The weekend’s Premier League action comes to a close with an exciting match-up between Newcastle and Tottenham at St James’ Park. Both teams are in a heated race for a coveted top-four spot in the league, making this a crucial six-pointer match.
Currently, Newcastle holds a three-point lead over Tottenham with a game up their sleeve, but they’re seeking redemption after last week’s loss to Aston Villa pushed them down to fourth place.
Newcastle has only conceded three goals in a Premier League match twice this season, and the defeat against Aston Villa was one of those rare occasions. The manager, Eddie Howe, acknowledged their failure to perform in all disciplines during the match, which is concerning.
However, returning to their home ground could help them regain focus as they’ve only lost once at St James’ Park since the start of 2022, with Liverpool being the only team to defeat them twice.
Tottenham, on the other hand, is unbeaten in their last four trips to Newcastle, winning three and drawing one match. They have a reputation for scoring at least two goals in every meeting, making them confident ahead of the game.
However, their interim head coach, Cristian Stellini, expressed concerns over his side’s defense after their recent defeat to Bournemouth, citing individual errors as the problem that needed fixing.
Stellini’s fears are warranted, given that Tottenham’s defense has conceded 45 goals this season, the second-highest among teams currently in the top 15 of the league table. Moreover, Tottenham hasn’t won any of their last four away games in the league, with the last two ending in draws and the previous two in defeats. A fifth win less game would result in their longest such run since 2019.
The match’s key battle is expected to be between Newcastle’s midfield dynamo Joe Willock and Tottenham’s Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
Willock has particularly shone in recent home wins against ‘big-six’ sides, scoring crucial goals. Meanwhile, Højbjerg has yet to lose a single match against Newcastle since joining Tottenham.
A hot stat to consider is that Newcastle has scored 15 of their 23 home goals in the second half, while Tottenham has conceded 18 of their 25 away league goals after halftime.