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MATCH PREVIEW

Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur preview

The Premier League is back and with it, a return to domestic duties for Tottenham Hotspur. Matt Walsh previews the season opener away at Newcastle United…

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Football was taken to the sidelines over the past two weeks, due to the fabulous Olympic Games that London held, but now it’s time for the circus show that is the Premier League to occupy our thoughts for the next nine months.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been looking forward to the first game of the 2012/2013 Premier League season ever since Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in May [shudders].

Since then, Tottenham Hotspur had a change in management to former Chelsea boss, Andre Villas-Boas, opened up the new training ground, and signed former Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen, and Swansea playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson. Oh, part two of the Luka Modric saga *sigh*.

If Chelsea hadn’t won that game, Spurs would have Champions League football, and could have been preparing for this game a little more differently, with more money and wages towards transfers, as it is, our only recognised striker for our first game of the season, away to Newcastle on Saturday at 5.30 pm, is Jermain Defoe, who can either be brilliant, or brilliantly awful.

Away to Newcastle is a very tough first game of the season, due to their overachieving last season, coming in 5th, just behind Spurs on 65 points. The attacking trident of Demba Ba, Papiss Demba Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa could prove the difference between the two sides. If Newcastle can kick on this season, it could be an interesting race for third and fourth again, between Spurs, Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Both sides have been relatively quiet throughout the transfer window, although both being constantly speculated with some of the world’s biggest stars, most notably France full back Mathieu Debuchy for Newcastle, and Brazilian poacher Leandro Damiao for Tottenham.

Last season was a good one regarding Tottenham’s results versus Newcastle; drawing 2-2 at Sports Direct Arena, despite being 2-1 up, and then thrashing Newcastle 5-0 at White Hart Lane, probably the only highlight of a blighted second half of the 2011/2012 season.

Likely line ups, depending on incoming transfers:

Newcastle United Starting XI:

Krul; Santon, Collocini, S. Taylor, Simpson; Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Guiterrez; Ba, Cisse

Tottenham Hotspur Starting XI:

Friedel; Assou Ekotto, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Walker; Sandro, Livermore; Bale, Sigurdsson, Lennon; Defoe.

Last five results versus Newcastle United:

11/02/12 – Tottenham 5-0 Newcastle – White Hart Lane

16/10/11 – Newcastle 2-2 Tottenham – Sports Direct Arena

22/01/11 – Newcastle 1-1 Tottenham – St James Park

28/12/10 – Tottenham 2-0 Newcastle – White Hart Lane

19/04/2009 – Tottenham 1-0 Newcastle – White Hart Lane

It’s worth noting that Spurs haven’t lost our last five meetings with Newcastle, although we have to go back four years to our last victory at St James Park, when Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jamie O’Hara (yes, Jamie O’Hara) scored the goals in a 2-1 win over the Magpies.

Four years earlier, we beat Newcastle at St James Park with a wonder-strike from Timothee Atouba, between those results; there have been various draws and losses, ranging from 2-1 to 3-1. Can we make it a win away from home every four years? It remains to be seen.

Match prediction:

Newcastle 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

  (Cisse)                (Sigurdsson)

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