Newcastle — Tottenham (Premier League)
Ten points separate 8th seed Newcastle United from 5th Tottenham as they travel to Tyne for Premier League’s round of matches. Tim Sherwood is leading a team undergoing a good moment of form but St. James Park has always been a tough test for the Spurs. As the season enters its decisive phase a mere stumble could cost them their goals.
Alan Pardew’s side comes from two straight losses, both for 3-0. And if Chelsea’s result, at Stamford Bridge and on the back of the motivating victory over City, was to be expected, falling to Sunderland at home was totally unnecessary set-back, wasn’t it? More troublesome facts for the manager to consider: they have conceded 6 goals in 2 games and could not hit the net in 5 of their 6 2014 matches. In fact, Newcastle has more goals against that for (34-32). To make matters worse they will have to do without their top scorers, Yohan Cabaye and Loic Rémy. The first left for Paris Saint Germain and the second is serving suspension. Transfer Luuk de Jong worked hard against Chelsea but he was a lonely man up front. He could benefit from Papiss Cissé’s company but the Senegalese is probably not fit yet. Injuries are Alan Pardew’s main concern at the moment: Debuchy was forced out from last game and joined Fabricio Coloccini, Gael Bigirimana, Ryan Taylor and Tioté in the treatment room. Gouffran, Obertan and Cissé are doubtful.
Probable line-up: Krul — Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Taylor, Santon — Gosling, Anita — Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Sammy Ameobi— Shola Ameobi.
On Sunday the Spurs nailed an important win over Everton at White Hart Lane that allowed them to leapfrog the Toffees and maintain 4th spot at arm’s length. It wasn’t a performance to cause a standing ovation but they have secured the precious 3 points before a direct contender. They are now in 5th place, with 47 points, 3 behind the lads from Liverpool and 2 clear of Everton. Emmanuel Adebayor continued to justify Sherwood’s endorsement with the winner but another Tottenham man stood out, Hugo Lloris. Where would the Spurs be right now if it weren’t for the French International’s stern exhibitions and huge saves, particularly in the first-half when things co go either way? In the aftermath Tim Sherwood came public hailed the skipper for keeping his side in the game. A fortunate result that does not erase the fact that Tottenham kept giving the ball away and were often overrun in the middle. They also don’t score enough goals.
Andros Townsend came in from the bench on Sunday and should earn a start if he’s fit. Eric Lamela is the only fresh casualty, Sandro and Vlad Chiriches will remain in the sidelines.
Probable line-up: Lloris — Rose, Vertonghen, Dawson, Walker — Bentaleb, Dembélé, Paulinho — Lennon, Adebayor, Eriksen.
St. James Park has not been a sight for fond recollections for the Spurs. They have struggled every time they visit and victory has escaped in the last 7 Premier League ties they’ve played there. In 5 of those the Magpies claimed victory. However, they count for losses the last 4 home games in all competitions and failed to score in 3 of those.