I haven’t written a tactics article for a while and I thought it would be about time to bring you one with Newcastle United facing third placed Tottenham Hotspur in the televised kick-off this evening.
The encounter between the two sides should be an intriguing affair, with rumours surrounding the future of current Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, one must wonder what the mood of the Tottenham camp is at this moment in time.
Last seasons fixture at White Hart Lane saw Spurs run out 2-0 winners, but Newcastle United go into this fixture looking stronger than they did when they faced them last year. With the return of Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba our front-line is one of big strength. Although missing Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye we have more strength than last time.
This is the team that I expect to see tomorrow evening: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Obertan, Perch, Guthrie, Gutierrez, Ba and Cisse.
1 – Nullify Gareth Bale: Gareth Bale has put in some superb performances already this season and caused havoc against Liverpool in their recent Premier League fixture and when at full pace he is very hard to deal with. This is why I have included Gabriel Obertan in the squad, he has a lot of pace and can offer a lot of cover to Danny Simpson. I expect the Frenchman to be charged with man-marking the Welsh International and when they are both at full running pace that will be very interesting to watch. Bale also tends to drift inside the field as well and is not afraid to have a shot when presented with the opportunity. We will have to shut out these sort of opportunity’s so that we do not present Bale with an easy chance on goal.
2 – Watch out for Parker: Scott Parker is a player that many Newcastle fans know all too well from his time at Newcastle United. Since moving to Tottenham he has added an extra engine to the centre of their midfield and against Liverpool he was key in stopping Liverpool as he shielded Ledley King and Michael Dawson from Liverpool’s attacking forwards. Parker is not afraid to put tackles in and gives one hundred percent whenever playing for Spurs. He will be a vital component to Harry Redknapp’s team and will certainly have to be kept quiet by James Perch.
3 – Avoid being broken down by their possession: Tottenham are very keen passers of the ball and like to keep the ball moving very intricately. We must try to avoid this tomorrow as we may become worn down by all of the passing. The obvious thing to do here would be to close them down very quickly and shut off any angles that may allow them to thread a pass through to another teammate. This will help us to break up the flow of their play and will help us to gain an advantage over them.
4 – Watch out for counter attacks: In their last fixture against Liverpool, Tottenham demonstrated that they are very powerful on the counter-attack. This was when Gareth Bale was fed the ball and had a golden opportunity to give Tottenham the lead. The team must be careful when attacking as we don’t want to leave ourselves too exposed at the back as Gareth Bale is tasked with being left upfront and if there aren’t enough people back to defend then that could prove disastrous for us.
Taking all these points into consideration, if Alan Pardew employs them then he could surprise Harry Redknapp’s side. Spurs are a team in a good position but with the likes of the squad we have got and these tactics then the Toon certainly have a good chance against Spurs.
Howay the lads!