Tottenham (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

‘Things can only get better’. That’s what the optimist in me says after that horrific display at Norwich last weekend.

That said, the realist in me fears that things could get even worse if we don’t perform MUCH better against a potentially ruthless Spurs side this Sunday.

Under Rafa Benitez we had several off days and uninspiring performances, but we often saw a response in ‘big games’ or at least a clear sign that the players had responded to a proverbial kick up the backside after an unacceptable display.

I don’t expect us to beat Spurs here, but a response to last weekend’s collapse is essential – not only for our new signings but for Steve Bruce and this 3-5-2 system he seems intent on sticking with…for now.

Predicted XI

Personally, I’d love to see us go with a 3-4-3, scrapping the 3-5-2 that seems to do no one any favours and starting with Almiron and Saint-Maximin either side of a previously isolated and frustrated Joelinton.

Sadly, I see Bruce sticking to his guns, but a few changes seem very likely after that drubbing at Norwich last time out.

As seen below in our ‘Predicted XI’, I can see him bringing Sean Longstaff back in for Ki – a player who allowed the game (and several Norwich players!) to totally pass him by next weekend. Even in a three-man midfield, his lack of energy and tracking off the ball means he can not be in a team with Jonjo Shelvey that does not dominate possession.

I can see Javier Manquillo also coming in at right wing-back. Emil Krafth was thrown in at the deep end at Norwich (although he wasn’t the worst defender out there that day), but I feel it was harsh to drop the Spaniard in the first place after a steady display vs Arsenal and a quietly impressive pre-season.

Not only that, Bruce may be wary of the fact Krafth could be coming up against a direct and deadly Son Heung-Min (who’s now available after suspension) should he be handed a second start.

At centre-back I’d argue that Federico Fernandez deserves a start considering how unorganised our defensive trio looked last weekend, but I don’t see Bruce making any knee-jerk changes in that area just yet. That said, the return of classy defender and calming influence Florian Lejeune can’t come quick enough.

Preferred NUFC XI – (3-4-3) – Dubravka – Schar, Lascelles Dummett – Hayden, Longstaff – Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Almiron.

The Opposition

Aside from the obvious, here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in this Tottenham side:

Son Heung-Min: The South Korean seems like an obvious ‘one to watch’, but he feels worth noting given he’s not actually been involved in Spurs’ opening two games – but he’s back for this one after completing a three-match ban. We’ve been weak defensively down our right-hand side, so the prospect of a fresh Son tearing at Manquillo or new boy Krafth is a slightly terrifying one. He was involved in 20 league goals for Spurs last season and will be keen to get off the mark in this one.

Moussa Sissoko: With French compatriot and £63m man Tanguy Ndombele ruled out of this one, the onus will be on the ex-Mag to step up and put in a big performance in the centre of midfield. Give him space to run into and he can do damage, but we know that he’s limited on the ball in tight spaces.

Harry Winks: The midfielder has really impressed me over the first two weeks of the season and will be an England regular before long. We must be much more energetic and combative in midfield if we’re to stop him running the show and getting good service into Spurs’ front three.

Predicted Spurs XI: Lloris; Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Winks; Lucas, Eriksen, Son; Kane.

Team news

Joelinton is fit despite limping off last weekend, while Allan Saint-Maximin will travel with the squad after recovering from a hamstring strain – although he may have to settle for a place on the bench.

Elsewhere, Andy Carroll (ankle), Dwight Gayle (calf), DeAndre Yedlin (aroin), and Florian Lejeune (ACL) will all miss out once again, but Christian Atsu is back in contention after returning to training this week.

For Spurs, Song Heung-Min is available for the first time this season after completing a three-match ban, but club record signing Tanguy Ndombele will miss out.

Dele Alli could have a late fitness test after returning to training this week, but he seems unlikely to start.

Prediction

I think we’ll be more competitive in terms of our running and attacking intent, but fear for us defensively against a potentially devastating Spurs side – especially now they’ve got Son back.

Getting bodies forward and moving Almiron closer to Joelinton as a result is essential if we want to get our £60m duo into good areas, although we’ll have to get the balance just right now we’re dealing with the likes of Kane, Eriksen and Son at the other end.

Bruce’s insistence on this 3-5-2 formation really does worry me considering how lost so many players have looked as a result, so we’ll have to be MUCH better in this one if we don’t want to get hammered…never mind get a result.

I’m hoping for a much improved performance but fearing the worst.

