The FourFourTwo Preview: Tottenham vs Newcastle
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- Spurs 5-1 Asteras (EL)
- Man City 4-1 Spurs (Prem)
- Spurs 1-0 So’ton (Prem)
- Spurs 1-1 Besiktas (EL)
- Arsenal 1-1 Spurs (Prem)
- Newcastle 1-0 Leicester (Prem)
- Swansea 2-2 Newcastle (Prem)
- Stoke 1-0 Newcastle (Prem)
- Palace 2-3e Newcastle (LC)
- Newcastle 2-2 Hull (Prem)
Ridiculous penalty decision going against them? Check. Holding their own for long periods of the game? Check.
Fluffing a chance to draw level? Check. Wilting like a weed under a blast of Deadfast in the face of sustained pressure? Check. When it comes to the top teams, Spurs have a habit of collapsing.
This, as we know, is what cost AVB his job. You can bet manager Mauricio Pochettino knows it, too.
While these are ridiculously early days to suggest a change (even for Daniel Levy, a man who makes "Deadly" Doug Ellis look indecisive) White Hart Lane will need to see at least some progression in the coming months. Shipping slightly fewer goals than last year against the teams above them will not count.
Luckily for Spurs, Newcastle are not a top team, and the playing personnel have done much to undermine their manager, Alan Pardew, who has incurred the wrath of St James' Park of late.
The mood at Newcastle is clear: sack the gaffer. Well, that's the gist of all those printed A4 posters on show at home games.
Such is the malaise in the North East that when one of their giant TVs wobbled in the wind prior to their match against Leicester, it was viewed as Mother Nature's attempt to spare the fans from further blushes. As it was, they managed a 1-0 win (and watched with glee as Sunderland shipped eight at Southampton).
The bad news here is that despite the usual odds stacked against Spurs this week - no in-form striker, an inevitable European hangover, their inability to break down defensive teams - Pardew could well be receiving some more heat. The good? At least there will only be a few thousand fans to boo him if he loses.
For Newcastle, Paul Dummett limped out of the game against Leicester and remains uncertain, while Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote and Emmanuel Riviere are all doubts. Spurs are exposed in the full-back areas with Kyles Naughton and Walker unavailable. Federico Fazio is suspended.
Player to watch: Christian Eriksen (Spurs)
The striker was on the receiving end of a volley from his international manager Morten Olsen following Denmark's defeat to Portugal. Eriksen's apparent lack of development was criticised, causing Pochettino to rise to his defence. "I am very happy with his performance and his commitment," he said. "He is a very good professional and his commitment with the team is good."
Eriksen has been paying him back in kind, before and after Olsen's outburst. A winning goal of exquisite quality against Southampton showed exactly what he's capable of; Eriksen also scored Spurs' only goal during their defeat to City last Saturday. He could be the safe-cracker in a defensive-minded Newcastle setup.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- N'castle 0-4 Spurs (PL, Feb 14)
- Spurs 0-1 N'castle (PL, Nov 13)
- Spurs 2-1 N'castle (PL, Feb 13)
- N'castle 2-1 Spurs (PL, Aug 12)
- Spurs 5-0 N'castle (PL, Feb 12)
Pochettino might have compared City's deadly striker Sergio Aguero to Mozart prior to his four-goal performance, but he was left to rue a tuneless display from referee Jonathan Moss. "For me, it was ridiculous, but we have to accept the decision. We need to review the game - my feeling was it is not a red card [to Fazio].
"A lot of things happened. It's difficult to analyse. The bad thing is the result but other than that there a lot of positives to take. The result does not reflect what happened in the game."
For Pardew, Newcastle's win over Leicester released some of the pressure surrounding his position. “This is the first time since I’ve been here that [Mike Ashley's] been in the dressing room after a game,” he said. “It showed what the result meant. He spent about 10 minutes congratulating everyone. If anyone has ever doubted his commitment you saw it there. He was as happy as any fan.”
Facts and figures
- Spurs have scored at least once in 18 of their last 19 Premier League games against Newcastle.
- 0 of the last 17 league meetings between these sides at White Hart Lane has ended as a draw.
- Newcastle have displayed the most effective offside trap in the league this season (22 opponents snared).
More FFT Stats Zone facts
No dressing room visits from the boss this time. A narrow win for Spurs. 1-0.