The last time Newcastle played Tottenham away from home it was all a very ugly mess. The Spurs defeated the Magpies by a final score of 5-1 and it could have been much worse. Tottenham had 19 (!) shots to Newcastle’s eight, enjoyed a 61% possession share, completed nearly 550 passes... and they did all of that coming from behind as it was Fabian Schar who opened the score in the 39th minute of playing time.
Do you know what has changed since then? Newcastle simply don’t get scored on. Had those first 39 minutes been played this season it would have been much much tougher for Tottenham to pull off that comeback.
The poor neighbors from London, now threatened to fall off the Big Six making way for Newcastle to join the elite, would point to the game played at SJP earlier last season and just after the takeover by the Saudi group.
Spurs fans would say that even then, and with Newcastle playing on their home turf, they were good enough to defeat the Geordies at their own confines. That was another match dominated by Tottenham, and there is nothing wrong with that. The Spurs won that match 3-2 with Newcastle scoring their goals in the second and the second-to-last minute, so you get an idea.
Again, there is not a single chance Newcastle concede three goals at home this season—other than to future champions from Man City—and away from it, they have only allowed more than one goal just once—to Liverpool at Anfield already into the 17th minute of added time.
After losing to the now-feared, still-putrid Manchester United earlier this week, Tottenham is still sitting third in the Premier League table only behind wannabes from Arsenal and champs-in-the-making Manchester City. That should be reason enough to have Antonio Conte, Tottenham’s coach, more than happy about his and his team’s current situation.
Judging by his recent words it seems that’s not the case and, perhaps most worryingly for the Spurs fans believing in an Italian Renaissance, Conte might in fact be preparing his exit the minute the first bumps in the road pop up and put him in a precarious, underachieving situation.
Antonio Conte on Tottenham plans: "I've great respect for the club and what the club wants to try to do but at the same time I know our possibilities are different to the monsters that are in England". ⚪️ #THFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 22, 2022
"You need to have time, don’t make mistakes in the transfer market". pic.twitter.com/FHsFavErQe
Tottenham finished last season in fantastic fashion. They demolished inner-town rivals Arsenal late in the season and thus earned a Champions League position to Arsenal’s lesser Europa League berth. They also buried Burnley and Norwich down the Championship ranks while wrapping up their campaign in late May.
Remember that Conte, now rock-solidly entrenched in the manager position at the North London bench, arrived mid-season after Tottenham parted ways with Portuguese Nuno after a middling run to start last year. It took the Spurs one day—one freaking day—to appoint Conte after ditching Nuno, who tells you all you need to know about how safe Nuno was in the post and in Daniel Levy’s long-term view of his club.
Makes sense Conte is already building himself a cozy mattress just in case.
Nuno’s Tottenham were definitely not Conte’s. Tottenham kicked the year off with five losses in seven Premier League games. This season, Tottenham is sitting pretty in fifth and could have been second in the table had they defeated Manchester United last Wednesday.
Too bad for the Spurs, they couldn’t do so even while facing a team that had at least one of its players leaving the stadium well in advance of the final whistle. Tottenham lost points and a fantastic chance at winning against the mid-level-and-still-mingling squad.
In the only two matches against top-half teams Tottenham have played this month, they lost. Arsenal ran them out of town in the North London Derby, no less, and Manchester United (this Manchester United) were allowed to play their best game since the Good Old Sir Alex days by the Spurs.
Conte might be whining about the transfer market and having to land the proper players all he wants, but there is no denying that Tottenham flexed their financial muscle this past summer.
In came Richarlison for a fee that not even Newcastle felt comfortable paying, along with the final acquisition of Cristian Romero from Atalanta after he spent a few months in London while on loan. That was only the start, though, as the additions of Yves Bissouma, Destiny Udogie, and Djed Spence were all quoted at €15m or more. Talk about rich lads...
Also, don’t forget about Ivan Perisic (one year removed from winning the Serie A with Internazionale) or Clement Lenglet (Spanish League champion), just to name a couple of free/loaned players coming to town.
