Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur match preview

Posted on October 14th, 2011 | 39 Comments |

Harry Redknapp.
'Arry boy: "No income tax, no VAT..."
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Sunday, October 16th, 2011.
Kick-off: 4:00pm.
Referee: Lee Probert.
TV:Sky Sports 1 / HD.

Hurrah! The Premier League is back this weekend, with Harry Redknapp bringing his Spurs side up to the north-east on Sunday, to face Alan Pardew’s undefeated Newcastle United. The match is scheduled for live broadcasting, courtesy of Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD 1.

The Magpies are currently flying high in 4th position at present, and have yet to taste defeat this term in their seven opening league games, as well as being undefeated in their two away ties in the League Cup. At St James’ Park, Newcastle have played three matches, winning two (Fulham and Blackburn), and drawing one (Arsenal). United have scored five goals at home this term, conceding two.

Tottenham started the season with a 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford, followed by a 5-1 mauling by Manchester City at White Hart Lane. Their next Premier League duel was at Wolves, where they prospered 2-0. A thrashing of Liverpool 4-0 at home was then followed by a 2-1 victory at Wigan. Their last league game was the north London derby, where they dispensed of Arsenal 2-1, thanks to goals from Rafael Van Der Vaart and Kyle Walker. Away from home, Tottenham have played three and won two (scoring four and conceding four).


In defence, both Newcastle and Spurs share remarkably similar ‘tackle success’ percentages with United achieving a 73.33% success rate, and Spurs currently on 73.28%. Newcastle have made a total of 128 defensive interceptions with a ratio of 17.27 interceptions per game. Tottenham have managed 123 interceptions, with a ratio of 19.49 per game.

Unsurprisingly considering Tottenham’s wealth of midfield talent, Spurs have managed 469 more accurate passes than the Magpies, with a total of 2558 to Newcastle’s 2089. This means Spurs have a better ‘passes per minute’ average, with our opponents currently completing 5 successful passes per minute, compared to Newcastle’s 4.

Spurs create a goal scoring chance (on average) every 6.17 minutes, United create a chance every 9.53 minutes. Newcastle currently stand on 41% in regards to shooting accuracy, where Tottenham better that with 48%. However, both sides share the same ‘chance conversion’ percentage, currently set at 13%. It is worth noting that Tottenham have played one game less than the Magpies in the Premier League this season, due to their league encounter at home to Everton being called off, because of the rioting in the capital a few days before the opening Premier League weekend.

Mags Vs Spurs – History

Newcastle United have scored more goals against Tottenham (56) in the Premier League, than against any other team. In 34 meetings since 1992 / 1993, there have been 102 goals shared between the sides.

Interestingly, both Newcastle and Tottenham have not had a spot-kick awarded for or against them so far this season. They are the only two clubs to have achieved this so far. At St James’ Park, Newcastle boast an impressive record against old floppy chops’ team, with only two home league defeats since the 2000 – 2001 season. Since then, Newcastle have won eight, drawn one and lost two. Last seasons encounter saw a Fabricio Coloccini effort cancelled out by Aaron Lennon in stoppage time, as the match ended 1-1. Cast your mind back to the 1996 -1997 season, and you may remember the 7-1 thumping we handed Spurs on Tyneside, with Alan Shearer, Sir Les Ferdinand and Robert Lee all scoring two, and a solitary strike from Philippe Albert.


Newcastle United (From): Tim Krul (G), Steven Harper (G), Ryan Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Steven Taylor, Danny Simpson, Davide Santon, Shane Ferguson, Jonas Gutierrez, Yohan Cabaye, Cheick Tiote, Gabriel Obertan, Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling, Danny Guthrie, Hatem Ben Arfa, Haris Vučkić, Leon Best, Demba Ba, Peter Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi.

Tottenham Hotspur (From): Brad Friedel (G), Carlo Cudicini (G), Kyle Walker, Ledley King (C), Younes Kaboul, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Sebastien Bassong, Vedran Corluka, Aaron Lennon, Rafael Van Der Vaart, Niko Kranjcar, Sandro, Scott Parker, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Giovanni Dos Santos, Jake Livermore, Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor, Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Haris Vučkić and Shola Ameobi are back in contention for the Magpies, but Mike Williamson is still a few weeks away from fitness. There seems to have been a large amount of panic surrounding both Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba, and whether or not they are both injured. It seems that Cabaye is fine, as he played 60 minutes of France’s draw with Bosnia on Tuesday night, and Ba wasn’t involved for Senegal recently, purely as a precautionary measure. So both look likely to be involved on Sunday.

