Tonight sees us in Capital One Cup Quarter-Final action with Spurs vs Newcastle for a place in the Semi-Finals.
Last time Newcastle came to White Hart Lane they were in serious trouble in the lower depths of the Premier League. After an inspired turnaround in form, they arrive for tonight’s Capital One Cup tie in a much healthier position and will be a difficult force to beat.
So, what should we be on the lookout for in Spurs vs Newcastle this time and what are the weaknesses we can expose? Here are 5 keys to the game.
1. Exposing Newcastle’s full backs
In Spurs vs Newcastle at the Lane in October, we opened them up on several occassions from attacking through their full back zones. Nacer Chadli got free here.
Another example was Danny Rose wide open on a cross with the Newcastle right back pinching in to help his centre backs.
The Magpies are still vulnerable through here due to their new full back pairing, Paul Dummett and Daryl Janmaat. The former is susceptible due to his inexperience, the latter due to his propensity to fly forward. Janmaat is more of a wing back than a full back and can be caught up field in attack.
But it’s not just us that have exposed this weakness to create chances. In Newcastle’s away trip to Stoke, the men from the Potteries scored and created two other good chances from getting in to Janmaat’s full back zone.
In Newcastle’s away match with Swansea, the Welsh side got in to Dummett’s left back zone.
Swansea’s goals in that game arrived through the middle though, another area of potential weakness.
2. Separating Newcastle’s centre backs
Swansea’s goals in that game exposed Newcastle’s new weakness this season, Fabricio Coloccini’s impetuous defending.
The Magpies usually look better with Argentinean in the line-up. However, without the sturdy Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote pairing in front of him this season, Coloccini’s rashness has been exposed.
Swansea took advantage of this on their first goal. Wilfried Bony played a wall pass to give and go with Gylfi Sigurdsson, as Coloccini was caught cheating out from his back four.
Leicester also did this as Coloccini was caught out from his back four again.
Later, as Newcastle defended a one-goal lead in the dying seconds, Coloccini tried to dive in on the wrong side of Jamie Vardy, allowing the Leicester man in towards goal.
Coloccini’s impetuous nature to come towards the ball looking to cut it out sees him get in to trouble as he is not the quickest to recover.
The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Newcastle should not only focus on attacking the full back zones, especially Janmaat’s side when he is forward, but also through the middle. Pulling the centre backs around through the movement of our strikers to come short, should open up this space for other runners to burst in to from deep.
3. Spurs vs Newcastle errors
Alan Pardew’s side have made a number of defensive errors this season.
Rash defending has been one factor, but the Magpies have made 14 defensive errors so far in the Premier League this season. Only Man Utd (16), Everton (18) and Liverpool (20) have comitted more. What’s worse is that they’ve conceded 5 goals from these errors, only Liverpool (6) and Everton (8) have allowed more goals from slip ups.
The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Newcastle should focus on pressing them early in possession and trying to force mistakes from which we can capitalise.
4. Newcastle Counter attacks
In Spurs 0 Newcastle 1 at the Lane last season, Alan Pardew’s side scored from a turnover in midfield that they quickly counter attacked on.
Pardew continues to set his side up to play counter attacking football, especially away from home. We saw this on their trip to the Lane in October, especially in the second half when they scored twice.
Although not tecnically a counter attack, moving the ball quickly forward saw Sammy Ameobi tie the score at 1-1 just seconds after the restart. They then took the lead as Moussa Sissoko gained the ball from a turnover in midfield and drove forward on a more classic counter attack. He shifted it quickly to Remy Cabella who crossed for Ayoze Perez to nod home.
Spurs vs Newcsatle this evening should once again see the Magpies play on the counter attack and we have to be mindful of getting caught in transition.
5. Avoiding the stifling centre
Newcsatle do try and pack the centre to force teams out towards the sidelines where they can regain the ball. They did this effectively in their Premier League match with Leicester.
They also did this against us in the match at the Lane earlier this season, where the frequently got numbers in the middle of the park.
To get round this, teams facing the Magpies need to move the ball quickly, whilst also using width. They can still attack through the centre, as Swansea showed in the Bony and Sigurdsson example above, but the ball must move quickly through one-touch passing.
If opponents are too slow with the ball and play narrowly, Newcastle will often engulf them and stifle their attacking play, frustrating them.
We don’t often play with speed, so Mauricio Pochettino’s selections in the wide areas will be key in Spurs vs Newcastle tonight. If we don’t play at a tempo then we need to play with width.
Spurs vs Newcastle prediction: Spurs 2 Newcastle 1.