Spurs v Newcastle, TOTT Preview
Newcastle visit White Hart Lane, the scene of their last league defeat inside the M25, 7 games and almost 2 years ago. Spurs are on form, but can the Magpies steal the points?
These two clubs share a lot of recent history, with players moving either way and speculation raging about which might be making the opposite journey during the transfer window. The manager who rejected Ashley hosts the manager who couldn`t get to the North East quickly enough and who played 4 Inter Toto games on loan at Spurs in the 1990s under coach, Chris Hughton.
Harry Redknapp brings his team into this encounter unbeaten in 7 league games since early November with an average of 2 goals per game since. Home form sees then with just one defeat, against lowly Wigan. He is without the suspended Defoe following the Boxing Day boxing match against Aston Villa.
As potentially the next England manager, Redknapp will rely on the unpredictable Gomes who has not kept a domestic clean sheet since the opening day fixture against Newcastle`s last opponents, Manchester City. He will be torn between a 4-5-1 and 4-4-2.
Tasked with taming Redknapp`s alleged striker transfer target are likely to be English international Dawson, alongside Frenchman Kaboul. On the right we expect rumoured Newcastle target, Scottish international Hutton, with Cameroonian Assou-Ekottu on the left. Newcastle refugee, Bassong, will be eagerly anticipating the opportunity to try to shackle his one time training buddy.
Midfield is probably the strongest area for this squad, with England international, another former Toon target, Lennon on the right. Modric rejected Keegan for Redknapp, with top scorer van der Vaart always likely to pose a threat. The emergent wide player of the season, having taken Europe by storm, is Welshman, Gareth Bale. Honduran Palacios provides an extra option with ex Magpie, Steve Guppy (aka Jenas) likely to be on the bench.
The challenge for the Newcastle defence is between two strikers, England wind turbine lookalike Peter Crouch, who could play up on his own or with the deftly subtle Russian, Pavlychenko. The Toon will have to be prepared to cope with the onrushing midfield support.
Alvin Pardew`s best result in 4 attempts as a manager against Spurs has been a 1-1 draw while at West Ham. He also has to make a choice between a 4-4-2, a formation which proved effective against Liverpool, or a 4-5-1 which failed against Man City. Despite a couple of errors against City, the goalkeeping choice should be to stay with Krul.
With Simpson assured of a wide berth Perch may be drafted in for the doubtful Enrique, Coloccini and Taylor might be expected to continue the partnership which thrived at the start of last season, although Williamson could be brought in to counter the aerial presence, former Spur, Campbell also and option should he have recovered from illness.
Devoid of options on the left of midfield, Jonas should continue, Nolan`s suspension causing a headache. Tiote is a certainty in the centre, and could be joined by either Guthrie or Barton, maybe both if Spurs reject Routledge keeps his place. Smith offers a holding alternative.
If fit, after a slight concern at the weekend, Andy Carroll should lead the line. Without his landlord, and usual partner in goals, this could be an opportunity for the in favour Ranger to start a Premier league game. Lovenkrands is also at hand.
eferee for the occasion is Manchester`s Anthony Taylor, making only his 7th Premier League appearance. He is new to Spurs, but managed the Toon`s 3-0 home win against Reading as well as the 3-0 away defeat at Derby.
After a good run against London clubs, in the league at least, Newcastle will fancy their chances. Spurs will however be favourites to maintain their assault on the European places. After draws in his first 5 games of the season, referee Taylor has not seen one since during a run of 11 games. His last draw was in the League Cup at Anfield, with Northampton the guests, showing that he is no respecter of favourites.
As for Alvin Perdew, with his predecessor winning this season at the Emirates, Upton Park and Stamford Bridge, anything less than a victory will be a poor reflection on the owner`s choice of team custodian.
Newcastle at White Hart Lane:
P71 W21 D13 L27 F86 A121
P16 W7 D1 L8 F21 A27
Tottenham (from): Gomes, Hutton, Dawson, Bassong, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Palacios, Van der Vaart, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Keane, Sandro, Crouch, Cudicini, Bentley, Giovani, Corluka, Jenas, Gallas.
Newcastle (from): Harper, Krul, Simpson, Perch, Ferguson, Enrique, Coloccini, Williamson, S. Taylor, Campbell, Kadar, Barton, Tiote, Smith, Routledge, Gutierrez, Guthrie, Vuckic, Tavernier, Donaldson, Carroll, Lovenkrands, Ranger, Xisco.