The 2017-18 Premier League season begins this weekend, with the English top flight offering several interesting and intriguing fixtures. One such match will take place Sunday afternoon at St. James’ Park, when Newcastle United host Tottenham Hotspur.
The Magpies return to the first division after one season in the Championship. Spurs finished runners-up last term to Chelsea in the Premier League.
While Tottenham and manager Mauricio Pochettino may be favoured, there is certainly a chance for an upset. Newcastle’s home supporters will create an electric atmosphere, and the players will be brimming with energy.
One of the keys to victory for Newcastle will be in their defensive shape, and also how well they are able to stifle the opposition’s attack.
With the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane leading the line, Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez will have to have his side prepared to be at their best on Sunday.
The Magpies added former Eibar centre-back Florian Lejeune this summer, and he will be a crucial figure in their success.
The French international faced some of the world’s best attacking squads in La Liga last season, and that experience will aid him in his task this weekend against Spurs.
The forward position lacks depth at the moment for Newcastle, with Aleksandar Mitrovic likely starting at the top of the line-up. Dwight Gayle has enjoyed a promising summer, but missed the team’s final pre-season match last weekend against Hellas Verona with a hamstring injury.
If Gayle is able to play, he will be counted on to produce in the final third and create dangerous scoring opportunities.
But it could be Newcastle’s ability on the wing that brings them joy, and may be difficult for Tottenham to completely stop.
Newcastle offer unique weapons with the likes of Christian Atsu and Jacob Muprhy, both players who can stretch the opposing defence with their pace and creativity. If they are able to provide service effectively to Mitrovic and Gayle, Newcastle have a strong chance for a positive result on Sunday.
Similar transfer frustrations
An ironic element to this match is the similar situations that both clubs find themselves in during the transfer period, and that is a situation of great angst. Transfer rumours for Tottenham seemed to surely set them up for new talent, but that has not materialised as of yet.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley had pledged a significant budget for the current window ahead of their Premier League return. However, this has not seen a major signing and has left a negative feeling amongst fans.
While Lejeune and Murphy are good additions, there was more to be expected for a side that wants to ensure that they remain in the Premier League moving forward into the future.
Transfers could still happen before the end of the month, and these two clubs could look very different later in the campaign in regards to personnel. But playing at a ferocious home ground and in good form coming off pre-season friendlies, a disciplined and focused Newcastle United can defeat Tottenham.