Tottenham Hotspur’s restless attempt to dig themselves out of trouble continues on Sunday as they welcome injury-hit Newcastle United for a revenge-poised clash in north London.
Manager Ange Postecoglou must have felt a sense of deja vu in midweek Premier League action, with Spurs going 1-0 up, courtesy of Cristian Romero’s 11th-minute opener, only to lose 2-1 to West Ham United.
Spurs’ nasty habit of throwing away early leads has become a common theme following the Australian tactician’s dream start to the 2023/24 campaign, threatening to undermine his bid to secure a top-four finish.
Despite opening the scoring within the first 25 minutes in their last five league outings, Tottenham have only won one point in that stretch en route to setting an unwanted piece of Premier League history.
Avoiding the same mistake has become imperative for Postecoglou’s side after a string of underwhelming results saw them tumble down to fifth in the standings, nine points adrift of table-topping Arsenal.
Newcastle’s visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium seems timely, as travel sickness threw another spanner in Eddie Howe’s effort to steer his team towards another Champions League qualification.
Howe’s depleted line-up slipped to a disastrous 3-0 defeat at relegation-battling Everton on Thursday, conceding all three goals beyond the 75th minute.
Another winless domestic trip left the Magpies four points behind the top-four pace, underscoring the need to address their travel woes on short notice.
If you look at West Ham’s winning goal, you’d realise Postecoglou’s defenders are working against the club’s best interest.
Destiny Udogie’s poor back pass would’ve produced a straight red for goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario if James Ward-Prowse hadn’t slotted the ball home at the second time of asking.
But it was only the latest example of Spurs’ otherwise chaotic defensive reactions, leading to the team conceding 13 goals during that five-game winless league streak.
Since a 2-1 away win over Crystal Palace in late October, Tottenham have capitulated at least twice in all five Premier League outings, red-flagging their notoriously porous backline as the team’s weakest link.
Newcastle have proved well-versed in taking every opportunity to score, but with Howe’s squad crippled by injuries, finding the net in the capital won’t be straightforward.
An 8-0 humbling of basement boys Sheffield United in September remains the Magpies’ only Premier League success on hostile turf this season (D2, L4).
It’s worth mentioning that the Toon Army only netted five goals on their remaining six top-flight trips.
By contrast, Newcastle displayed tremendous scoring capacity in last season’s league duels against Tottenham, emerging 2-1 victors in this corresponding fixture before a famous 6-1 routing at home in April.
Tottenham are still without long-term absentees Ivan Perisic, Ryan Sessegnon, James Maddison, Micky van de Ven and Manor Solomon, but that’s not all.
Rodrigo Bentancur picked up a new fitness problem before Eric Dier was diagnosed with a muscle problem, which ruled him out of Thursday’s trip to Goodison Park.
On the other hand, the infirmary crisis at St James’ Park has reached unprecedented levels after captain Jamaal Lascelles joined ten of his injured teammates on the sidelines.
In addition to the towering centre-back, Nick Pope, Dan Burn, Matt Targett, Javier Manquillo, Sven Botman, Elliot Anderson, Jacob Murphy, Sean Longstaff, Sandro Tonali and Joe Willock remain inactive.
Tottenham Hotspur potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Vicario; Porro, Romero, Davies, Udogie; Bissouma, Sarr, Lo Celso; Johnson, Kulusevski, Son.
Newcastle United potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Dubravka; Trippier, Krafth, Schar, Livramento; Miley, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Isak, Gordon.
We Say: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Newcastle United
Newcastle completed a league double over Tottenham last season and could now beat them three times in a row for the first time since 2008.
However, we back Spurs to benefit from the Magpies’ ominous injury crisis and break the deadlock between these sides in the overall H2H stakes in the Premier League, currently levelled at 24 wins apiece (D8).
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