On the Tottenham side, early indications suggest Emmanuel Adebayor is doubtful with a hamstring strain, as are William Gallas (calf) and Michael Dawson (Achilles). Tom Huddlestone will miss the match, but Aaron Lennon, who scored in both league encounters against us last term, should be fit enough to be involved. Recent team news also suggests that Niko Kranjcar and Vedran Corluka may both miss out, after being forced off during international duty with Croatia in midweek. Rafael Van Der Vaart and Sandro are also doubts for Harry Redknapp’s squad, after picking up calf and hamstring injuries respectively.

Probable formation

Newcastle United probable formation v Tottenham
Same again, probably.
I can’t see Pardew altering a winning formula for Sunday, though I think we should change to a 4-2-3-1 / 4-4-1-1, and drop Obertan for Marveaux (the guy deserves his chance).

Spurs will likely employ a 4-4-1-1, with Van Der Vaart (if fit) dropping deep into the midfield to help with the dictation of play. The problem Newcastle will face is that Spurs can, and will, knock the ball around the central areas with ease and likely target our full-backs (Simpson and Ryan Taylor). It scares me greatly thinking about Bale and Lennon against Simpson and Ryan Taylor, so our wide midfielders (Jonas and Obertan), must track back and help the defence. Now, I have little concern about Jonas, as he will track back willingly, and help Taylor. Obertan however, seems less inclined to do so and personally, I haven’t been that impressed with him since his arrival. I am aware it’s early days for him at the moment, but Marveaux has shown some bright aspects to his play in his limited pitch time thus far, and I like what I’ve seen of him.

Gareth Bale running free down our right hand side, is certainly a worry, and I’m sure Pardew will address the situation. Last season, Redknapp wanted to employ both Bale (at left-back) and Pienaar (left-midfield) against us at St James’ Park because in his own words: “Newcastle don’t play with a right-midfielder”. Now, Harry was referring to Barton’s inability to refrain from straying in-field, exposing Danny Simpson at right-back. Well, on Sunday I expect Harry to employ the same kind of instructions, but he’ll likely target both right and left sides of Newcastle’s defence.

Dropping either Best or Ba, seems a bold move, but it’s something I would do, to allow for an extra midfielder. As form goes, I’d drop Best, and possibly involve Hatem Ben Arfa. Trouble is, if Pardew drops a striker and we lose, people will complain. What I think he will do, is to ask Ba, to drop slightly deeper than Best, to help out the midfield. This tactic has been used by Pardew quite often, especially against Blackburn at home. Obviously Blackburn and Tottenham are at two completely different ends of the scale!

We can however cause Spurs a large amount of problems, if we target their weakness, which is their lack of height and their failure at times to defend set-pieces properly. United posses a much bigger squad than Tottenham, and with the set-piece taking abilities of both Yohan Cabaye and Ryan Taylor in our ranks, don’t be surprised if we cause Spurs more problems than the media are suggesting we will.


It’s going to be tough on Sunday, and this will really help gauge where United are at present. Last season I thought Spurs were one of the best teams we played, and I think our performance at St James’ Park in the 1-1 draw was one of our best in terms of work rate and effort displayed. Spurs didn’t give us a moments rest in either game last season, and I don’t expect any let up this weekend. I really think that we need to try and match Spurs in the centre, man for man, as if Redknapp employs an extra midfielder in there, they will totally dominate us.

Pardew seems to take an absolute age to change anything tactically in a match, as he is very stubborn with his team selections and the instructions he sets out. If you remember the QPR game recently, we got overran and outplayed for 75 minutes, and then he decided to alter the formation. He admitted in his post match interview that he knew we were being outplayed but “wanted to play two up front”. Now, Pardew has done really well thus far, but if we set out, or even begin like we did against QPR, Tottenham will take their chances and we won’t be able to catch them. I will stress however, that I am confident for Sunday, and I believe we can pick something up. If we don’t get any points, it’s not the end of the world, as we are beating the teams around us currently. Tottenham are a top six side, Newcastle are not. Disregard Keegan’s recent comments about Newcastle finishing in the top six, because it’s not going to happen yet. Can we finish in the top eight? Maybe. Can we finish in the top ten? Certainly.