Prediction: Tottenham 3-0 Newcastle

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

74 thoughts on “Tottenham (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

  1. Sissoko and Winks cannot play together. When Winks is in the middle it forces Sissoko onto the right wing where he is crap.

    Man City had 30 shots to Spurs’ 3 last week. I know it is Man City but Spurs have not played well this year yet.

    They haven’t played us this year yet though 🙂 So, they could hit their stride 🙂

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  2. Well if he sticks with that formation , we will not get anything again.
    Wonder how many games he’ll persist in using it.

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  3. He’ll blame everything else before his chosen formation. He thinks it’s original and a sign of innovation.

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  4. I’m going to this game but God knows why! Well to be fair I will be getting trollied as I think that might be the only way to watch it.

    I have had a England – Newcastle win double. 66/1

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  5. Stuart: you will have to tell me all about the stadium. It sounds like just about every NFL and baseball stadium. At the White Sox stadium they will not only bring beer to your seat, but a menu and then the food. They even have little areas for kids and like sports bars. They call it the “ball mall” because it is more like a mall than for sports . I think the Colorado Rockies have hot tubs at theirs . It’s all a bit sterile which is why Wrigley Field where the Cubs play is so revered. A throwback of a place that is known as the biggest beer garden in Chicago.

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  6. I am going to predict 0-0. Mainly because I don’t want them to score as I fckn hate that “Spurs go marching in song”.

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  7. There really isn’t much mileage Bruce arguing with Chopra. Nobody outside Newcastle even knows who he is and if, as expected, we get beat by Spurs he will be back for round 3 on Monday.

    I think a good rule of thumb would be to ignore everything that is said on Talksport.

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  8. Just looked at the table and we could easily be bottom tonight without even playing. I think that would add to the pressure already on Bruce, if that is possible.

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  9. I also saw Bruce saying he is persisting with Almiron as a number 10, despite his natural instinct to come back and collect the ball. Says they have been working in training to have him stay further upfield. Good luck with that. Maybe against a lower energy team, but I still see Joe being isolated in this game.

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  10. There’s definitely a baseball stadium with a swimming pool/hot tub where the outfield seats usually are. I am pretty sure it is Colorado. Usually frat boys and a couple of cute girls. Imagine that at SJP?

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  11. Stuart: finally a partnership (hope I am not speaking too soon as England only in the 80s). It is only a 3rd day pitch though.

    Aussie commentators are such a mixed bag. Warne and Ponting are great. Slater and Clark are terrible.

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  12. Eric if England were batting in the first innings and were the same score they should be scoring 350. That’s how they should look at it. Root will need 150 if we’re going to win

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  13. One thing that really gets my goat! G7 meeting this weekend – why on Earth is Donal Tusk there?! He’s an unelected president of the EU for Christ sake! It’s not a country and he really has no right to be there! Rant over.

    We will struggle today!

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  14. Considering we’re now Tat Direct in all but name I’m having trouble even getting behind the team. Bruce’s decisions make it even worse. Almiron and Joelinton aren’t even strikers. Shelvey is the worst deep lying midfielder in the league and his inclusion forces ASM outas well. 0-0 would take a miracle.

    We have a massive problem that we can get nowhere near to fixing. The problem is the people running the club and they’re running it into the ground through sheer incompetence.

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  15. georgio:
    Considering we’re now Tat Direct in all but name I’m having trouble even getting behind the team. Bruce’s decisions make it even worse. Almiron and Joelinton aren’t even strikers. Shelvey is the worst deep lying midfielder in the league and his inclusion forces ASM outas well. 0-0 would take a miracle.

    We have a massive problem that we can get nowhere near to fixing. The problem is the people running the club and they’re running it into the ground through sheer incompetence.

    agree 100%

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  16. the fans always say they want a team that cares and tries,i was just looking at C/Palace over the last few seasons they players know they are never going to win anything or get into the top six and yet they try their pluck out every game why is that is it down to old Roy or what or is it respect for themselves??

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  17. Palace were lucky yesterday. I should want them to lose as they are one of the teams most likely to be relegated. However, seeing the faces of the Man U plastics is just too good to miss. The cameras in the US were on the Man U fans leaving early. Someone said they had to catch a train back to London.

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  18. God, it must be infuriating watching Pogba. He has all the skills but ponces around doing his little pirouettes and losing the ball. It is like Shelvey on a bad day. I would get rid of him because you really don’t know what you are going to get and he is you cannot build a team around him. He is the final piece for a good team and Man U are not a good team at the moment.

    Funny that Rashford missed a penalty after all that crap last week. But then he gets racial abuse on twitter. Who are these morons? I understand there are racists out there but to then go off because he missed a penalty!

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  19. First part of Stuart’s bet is still alive (just). Have one of those beers that fill from the bottom and enjoy your day at the greatest engineering achievement ever. Even better than The Great Pyramid at Giza.

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  20. Might have to drop Buttler just for that run-out never mind a specialist batsman demoted to 7 on form.

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  21. Eric Sykes:
    First part of Stuart’s bet is still alive(just). Have one of those beers that fill from the bottom and enjoy your day at the greatest engineering achievement ever. Even better than The Great Pyramid at Giza.

    Corporate, Eric. They don’t have such things in here… 😂

    Have I missed something? Why do we only have 6 subs? Also what formation? SM playing but also Almiron and Joe…

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  22. I’m guessing it’s more of a 4-3-3 with St Maximin playing. Shelvey dropped to the bench and Hayden and Longstaff in the middle. I don’t get why Manquillo is iron bench again though, otherwise this is as good as we can put out I guess.

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  23. Stuart79: Corporate, Eric. They don’t have such things in here…

    Have I missed something? Why do we only have 6 subs? Also what formation? SM playing but also Almiron and Joe…

    There are 7 subs Stuart… although one of them is Atsu…

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  24. Did anybody tell the NUFC kit designers that all orange is US prison uniform – Orange is the New Black?

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  25. Maximin is another ****ing pathetic player who’s not interested and will be injured more than he is fit.

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  26. I swear this is true – the commentators over here just said how good the Spurs stadium is because there is so little sun on the pitch. I know I have gone on about this, but that is just ridiculous.

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  27. not bad first half, still not enough bite about us for me. Don’t see us winning this though, they will surely score second half.

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  28. Good first half and fantastic goal for Joelinton… really pleased for the lad but shocking defending from Rose. Let’s see how things go but Spurs are a strong side and regularly come back… we don’t have the points yet…

    Gutted for St Max…

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  29. Atsu has done really well so far, Dummetts had a a good game so far too.

    Krafth still looks a bit weak though all their attacks coming down that side

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  30. How much did you bet Stuart?

    See earlier, Stuart had a bet for England and NUFC both to win at combined odds of 66-1.

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  31. So, Brucie has equaled Rafa’s points total for his 1st 10 games last year.

    Didn’t win 1st game until November last year.

    Had lost all 12 games in the PL to top 6 under Rafa since promotion.

    I know there are quite a few who like the stats. Bruce’s low points per game total in the PL was rolled out quite a few times.

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  32. What a game! Fantastic…. Dummett my MotM today. Rock solid, but all defenders were solid today. Atsu did fantastic today. Well done lads. I did not see that coming. Commitment and effort all over the pitch against a strong Spurs side. 👍👍

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  33. Dummett man of the match. You should see the sort of stick he gets on other blogs. Sometimes I think they have no clue.

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  34. I didn’t want to jinx it so I didn’t write it. I was thinking the whole game that Spurs might struggle if they played most of the game with 3 players who have no final ball – Sissoko, Rose, Winks.

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  35. Dubai, agree Dummy was awesome today as was Atsu after he came on.

    C ould be a costly game though, ASM probs set right back now, Joe holding his groin late on, Atsu struggling toward the end and Lascelles went off injured too !
    Sack the fitness coach .

    5Live saying spurs were poor, but we worked hard, and they should of had 2 pens 🙄

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  36. All the media love Spurs so I am not surprised 5live say they should have had pens. Fck em. Did they have a shot on target? Maybe a couple that were scuffed and easy for Dubravka.

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  37. Seriously, the way the media go on about Spurs, you would think they had won 9 of the last 5 Premier League titles.

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  38. Stuart: I would resist the temptation to double down on England at Old Trafford. Not sure if we will shift Smith and Labuschagne. Aussies even have the better bowlers overall with Jimmy just back from injury and 37 years old.

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  39. Michael Chopra

    @MichaelChopra
    Credit where credit is due, @NUFC looked like a different team today. Well done NUFC and well done Steve bruce great 3 pts #toonarmy #geordies

    387
    6:28 PM – Aug 25, 2019

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  40. To win the Ashes I think we have to have a rainout at Old Trafford and have Jimmy take 10 wickets at the Oval.

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