad head, and with a voice like the rumble of a thousand thunderstorms Villas-Boas decried those who criticised the decision not to take his keeper off as "incompetent people". Sideshow aside, Spurs sit neatly in the fourth place they so dearly covet.
Emmanuel Adebayor, Danny Rose, Nacer Chadli and Kyle Naughton are all injury worries for Spurs, while Newcastle have Paul Dummett, Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor and Massadio Haidara to worry about. Fabricio Coloccini could return from a pelvis injury to break up axis Williamson-Yanga-Mbiwa at centre-back, but the Argentine's availability remains something of a doubt.
Key battle: Vlad Chiriches vs Loic Remy
Loic Remy's six Premier League goals this season show what an asset the Frenchman is to this Newcastle side. Once likened to Thierry Henry while playing in Ligue 1, Remy is a clinical goalscorer with an added touch of flair and, with the greatest respect to QPR, has the ability to be doing far better than scrapping away at a relegation-doomed side as he was last season.
Against Chelsea he had more shots than anyone on the field (all coming in the second half), before sealing the win with a sweet finish and run into the crowd to embrace a frenzied army of admirers. Heartwarming stuff.
Vlad Chiriches has forced his way into Spurs' team with some classy performances - so classy that Villas-Boas has rejigged his team to shift man-mountain Jan Vertonghen to the left (where he's also been excellent).
Spurs are yet to concede a goal in the six games Chiriches has started since joining for £8.5m in the summer, and his recovery tackle on Kevin Mirallas at Goodison Park last week was a tantalising example of his impressive defensive qualities.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- Spurs 2-1 N'castle (Prem, Feb 13)
- N'castle 2-1 Spurs (Prem, Aug 12)
- Spurs 5-0 N'castle (Prem, Feb 12)
- N'castle 2-2 Spurs (Prem, Oct 11)
- N'castle 1-1 Spurs (Prem, Jan 11)
Villas-Boas has the upper hand in the head-to-head with two wins and one defeat from their three Premier League meetings.
Facts and figures
- Tottenham have lost only 1 of their last 7 league games against Newcastle, after losing each of the previous 6.
More facts at FFT's Tottenham vs Newcastle Stats Zone page
Tips and trends
- Tottenham have won 7 of their last 9 home matches against middle-third teams.
- Spurs have lost just once to Newcastle since 2009, winning their last 4 home meetings.
- Tottenham have kept 7 clean sheets so far this season.
- Including all competitions, Spurs have kept twice as many clean sheets as any other Premier League team.
- Newcastle have lost 7 of their last 8 matches at top-six teams and have lost by 2 or more goals in 8 of their previous 15 such trips.
- The Magpies have conceded second-half goals in 16 of their last 20 away games.
- Spurs have scored after the break in 13 of their last 20 at home.
Find the best odds with Bet Butler
1-0 Spurs. Soldado. Penalty.