After edging Everton at home, tonight sees us head to Tyneside in search of three more Premier League points for Newcastle vs Spurs.
The Magpies beat us at the Lane earlier in the season as they looked to attack the space in-behind our high defensive line with a twin striker approach.
So, what can we expect and what should be the Tottenham tactics for Newcastle vs Spurs this time?
Newcastle set up and style
Newcastle were enjoying a good season, but have really had the heart and soul of their team ripped out over recent weeks.
Yohan Cabaye’s departure has seen them lose one of the best two-way players in the Premier League this season. The Frenchman not only orchestrated the attacks and possesses a fine shot from range, but he was also excellent at closing down defensively.
Cabaye is a permanent loss, but Newcastle are also dealing with suspensions and injuries to the rest of the spine of their side.
They are temporarily without their talismanic goalscorer, Loic Remy, due to suspension. This has seen them fail to score in their last three Premier League games.
Centre back Fabricio Coloccini, who brings a controlling effect to the back four, as well as tireless working defensive midfielder Cheick Tiote, are also out injured. They are not helped by influential wide man Yoan Gouffran also missing from the line-up. The Frenchman has weighed in with some big goals this season, whilst is also a willing worker without the ball.
All of this has left Alan Pardew searching to find “a game plan and a way that works for us.”
And this is where Newcastle are as a team at the minute, in limbo looking for answers.
So far, the game plan has centred on Hatem Ben Arfa. He lost his place due to his lack of defensive work, but has now been restored to the starting line-up in search of an attacking spark. The tricky Frenchman has become the main source to run the attack through, along with the powerful running of Moussa Sissoko.
Ben Arfa and Sissoko
Without Yohan Cabaye, Alan Pardew has given both Hatem Ben Arfa and Moussa Sissoko a chance in the centre and on the right.
Ben Arfa played as a direct dribbling number ten in a 4-2-3-1 against Sunderland, whilst he was moved out to play as a wide forward in a 4-3-3 against Chelsea.
Wherever he plays, the Frenchman is a threat to run with the ball and is highly nimble and able to beat opponents in a very confined area. This allows him to get shots away, but also to play short through passes whilst the defence is off balance. He was attempting to do this around the edge of the penalty area against Sunderland.
Moussa Sissoko has often been used on the right this season by Alan Pardew and allowed to drift inside so that his full back can overlap. The Frenchman is a very powerful runner with the ball, especially through the middle third on the counter attack. For a big man, he is very agile and able to create for others, whether it be a lay off, through ball or cross.
How Alan Pardew lines up his two dribbling specialists will be a key factor in the Tottenham tactics for Newcastle vs Spurs. One of them will play on the right, an area we have been susceptible in due to Christian Eriksen’s floating role on this side.
Shola Ameobi, Luuk De Jong or both?
In the absence of Loic Remy, Alan Pardew has tried both Shola Ameobi and loan signing Luuk De Jong in the central striker role.
Ameobi is strong and powerful in the air. Newcastle look to take advantage of this by quickly moving the ball up to him from the defensive third, so they can work off his knockdowns.
Ameobi isn’t just a hold up man though, as he is also a threat from crosses or to take a pass from Sissoko or Ben Arfa inside the area. He has ‘sneaky speed’ to get open rather than blistering pace, as he often starts his runs early and can get in unnoticed, but his finishing is still very hit and miss.
Luuk De Jong is also very good in the air, but is much more capable than Ameobi with the ball at his feet. This makes him a better option if Pardew wants to play 4-3-3 so that he can bring the wide forwards in to play.
Earlier in the season, Alan Pardew was often playing a 4-4-2 with Remy and Ameobi up top. This was something he looked to do in Spurs 0 Newcastle 1 at the Lane.
In possession, the Magpies were looking to hit quickly in transition with the two front men running in-behind our high line. This was how the only goal of the game came about as Gouffran tackled Paulinho and found Remy. As the ball went through, Ameobi was also on his way in order to occupy both central defenders.
With Newcastle at home and looking for an offensive spark, we may see Pardew go with a twin striker approach here.
Newcastle conceding chances
Throughout the season, Newcastle have been susceptible to conceding chances through the full back zones. This is understandable as when Davide Santon and Mathieu Debuchy are playing, both are encouraged to get forward and cross, so are vulnerable in transition.
This has allowed opponents to hit them on the counter through these zones; something Sunderland did well in the Magpies’ last home match.
With the recent spate of injuries to key members in the spine of the team and the loss of Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle are now allowing chances through the centre.
Against Chelsea, Vernon Anita partnered full back David Santon in front of a back four that contained two slow centre backs in Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson.
The Blues went straight at the heart of this soft centre and opened Newcastle up, most notable for Eden Hazard’s second goal.
With Tiote and Coloccini out once again and Cabaye departed, the Tottenham tactics for Newcastle vs Spurs should see us focus on this central zone too. The Magpies will also be without right back Mathieu Debuchy, with potentially Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa standing in. Therefore, Danny Rose and Andros Townsend could be a good point of attack down the left.
Newcastle vs Spurs outlook
St. James’s Park has always been a tough place to go, but now would seem as good a time as any with Newcastle struggling to find form and a system of play.
Due to suspensions and injuries, there will be two key areas of the pitch. In front of the back four and the Newcastle right back zone.
We need to attack these areas and a switch to move Cristian Eriksen central may be beneficial to going at the middle. The team news that Andros Townsend came through the Everton match and is again available would then allow him to play on the left.
The weather will play a part as will a raucous home crowd that will be looking for their side to bounce back.
Newcastle vs Spurs prediction: Newcastle 1 Spurs 2.