The horrors of the 2015-16 season that lead to the Magpies being relegated to the 2nd Division have been put to rest, as Rafael Benitez’s men are back in the Premier league after a gap of 2 years. Newcastle proved that they are no 2nd-tier team by winning the EFL Championship easily. They now begin their 2017-18 campaign at home against the toughest opponents imaginable – Tottenham Hotspur. But the Spurs aren’t witnessing the most confident of beginnings to the new season. Their last 2 outings in the International Champions Cup have been disasters with losses to Roma and Manchester City. Add to that is a spate of injuries lead by Erik Lamela and Danny Rose. Both the players are recouping from injuries sustained in the previous season. So are Son Heung-Min, Victor Wanyama and Kieran Trippier. Pochettino is now left with no option but to try out 20-year old Kyle Walker-Peters in the absence of the dependable Kieran Trippier at the back. Moussa Sissoko also could be another option in the right-back space. The 27-year old Frenchman’s ability to storm down the wings and defend at the same time could give him the edge going into the weekend game. Eric Dier will have a larger role to play in the middle and also at the back what with Victor Wanyama’s start acfor the Newcastle clash in doubt. Toby Alderweirel and fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen look certain to start at St.James Park. Ben Davies will fill in for the injured Danny Rose in the left-back space. Christian Eriksen will have a more attacking role what with the injured Son Heung-Min out for the weekend clash. He along with brilliant Dele Alli will have a key role in getting goals for the Spurs along with their talisman, Harry Kane. Even though not in the best of forms of late, the 24-year old English striker will pose an enormous threat to the Newcastle goal.
At St.James Park, manager Rafael Benitez has been low on signings this season spending just a total of £31.5 million on 4 players – Christian Atsu (Chelsea Mid-fielder), Florian Lejeune (Eibar Defender), Jacob Murphy (Norwich mid- firelder) and Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid defender). It’s quite unlikely that Benitez is going to try any of them against Tottenham. But in the strikers department, the Magpies look spoiled for choice. Dwight Gayle, who was rested in the Magpies pre-seaon friendly against Hellas Verona will probably start off in the Tottenham clash. Ayoze Perez, Gayle and the enigmatic 22-year old Serb Aleksandar Mitrovic will take on the striking responsibilities for the home side.
Newcastle’s recent form has been much better than the Spurs. The Magpies lost in just one of the six pre-season games they featured in the July-August period. Nevertheless, Tottenham are the bookmakers’ favourite to win the St.James Park opener.
But surprisingly odds (Bet 365) for a 1-1 are 7/1 while for a 1-0 Tottenham win it’s 15/2 and for a 2-1 win it’s 8/1. Odds (Bet 365) for Newcastle 1-0 and 2-1 wins stand at a steep 16/1 each – the latter could very well be a surprise score.
Harry Kane tops the odds as far as first scorers go at 13/5 while for the Magpies it’s Dwight Gayle at 13/2.