Newcastle United are looking to play spoiler when they face Tottenham Hotspurs at home on Sunday. With their own aspirations for a top 7 finish all but gone, the Magpies can only hope to dent their opponent’s ambitions.
Newcastle’s disappointing campaign has many fans threatening a boycott on Sunday. The club has lost five consecutive matches overall. They have only six matches left before the end of the season.
Mauricio Pochettino Spurs club sit comfortably in seventh. However, no wins in their last two matches has them out of European football for next season. They are three points behind Liverpool for the Europa League position for next season, with Southampton standing in their way as well.
Newcastle won the earlier league contest between these two clubs 2-1 in October, thanks to goals by Sammy Ameobi and Ayoze Pérez. But the Spurs trounced the Magpies 4-0 in the League Cup in December. It should be a tense atmosphere at St. James’ Park on Sunday. A win would do much to appease the Newcastle faithful.
Injuries and Suspensions
Lost in the midst of the controversy over the last week is that Newcastle’s injury situation is finally on the mend. John Carver said this week that Paul Dummett is recovering well from a knee injury and could return soon. Siem de Jong returned to action with the Under-21 squad on Wednesday. And he should be back before the end of the season. Fabricio Coloccini will return after serving his three-match suspension.
Papiss Cissé has three matches remaining on his suspension. Moussa Sissoko saw red last week against Liverpool after a hard foul on Lucas Leiva and will be suspended for the next two matches. Rolando Aarons has returned to training with the club but is unlikely to return on Sunday.
Cheick Tioté (knee) is expected to be out longer and may not return this season. Massadio Haidara (knee) and Steven Taylor (ruptured Achilles tendon) are done for the season.
Tottenham backstopper Hugo Lloris was forced to miss last weekend’s match against Aston Villa after suffering a cut to his knee. Kyle Walker also missed the match with a foot injury. Both players are questionable for Sunday. Jan Vertonghen has missed the last few matches with an undisclosed illness and remains a doubt as well.
Tactics and Possible Starting Line-Ups
John Carver has gone with the 4-2-3-1 formation for the last several matches. However, the suspension of Sissoko could force him to change his tactics yet again. A 4-4-2 is likely, with Ayoze Pérez and Emmanuel Rivière as the two strikers. The return of Coloccini should mean that Daryl Janmaat will return to his normal position at right-back.
Mauricio Pochettino is a firm believer in the 4-2-3-1 formation through good and bad, although he might be second-guessing his squad selections after a loss to Aston Villa in the last match. If Lloris is not able to go in time, Michel Vorm is expected to take his place in goal.
Harry Kane will be the man to watch on Sunday. The English striker leads the club in goals with 19 in the league. Christian Eriksen is next with nine, followed by Nacer Chadli with eight. Eriksen is the one who makes it all happen in midfield.
Tottenham are still in a comfortable position in the table, however a bad run of form means that they need a good finish to lock down a Europa League position for next season. The Spurs have only one win in their last four league matches. They have only one away victory in their last six in all competitions.
In recent history, Spurs have the advantage with five victories in their last ten contests against Newcastle. The Magpies have three wins and two draws in that time.
Newcastle are in their worst form of the season. Little is going right for the club on and off the field. The Magpies have only two wins in 14 matches since 2015. That includes only one victory in their last six at St. James’ Park. The fans boycott is unlikely to affect the squad on the field, who will be playing in front of a raucous crowd of supporters regardless of how successful it is.
Newcastle did not offer very much against Liverpool last week, although the return of captain Coloccini should be a major boost to the squad in need of a serious jolt. Newcastle should manage a draw against the Spurs.
Newcastle United 1 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur