Newcastle Vs Spurs – Premier League match preview

An evening kick-off at St James' Park.
Newcastle United play host to a creative Tottenham Hotspur this weekend in a game that is set to underline just how good this squad actually is and where it is capable of going this season.

An unbeaten 7 game start to the campaign has seen us sitting pretty amongst the league’s elite in 4th place on 15 points. Spurs got off to a slippery start following heavy, yet understandable losses to the two Manchester sides.

Since then they’ve rallied around and have now won 4 on the trot sitting in 6th place on 12 points following good solid wins against the likes of Champions League rivals Liverpool ad Arsenal. A win for us would signal a real intent to challenge for Europe this year, whilst a loss would bring Tottenham level with the Toon on points with momentum on their side having got most of the top sides out of their fixture list for now.


If Harry Redknapp is to believed, then Adebayor is rated as 50/50 for the game following a slight pull of the hamstring against former club Arsenal. He has scored 3 goals and laid on 2 for Van Der Vaart (VDV) so far this season, so if he is out it will be a big bonus for the Magpies. However, I reckon it is all an attempt to get us to lower our guard by Harry and would expect the Togolese forward to feature.

Niko Kranjcar and Vederan Corluka are doubts out after being withdrawn against Latvia in midweek due to injury with the latter only lasting 32 minutes on the clock. Sandro (Calf) is touch and go. Meanwhile Dawson and Huddlestone remain long term absentees with achilles ankle ankle problems respectively. Gallas (Calf) also falls into that bracket.

There has been talk of VDV struggling with his hamstrings but again I’d expect him to be involved. Lennon is still looking to gain a bit of match sharpness and his form has been indifferent since March, but he could well feature at some point. Most of these absentees are ‘fringe’ players however, so Spurs will have plenty to throw at us.


On the Black and White Stripes’ side our injury slate is looking pretty clean. There were doubts over Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye (Ankles), Ameobi (Shoulder), Smith (Hamstring), Vuckic (Broken Hand) and Williamson. The only player we can safely rule out is the latter, meaning we will be struggling for cover at centre back due to his ankle issues.

Apparently Ba was rested as a precaution by Senegal due to a poor playing surface raising concerns about aggravating his dodgy knee, whilst Cabaye went on to feature for 60 minutes for Les Bleus in their lacklustre midweek draw following his ankle scare against Albania and admirably flew home a day early to make sure he got well prepared for this game. Good lad! Smith wont feature as the competition for a place is too good for him, whilst Vuckic and Ameobi have both recovered.

During the International break Italian fullback Davide Santon featured in both of the U21 games and is now fully fit. Hatem Arfa and Sylvain Marveaux have both looked impressive in training this week and could be pushing to make a start depending on tactical decisions. Although Jonas Gutierrez has done a lot of travelling for Argentina over the last 10 games, he is expected to play.

Stats and Facts:

Newcastle have hosted Spurs 17 times so far in the Premier League, winning 10 of those games and drawing 4. The average result over those years has been 2-1 to the Toon.

Tottenham will be looking for their first win at St. James Park since 2004.

A repeat of our 7-1 success against Spurs in 1996 would be most welcome!

Brad Friedel is the leagues 4th most consistent goalkeeper with 23 saves and a saves to shots ratio of 72%.

Yohan Cabaye is the 4th best tackler in the league with 27 so far and a success rate of 59%.

Spurs make their shots count with 49% hitting the target as opposed to our 40%. They have scored 2 more than us…

Tactical analysis:

This season we have began to make the progression from a workmanlike side to a more technical, continental one. Our passing has improved and we seem more comfortable on the ball than we have in a long time. However, Newcastle are up against a Tottenham side that has built its team around technical excellence for a number of years now and is very good at keeping the ball. They can distribute the ball effortlessly across their whole midfield and often use one of their strikers to drop deep and interchange with the midfield. Wolves did that against us and it caused havoc.

In Adebayor, they have a striker that can do everything. He can head the ball, finish with both feet, turn on the pace, score the goals and lay them on. If Lennon makes a comeback down the right then they may well go for a 4-5-1 formation with VDV playing just behind the front man. However this season they have been having success by playing VDV on the right and using Defoe to drop deep from the front line of a 4-4-2.

If Aaron Lennon does play, I would fear for Ryan Taylor at full back and maybe Davide Santon would be better suited, however is this the game to bring in somebody with no Premiership experience? He will have little grasp of English yet and his introduction could cause communication problems at the back when our defenders will need to be fully concentrated and listening to each other as they look the stifle the relentless pressure that Spurs are capable of putting us under.

Our 4-4-2 formation has seen us do well so far and it is difficult to change a winning formation. However, with Marveaux and Benny both looking to push on now I would seriously consider a change of tactic. Our midfield is good these days, but Spurs’ is better. They have made 2158 passes so far this season as opposed to our 1673. That is a big difference.

My concern is that if we chose a 4-4-2 system, our forwards will not see the ball and will become redundant as the midfielders struggle to get hold of the ball. If we do stick with a 4-4-2 formation, we will need a lot of support for the full backs from the wingers. Bale is capable of tearing anybody to shreds on his day and either Lennon or VDV will no doubt be supported down the flanks by the ever impressive Kyle Walker.

We would have to rely on a stern defensive display and fast counter attacking by our wingers in order to catch the Spurs full backs out of position and put pressure of the creaking Ledley King and not so convincing Younes Kaboul.

Personally I would rather see us go for a 4-5-1, dropping Best and allowing Benny or Marveaux to have a go from deep as the link between midfield and attack. This would mean Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye could stifle any opposition attacks and only need to move forward when necessary (always leaving one behind just in case).

I am also going to be controversial and say that Simpson should actually get narrower and stand off Bale a bit in order to force him out wide and cross the ball in under a bit of pressure. This is because if he gets tight against Bale, he is toast. Not a personal criticism as Bale can do it to anybody, but allowing our fullback to be left for dead with Bale, VDV, Adebayor, Modric and one other bearing down on our remaining defenders will be hard to deal with. Also allowing him to cut inside and get a shot in is just not a good idea – ask Inter Milan.

If there is one area we are better than Spurs in, it’s the air. Lets deal with headers from crosses and not give them chances from passing the ball along the ground, as 9 of their 11 goals this season have been from open play.


The match official for this game will be Lee Probert. He has been a pro for 9 years and is regarded as one of England’s best. This season he has been involved in officiating in European football at both club and International level. If we need a lucky mascot for this game, look no further than this man! He has taken charge of 3 of our games so far and we have not conceded in any of them, managing 0-0 draws against Man Utd and Fulham last season and a 3-0 win over Reading in 2008.

Tottenham do not have such luck with him however… Of the 7 league matches he has taken control of for Spurs, they have lost 4 and drawn 2, scoring only 6 goals and conceding 13 in the process. If any of the players think about getting moody, this guy will draw a line under it quickly – having dished out 30 yellows and 1 red in the 7 games he has bossed so far this season.

So there you have it. Two in form teams that know this game could really define the first half of their season. It promises a lot of flair, a few chances on goal and proper footballing entertainment – so 0-0 it is then!

Lets hope this game is good enough to pull in those 7,000 fans that have been missing for recent matches and make St. James’ a real cauldron of atmosphere and banter to really get behind the boys on the pitch and get a result…

Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur.
Venue: St. James Park.
Kick off: Sunday 16th October at 16:00.

Howay the lads!

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

75 thoughts on “Newcastle Vs Spurs – Premier League match preview

  1. Fantastic article shamrock and i agree with almost everything you said 😀

    Match prediction: 2-1 Newcastle but as i said before i would never put money on this one its to close to call.


  2. A good preview and I have to agree with your tactical suggestions.

    VDV was poor at his discipline on the right vs Arsenal and so despite him being great going forward if he does play out wide we could really hit them there..if we have the ball, as is more likely with 4-5-1 and arent lobbing it forward ala QPR game.

    Looking forward to this one…even if I am going to trapped on a long drive back…5live will be my mate!


  3. Great writeup Shamrock.

    I’m reluctant to change formations but I have to reluctantly agree that the 5 man MF is the only for us to deal with them.

    My heart tells me 3-2 to the Toon, but my brain tells me………well never mind that 😉


  4. Hate to change a wiinning team, however looking at the flanks, Simpson and Obertan v Bale & Ekotto does not look good, perhaps Simpson needs more support than Obertan gives. Perhaps Raylor for Obertan means they can double up on Bale. This then means Santon protected by Jonas against Lennon & Walker. This to me is where our defensive batlle will be won and lost. I think Tiote & Cabaye are more than capable against Modric & Parker. Attack wise I would start with Best and Ba and bring on subs later unless we cannot get any service to them.


  5. Great write up’ll be tough but I think we’ll win by the odd goal(I hope), I think Spurs will get fourth this year and I certainly can’t see Liverpool or Le Arse finishing above them.
    I don’t think the crowds are too much of a worry, we were 6k below capacity the last home game and 2.5k of those were in the away end carry on with the form and the fans will be there. HTL. 😀


  6. RICHIE ime with pardew at the moment,but one thing that worrys me about him from past games when he makes subs hes kind of made a balls up of it imo made bad choices 😐


  7. Most of the focus here and elsewhere has naturally been on the two midfields and their wingers Bale and possibly Lennon. Looking at forwards however if Adebayor plays he gives them the advantage at that position and allows Dafoe to get on the ball as well. With VDV in behind they are very dangerous on attack. However our CBs are better than theirs and in Krul we have a dominant keeper. I’m predicting a 2-2 game. Hoping to see Ben Arfa from the beginning in a 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 but more likely he will come in some time in the second half. Pardew is very conservative so unfortunately will probably start Raylor at LB but hopefully he will bring Santon in if Raylor is being destroyed defensively. Simpson will have to be at his best especially if Obertan is in front of him as the long runs of Obertan often leave him out of position (and even on the wrong side of the pitch). If he loses possession on one of these forays we could be in big trouble with Bale going forward.


  8. Ice…he also makes some decent ones too though, also we don’t always know the reasoning behind substitutions made as we don’t have the inside info he has. All managers make what appear to be bad substitutions, even SAF some get away with it some don’t…..and if while he’s “getting away with it” then his decisions are the right ones 😉


  9. Have to agree with icedog. The weakest part of Pardew’s game seems to be subs. He has made some incredible clangers in the past. We can’t afford any of those against Spurs. In fact the whole team will have to be very disciplined or we could get schooled. I don’t think Best works for me against a team like this. Play 4-5-1 with Ba up front and an extra midfielder as many others have said. Add skill with Ben Arfa and Santon and have Marveaux ready to come in for Obertan.


  10. That’s got to be one of the best match previews I’ve read anywhere. Great stuff, shamrock.

    This one is going to be a really entertaining affair. I’m going for 5 goals in the game.


  11. DAVE kna mate sticking with saying nowt,seems to be working up till now 😉

    you have been canny so what you saying 😎


  12. Great write-up shamrock!
    I have a feeling that Pardew will stick with the 442 in the hope that the crowd can help us in being the dominant attackers.

    However, he will definitely be forced to go 451 at some point in the game, with sly and HBA definitely coming on. Santon may have to wait for his debut next weekend if Raylor is able to keep up or keep out. We’ll see.


  13. Wouldn’t worry about Santon’s English, as Colo will be able to yell at him in Italian. He did play for AC Milan a few years ago.

    Haha, can’t wait for that string of clean sheets to start this Sunday premandup


  14. Ice spot on mate I know we are unbeaten but I do think that we need to change our team sometimes even if unbeaten to suit the team we’re playing.
    I just think 4 5 1 would suit Spuds I also think now would be a good game to start Santon 😉


  15. DAVE i know a lot will say never change a winning team,but ive never thought that,ive said many times m/utd do it all the time some have scored a couple of goals ect next game on the bench,fergie is a master at it horses for coarses,can we say hes wrong dont think so imo with what they have won


  16. You too shamrock 😉 just didn’t say it at first to keep you grounded with all these compliments. Apparently newcastle folk can get a wee bit carried away without a reality check :mrgreen:


  17. Well done Shamrock,

    Have some fond memories of us playing Spurs. They are a dangerous side but we seem to step up a gear against them. Loved being in SJP for that Oba Martins goal(s) too!


  18. Tell you what like, my game on football manager is going well. We are a tidy team.

    Signed Luuk De Jong (£4 million) and sent Sturridge back to Chelsea. a bold move but Sturridge was a bit petulant, felt he’d rock the boat even though he was amazing. Only other signing is Aaron Hughes for £2 million.

    Main thing that influenced the decision though has been the emergence of Haris Vuckic. Four PL games into the season, won all 4 including against Man City (real fixtures aren’t in demo) and he has played behind Ba in every game.

    Cabaye is amazing, just scored 2 for France with 9.4 rating and Citeh trying to buy Colo off me, not happening



    cannit wait for this game like. I think Tiote/Cabaye are much better than parker/modric. But I think there wingers are a much larger threat than ours. I still believe we can take all 3 points. On the spurs mad board they are predicting like 5-1’s to them selfs. 😆


  20. I really do think we are being underestimated like. Just because we haven’t played to many “big guns” well they pick up points against the lesser teams, does that mean we cannot play on a playing field with them like?


  21. Dave, you know that lad that got a pride of Britain award I was complaining about? He’s been charged for assault 😆


  22. Batty, that would be great to see Cabaye score and assist a Saylor goal this weekend! Just to wake up those pricks in the media that Newcastle are meaning business this year


  23. 😛 Whats your UT looking like mate? I’m getting used to trading 200k profit 😛

    Helped by the fact that I got Sinclair in a pack 😛


  24. Yeah, he takes over on the web and makes the team, I just win the games 😎

    Nah, it’s still down, p*ss take! It’ll be up for 10 minutes then down again. They say it’s for greater game play on the console… but it was fine on FIFA 11!


  25. I think it will be alreet soon like. It just takes the mick cause its hard to trade on xbox, you just have a little slave who does it for you 😆


  26. Really sensible post. One or two notes. Spurs will almost def. not play VDV on the right in a 442. My guess is we will play Sandro and Parker in the middle and Modric wide right drifiting in. Though I hope they all end up in the middle. VDV and Ade or Defoe will be up front with Bale on the left.
    My worry from your team is Gutierrez if he plays on the left against Walker. Walker has been great so far but he can be beat.
    Newcastle kind of reminds me of Spurs a few years ago. It seems to me that you are 2-3 players away from consistently challenging for top 6.
    One note. I would say that Parker and Modric are better than Cabaye and Tiote. I have been very impressed with your CMs. However, Modric is easily the best player on the pitch for either team.
    Good luck after Sunday.


  27. Us Spur, the media go on and on about Bale, yes he’s a great player but like you say Modric a better player overall.


  28. us spur your having a laugh aboot parker ,most over rated player in the prem along with barry ,wouldnt get in our team .


  29. Batty-maybe Parker would not. Though I actually think Sandro is our best DM and he would get in your team. I also thought Parker was very overated before he played on my team. He does bring a lot to the table.

    Random question but how athletic is Cabaye? Is he quick? I have only seen him play a few times and was not paying close attention to him in particular. How is he at passing and taking players on? He does seem to shoot well from distance.


  30. Cabaye certainly knows how to pick a pass, he’s not the quickest but by no means the slowest but together with Tiote, they are a force.

    The graft they put in as well is second to none.


  31. Cabaye loves to go in for a tackle as well. They’re gonna be working their socks off on Sunday though. Really excited to watch this


  32. US Spur, I remember seeing that one match Cabaye covered the most ground on the pitch of any player from both teams (Villa I think)… another weekend he had the most successful passes of any player in the league. Likes a tackle too! How athletic is he? Very 😀


  33. Cheers for the comments ladies & gents. Must admit I was looking forward to this one coming out – A tough challenge writing one of these when you look at the job Toonsy has done with his, so a lot of similarities with his style has fone into this one…. 😛

    My predictions:

    If we play 4-4-2, we lose 2-1.
    If we play 4-5-1, we win 3-2.

    Come on lads! 😀


  34. thanks for an excellent write up shamrock,a lot of people worried about their wingers but i think spurs should worry about opurs just as much,whoever we play on the wings,will cause problems against most teams,3-2 to us


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