Its back to Premier League action this Sunday as Alan Pardew brings his Magpies team to town for Spurs vs Newcastle at White Hart Lane.
This fixture last season proved to be one of the most one-sided games we played. Yet an inspired Tim Krul managed to keep everything out as Newcastle nicked the game 1-0.
This term sees Pardew and his side in trouble near the foot of the Premier League. They’ve started poorly and are trying to integrate a number of new recruits in to the team.
So, how do his side play and where are they most vulnerable?
Where Newcastle concede chances
Spurs vs Newcastle last season saw us create a whole host of chances, including the point blank save on Christian Eriksen, through their full back zones. The Magpies are still vulnerable through here as they have a new full back pairing.
Davide Santon is out injured, whilst Mathieu Debuchy left to join Woolwich. Paul Dummett and Daryl Janmaat have taken their places in the line-up. 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.
In Newcastle’s recent 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 last away match with Swansea, the Welsh side got in to Dummett’s left back zone.
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 last weekend, 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.
Newcastle have shipped 14 goals in the Premier League so far this season, only Palace, Sunderland, Everton and QPR have allowed more. What’s worse for Alan Pardew’s side is that they’ve made 9 defensive errors from which they’ve conceded 4 goals. Only Everton have made more errors (10) and conceded a greater number of goals (5) from them.
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 Soldado or Adebayor to come short, should open up this space for other runners like Nacer Chadli.
Influence of Obertan
Alan Pardew made moves to bring in a number of players over the summer and he’s struggled to integrate them in to the team. Siem de Jong and Emmanuel Riviere are out injured, whilst Remy Cabella has been dropped to the substitutes bench as Pardew has gone for those with Premier League experience.
This has allowed ex-Manchester United winger Gabriel Obertan to get back in to the fold. He, along with Papiss Cisse, has been their most dangerous player.
Obertan scored their winner last week, but has also been manufacturing their best chances from his starting spot on the right wing.
His cross to Jack Colback saw the midfielder hit the bar as Newcastle almost grabbed a point at Stoke.
At Swansea he was key to the Magpies chance creation and goal scoring from the right side.
Last weekend he netted the only goal of the game, but also created two chances against Leicester.
While Papiss Cisse is often his target, the supply line is also equally as dangerous and Obertan needs to be watched here.
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.
That’s not to say that they will come to the Lane and sit back like last year. Newcastle have both dropped off and pressed teams this season. The pressing often comes from forcing teams in to wide areas and then recovering the ball.
We can see how they did this against Leicester last weekend, as they frequently recovered possession out towards the flanks in the Foxes’ half.
From regaining the ball, they then look to counter quickly, just as Gabriel Obertan and Papiss Cisse did on the game’s only goal.
Teams packing the centre and forcing us out towards the flanks is nothing new and a key way to stifle us. Newcastle haven’t been excellent at their sideline pressure, although Pardew’s shift to a 4-1-4-1 formation has helped, as opponents have still got at them through the centre.
If we do get stifled in the middle and pushed towards the flanks, then the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Newcastle should contain a plan B. This must look to see us gain width from either pushing our full backs on or by playing with a winger on his natural side.
Spurs vs Newcastle outlook
Prior to last season, we’d beaten Newcastle four times on the bounce at home in the Premier League, scoring ten times and conceding just once. Alan Pardew’s side are vulnerable and an early goal could get them rocking.
Getting at their defence will be key, especially through the full back zones and pulling Fabricio Coloccini around. The interchangeable and fluid nature of our front four will be vital here in opening them up.
Spurs vs Newcastle prediction: Spurs 2 Newcastle 1.