Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United host Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in what is surely the match of the weekend. In recent times, the two managers have had contrasting reputations. While Alan Pardew was awarded “The manager of the Season” last year for helping Newcastle finish in an unlikely fifth place, Villas-Boas was sacked by Chelsea following a pathetic run of games. This is Villas-Boas’ first competitive match since taking over as the manager and all eyes would be focused on him.
The two teams last met each other at White Hart Lane when Spurs hammered the Toons 5-0. Louis Saha, who scored two of those goals, has been released by the club while Emmanuel Adebayor has left for his parent club Man City after the end of his loan.
Newcastle’s four key players are not yet fully match-fit and will have their fitness assessed early on Saturday. Pappis Cisse is nursing a hamstring pull while Demba Ba has a shin injury and Ben Arfa has a knee trouble. But Colocinni is said to have recovered from the knock he suffered in the friendly against Cardiff last week. Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux are both available for selection after returning from long-term injury lay-offs.
Meanwhile, Tottenham too have their share of injuries as Scott Parker is out with an Achilles trouble and Heurelho Gomes has a knee injury while Gareth Bale is expected to be fit in time. Jan Vertonghen, brought in to replace Ledley King, is expected to start at centre-back position. Mid-fielder Luka Modric, who has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, is likely to be left out of the game. Defender Danny Rose remains suspended because of the red card he received in Spurs’ penultimate game of last season.
Newcastle’s probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Krul, Simpson, Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Anita, Gutierrez, Marveaux, Cabaye, Ba, Cisse.
Tottenham’s probable lineup (4-4-1-1): Friedel, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Bale, Van der Vaart, Defoe.
Both teams have a host of first-team players out and hence might not be at their best. However, they have depth in the squad and can produce a cracking contest. Looking at the history between these two, it has been ages since the Magpies last lost to Spurs at home. With a new manager in place and their star player unsettled, Spurs are unlikely to defeat Newcastle on home turf.
Newcastle 1 Tottenham 1.
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Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.