Sunday the 13th brings the much anticipated return to Premier League football for NUFC at St James’ Park. Tottenham are the opening day visitors and we discuss the North London club’s pre-season so far including results, team selection, transfers and injuries and most importantly, why they don’t appear to be entering the season opener in the shape.
There has been a significant lack of transfer activity at White-Hart Lane this summer. The club have failed to make any signings. No doubt this will be in some part caused by the construction of their new stadium which is due for completion by the start of next season. The club also employ a wage cap making it difficult to attract big names. However with Champions League football again this year and a season playing at Wembley the club’s need for reinforcements has created some anxiety amongst. Pochettino is known to prefer integrating players into his squad and developing them over time rather than signing the finished article, so it’s difficult to foresee them with any major changes before deadline day.
Kyle Walker was sold to title rivals Man City for over £50m. This is the only major outgoing so far however Eric Dier has been linked with a move away and Danny Rose made some damning comments recently. The marauding left-back made his desire to win trophies clear and stated one day he “will play up north”. Clearly unimpressed with the club’s transfer activity, he has put his future in a state of absolute uncertainty and done nothing to settle the Spurs camp ahead of Sunday’s season opener.
Kieran Trippier is seen by many as an ample replacement for Kyle Walker, however he sustained an injury against Juventus and will not be fit to face NUFC on Sunday. Dier is expected to fill in at right back unless the inexperienced 20-year-old Kyle Walker-Peters is given the vote of confidence.
First team regulars Victor Wanyama (knee) and Heung-Min Son (broken arm) are also doubts whilst Danny Rose (knee) and Erik Lamela (hip) will also miss out after failing to recover from long-term injuries.
Tottenham have played some elite teams in pre-season, taking part in the International Champions Cup, and have had a mixed bag of results. Despite defeat there were many positives from take from the game against Roma where they clawed back to a draw from 2-0 down and more recently saw off Juventus 2-0. A disappointing result arrived against Premier League rivals however, seeing them convincingly beaten 3-0 by Manchester City – which won’t have helped their confidence given it was against potential title contenders.
PSG 2-4 Spurs
Roma 3-2 Spurs
Man City 3-0 Spurs
Spurs 2-0 Juventus
Friendly Team Selection
Last season saw Tottenham mix up their formation; alternating between 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3. Therefore it is unknown what line-up they are planning to utilise at St James’. They have continued this trend so far playing four at the back against PSG and Juventus; and three at the back against Roma and Man City. Eric Dier is often the key here; operating as a defensive midfielder or the extra defender centre-back depending on the formation. However his versatility may see him play a different role on Sunday following the injury to Kieran Trippier.
Sunday is a great opportunity for Newcastle to kick-off this season with a real statement of intent. Tottenham’s inactivity in the transfer market along with Trippier’s untimely injury will force Pochettino to shuffle his pack and play some of his players out of position. There appears to be a generally negative atmosphere around White Hart Lane this summer which has been compounded by Danny Rose’s latest comments. The Magpies will definitely be looking to capitalise and no doubt the crowd will be right behind the team come Sunday!