The Spurs come to Toon on Saturday for second half rematch. The Magpies lost the first at White Hart, and the Spurs are still in good form, but that doesn't mean there's no reason to play this one. Newcastle have at least a puncher's chance, and if they can put all the pieces together just a little better than last week Tottenham Hotspur may have something to worry about. That said, I'm sure Spurs are in no mood to mail it in as they are nipping at the heels of Chelsea in the #4 spot on the table.
Since we faced them last month Spurs have remained in good form, which makes them every bit as dangerous as the last time we faced them. You may recall that wor lads played a great first half, and started to crumble shortly into the second half. Even though this game will be at home I don't think we'll be able to expect a better result if we follow that path again. No, we won't be able to out-wait the Tottenham team and hope they fold late on the road.
I said earlier that we had a puncher's chance, and if we're going to take that chance it's got to be like a puncher, not a grinder. We'll need to be sharp, come out swinging, and hope to bloody their nose before they know what's going on. Then maybe we can ride that out.
Andy Carroll will still be out with the meerkat thing, Steven Taylor remains injured as well, and Chiek Tiote will serve the second game of his suspension. And of course we won't see Alan Smith or Wayne Routledge either. Hatem Ben Arfa and Ryan Taylor both remain unfit, but Sol Campbell may be ready. I think Alan Pardew will stick with Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini at any rate.
Spurs are missing no one special and may premiere the newly signed Steven Pienaar.
Keys to Victory:
As I said we need to be looking to strike blood early, remember it's a puncher's chance, not your normal home tie. The crowd at SJP is great and our home record against Tottenham is great, but this Spurs side is too healthy and in too good a form for us to play it safe at home as is the norm.
Strikers will need to be on target with Big Andy nursing that leg. That's right, I'm looking at you Shola Ameobi, I haven't forgotten that two inch miss at S*nderland. Put them in the back of the net lad! We're behind you!
Defense, Defense, Defense! I really like the Willo Colo pair and I hope they can put together the same kind of performance they did at the Stadium of Blight. If we can keep them off the scoreboard I just don't think we'll be looking at a 0-0 draw at the final whistle.
Dangers for Defeat:
If we can't find a way to disrupt passing we'll be in for a long day. Spurs have great passers throughout that squad and their confidence usually waxes as a game goes on. If we let them complete long series of passes early we won't have a chance of stopping them late.
Let them control the ball, let them control the game. I know this seems obvious, but against lots of teams you can overcome possession differential. Not with Spurs. They play their best with the ball on their feet, and if we let them win the possession battle it will translate to the scoreboard.
Prediction: NUFC 1-3 THFC, I think we can win this game, but I don't think we will. Spurs are too much for us at full health. If we manage to win or draw it will be that we stole it away, we will not overpower this Spurs squad.
Howay the Lads!