As many as 166 times have these two squads faced each other in the history of this thing we call football. The record: 73-59 in favor of the Spurs with 34 draws baked into the matchup. Ugh. Seven more seasons and the figures will be even, assuming Tottenham can avoid relegation in that timespan after Antonio Conte inevitably leaves London (again).
After an initial 1-1 draw in an FA Cup clash back in 1905, Newcastle got the better of Tottenham four days later settling the matchup with a sound 4-0 victory at St James’ Park. Your scoring gents: Bill Appleyard, Jimmy Howie, and Ronald Orr, all of them proud Geordie Club members kicking a piece of leather in front of 26,755 attendants.
More recently, though, things haven’t been so swayed London’s way as that last 5-1 result would lead you to think. Tottenham defeated the Magpies in their two most recent games, yes, but prior to that they could only beat NUFC two other times while Newcastle won another game and both teams drew two more matches between them from 2019/20 on.
Back to the present day, where would Tottenham be without Harry Kane? Disrespected as he’s ever been, Kane keeps banging goals in with ease. For all of the Erling Haaland talk, there’s been just one-third of it regarding the main Three Lions' hope ahead of the Qatar World Cup about to kick off in just one month.
Only three players in the top five European leagues have scored more goals than Harry Kane—Haaland, Robert Lewandowski, and Kylian Mbappe—and only two more have the same reached the same tally—Neymar and Jonathan David. No joke, this lad.
Richarlison had started to earn more minutes of late but an injury will leave him left of Sunday’s game. Dejan Kulusevski leads the Spurs in assists with three along with Ivan Perisic but the former will also miss this matchmaking way for Perisic to start.
Heung-Min Son, another one to start the year slowly, has finally rounded into proper form and is putting on masterful performances on a weekly basis now. Definitely, one to watch out for this Sunday—as if I need to tell you.
Conte will use his favorite 3-4-3 tomorrow with three center-backs and a couple of wing-backs. Didn’t work against Red United, won’t work against Black & White United—Newcastle hope, at least.
Eddie Howe spoke to the media on Friday providing some fresh takes on Newcastle’s state of affairs two days before the game.
On Joelinton, who was forced midway through the game against Everton:
“He had a knock to the side of his knee. We thought he could run it off but when he said he had to come off at half-time we knew there was potentially an issue there.”
“We’re hopeful it’s not serious but at this moment it’s still slightly unclear.”
On a young-but-already-solidified Sean Longstaff:
“I’m really pleased with Sean.”
“When we came in I was immediately hit with another lovely lad and a really good character who’s Newcastle through and through.”
“Athletically I think he gets around the pitch brilliantly, you can see the ground he covers every week”
“He’s also got a creative eye around the box and he’s been integral to some really good play on that right hand side of the pitch.”
“I’ve loved working with him and for me, he’s improved a lot of aspects of his game.”
On the victory against Everton on SJP last Wednesday:
“It really impressed me. Not because of free flowing football or in possession but our general attitude and performance defensively.”
“The second-half I thought was at the very highest level. To keep Everton to one shot speaks volumes for that.”
On Miggy’s game and unplayable form:
“Miggy’s best when he’s playing to his strengths which is all action, all energy & really good things have happened off the back of that for him.”
Third real test of the season after having played against Manchester City and Liverpool. Gotta keep the run going because important games won’t stop coming.
Finally, Bruno is also a wizard at the little thing called life, so much so that he’s now brought a new little human into the world! Congrats to Bruno, Ana, and tiny Matteo!
When and Where’s flowin’
- Date: Wednesday, October 19th
- Kick-off: 19:30 BST / 14:30 EST / 12:30 PST
- Location: St James’ Park (England)
- Broadcasts: Amazon Prime Video (UK), Peacock (USA), fuboTV (Canada)
For all your international watching needs, check LiveSoccerTV.com.
How’s it goin’
Coming Home, Crystal Ball: Tottenham 2-1 Newcastle
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Howay the Lads!