Premier League: 5 keys to Newcastle vs Spurs (a)

Newcastle vs Spurs is up next in the Premier League, so we break down John Carver’s Magpies.

A lot has happened up on Tyneside this season. So much so that there is a planned boycott of Newcastle vs Spurs this weekend by the Geordie faithful. You certainly can’t blame them when owner Mike Ashley continues to run the club like one of his sports shops.

Newcastle are in freefall at the minute having lost their last five in the Premier League and are in danger of being sucked in to the relegation dogfight. So, what can we expect from Newcastle vs Spurs this time and how do you go about breaking down John Carver’s team?

1. Attack the full backs

In both matches against Newcastle at White Hart Lane, the key to attacking success was going at their full backs, particularly the right back. In the 2-1 Premier League loss we created several chances by getting in through here but couldn’t take advantage.


Nacer Chadli gets free beyond RB Janmaat.

By the 4-0 Capital One Cup win we had learned our lesson and ruthlessly exposed their right side.

The reason for this is that Daryl Janmaat on the right is a very attacking full back and can often get caught forward. The Dutchman, in recent matches without Fabricio Coloccini, has been standing in at centre back, but should bo back to right back with the Argentinean’s return this weekend.

Since John Carver has taken over, the left back zone has become increasingly porous, even more so than the right in recent weeks. Vernon Anita and Jack Colback have had to stand in the wake of injuries and suspensions and opposing teams have targeted this when visiting St. James’s Park.

In Newcastle’s last two home Premier League matches, both Arsenal and Man Utd have come away with the three points by pinpointing the Magpies’ left side.

The Gunners earned a free kick from which they opened the scoring by getting at the left back. They then doubled their advantage as they won a corner from this side. Alexis Sanchez got in-behind in the left back zone to cause confusion in the Newcastle box and earn the set piece.


Alexis Sanchez gets at the Newcastle left back.

In Newcastle’s previous home match, an encounter with Manchester United, the only goal of the game came as Wayne Rooney also burst in-behind the left back.


Wayne Rooney gets at the Newcastle LB.

The Tottenham tactics for Newcastle vs Spurs would see us do well to attack the full backs once again. Daryl Janmaat can be caught forward, but the left side should also be targeted with Newcastle’s constant rotation of full backs here. Ryan Taylor may well get the nod this weekend and although more a full back than Anita or Colback, he is susceptible to speed.

2. Strategic press

Much has been made of our lack of pressing in recent weeks. Earlier in the campaign we were starting to see Pochettino’s fabled high pressing system, but that seems to have regressed in recent matches, as have the calibre of our performances.

Teams that have done well at St. James’s Park recently have pressed the Magpies, but have done it by going after the left side. Arsenal targeted this area extremely highly for their ball recovery.


Arsenal target the Newcastle left.

Manchester United weren’t as obvious as the Gunners, but also targeted this side in order to win the ball back and start attacks.


Man Utd ball recoveries vs Newcastle.

The Tottenham tactics for Newcastle vs Spurs would do well to also see us go after pressuring the full back zones. With the left side looking increasingly vulnerable, a better pressing player such as Erik Lamela would be a good call on our right.

3. Vertical ball movement

Newcastle can often play counter attack football and to have success against them you have to move the ball quickly forward up the pitch.

Arsenal did this well in their 2-1 victory in Newcastle’s last Premier League match at home.


Arsenal final third passes vs Newcastle.

Manchester United, by contrast, didn’t as they got held up in a sideways passing vacuum and just edged home with a scrappy Ashley Young goal.


Man Utd final third passes vs Newcastle.

Spurs will really need to move the ball forwards quickly in this game. We do struggle to break sides down once they are able to become set defensively, so the ball must be moved forward rapidly in transition.

4. Defensive errors

Spurs have been error prone recently, but Newcastle lead the Premier League in blunders that have lead to goals since John Carver has taken over.

During his time in charge, Newcastle have made 13 errors, 6 of which have lead to opposition goals, the most of any team in the top division. Ashley Young’s winner was typical of what has gone on recently as concentration has wavered and mistakes have crept in.

With Newcastle making defensive errors, this also adds weight to the argument to play more of a higher pressing game against them. Reducing the time allowed on the ball and distance to their goal should result in a higher chance of profiting from mistakes.

5. Ins and Outs

This game may be more about who is out rather than who is in the line-up. Newcastle are struggling with the sheer weight of injuries and suspensions, which does make now a good time to play them.

They have missed Fabricio Coloccini who makes them sturdier at the back, but as soon as he returns, they then loose Mousa Sissoko to suspension. The Frenchman is arguably Newcastle’s most influential player along with Papiss Demba Cisse who makes their crossing game function. Without the Senegalese international, the Magpies have looked a touch toothless in attack.

For us, the team news that Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker all remain doubts once again severely hurts our back line that has struggled recently.

Newcastle vs Spurs outlook

St. James’s Park has traditionally been a tough place to go. Victory there last season was our first since 2008. The Magpies are banged up though and so this is a good a chance as any to come away with the win.

The Geordies have failed to win at home recently and what was interesting about both Arsenal and Man Utd’s victories was that they both played 4-3-3. This allows them to get wide forwards to attack Newcastle’s full backs, whilst also applying pressure in these areas to create turnovers. A similar approach from Spurs would go well to paying dividends here.

Newcastle vs Spurs prediction: Newcastle 1 Spurs 2.

Newcastle vs Spurs betting

A difficult game to call, but I’m backing a return to wining ways and Christian Eriksen to end his goal-scoring drought.

Spurs to win 7/5 with Bet Victor.
Tottenham to win 2-1 at 8/1 with Betfair.
Christian Eriksen anytime goal at 14/5 with 888sport.


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2 Responses to Premier League: 5 keys to Newcastle vs Spurs (a)

  1. Shubes 18th April 2015 at 7:06 pm #

    While I think we can get away with playing attacking 4-3-3 i.e. Demeble as the defensive #10, seeing as this is a game with nothing to play for how about Mason as the defensive #10, Nabil as the tempo setter and Stambouli as the ball winning midfielder.

    Given that 7th will invariably mean Europa League anyway we might as well play about with the system and personnel.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 19th April 2015 at 12:41 am #

      It’s an idea and he’s certainly played there before. Personally I’d like to see Mason and Bentaleb get a rest and Poch to use some rotation in here. A three of Stambouli, Dembele and Eriksen would work for me. Front three of Townsend on the left, Kane through the middle and Lamela right.