Sunday will be a great chance for the lads and Alan Pardew, to show what they’re about. What better way of doing it, than against one of the Premier leagues best sides, live on Sky Sports and hopefully in front of a packed St James’ Park.

Howay The Lads.

NUFCBlog Author: Jimbob Backpacker extraordinaire and current resident of sunny Sheffield. Loves Marmite, hates peanut butter. Sleeps twice a day, wrestles Polar Bears because he can and regards himself as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce. Jimbob has written 40 articles on this blog.

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39 Responses

  1. Yeah great comparing the stats of the season so far, slightly unfair though considering in our 6 games we have played a top 6 club 4 times (Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal) compared to your one decent opponent Arsenal who you held to a dull draw at home.

    We still have passed the ball more than you and created more chances which shows how much a miss match Sunday is going to be, the only saving grace for you is Kaboul, Walker, Adebayor, Sandro and Lennon all may be out……..we will still win either way.

    I tell you what next time you compare stats make sure its after we have played Swansea, Norwich, Bolton and QPR and you have started the season with games against Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

    Gosh a couple of average performances against a piss poor Blackburn, Wolves and Sunderland and you think your back……we are going to spank sense into you losers Sunday

  2. Can’t wait for this one,seems ages ago since we played the goons.Great to be playing a team with proper fans and lets hope we see a high scoring game

  3. Jay, what am I supposed to do, compare stats of yours against teams you haven’t played yet? You fcking idiot.

    Are you a mackem on a wind up, or actually mentally challenged?

    I look forward to seeing you return here come Sunday afternoon, if you have lost and not “spanked sense into us”.


  4. Wyart Lane, feelings mutual. I have a feeling there will be goals. There usually is between us when we play.

  5. Jay you obviously have an evil twin, the one who was on our blog the other day seemed a decent bloke with a good line in argument, this version is a tw*t, just looking for a fight.

    As I have previously said there are no easy games and points won are points earned, stats are a load of b*llocks. I’ve seen stats where we have had a bigger percentage of positive ones and lost and vice versa. I expect your lot has had the same experience. So stop the silly invective and look forward to what promises to be a good game, it should show where we both stand prospect wise although I am expecting a win for us.

  6. Harper
    Saylor. Collo.

    Simpson. Tiote. Raylor.
    Obetan. Jonas.

    I think a.2 3 2 2 1 play collo and saylor deep with Simpson and raylor as wing backs with tiote helping out in middle. I’d personaly play with Jonas and Obetan shadowing Simpson a raylor. So playing with two wing backs on both flanks. Give Cabaye a flowing role to either cover tiote or cover best. I’d play best as a runner to either carry the ball to BA or track back and cover an attacking midfield. I definitely have best as a more attacking supply for BA upfront on his own. Best seems to be having a good time supplying BA at the moment and I wouldn’t want this to change. I don’t think spurs will make it easy. Watch for barra boy playing lennon and bale on the same flank to exploit any weaknesses. I think modric playing along side bale will be too much of a handful so adapting a double wing back can only go toward a quick counter attack and solid defence. I expect lord of tag teams from arry with any weak links exploited. Not only will the lads on the pitch need to be on the ball but so will the 12 th man so as fans we need to make sure we are as loud as we can be. No room for vocal chords on Monday morning. HOWAY the laddddsssss.

  7. I was at the match at SJP last season and it became clear how you beat spuds: play them physical as they’re very skilled but also very soft. Tiote put VDV in his pocket and the latter spent most of his energy whining to the ref for “protection.” I do think we need to go with a 5-man midfield, generally and especially for this game. Unfortunately, AP is displaying the same fear of change that Hughton did at times. Too bad, as especially if Sandro doesn’t play we can win the midfield in this match.

  8. Where’d you get all those stats? Impressive. So, we’ll get nine chances against Spurs then… (maybe!) We need to score twice to beat them because they will score. Can we? Sure thung

  9. cyprus says:
    October 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    “Where’d you get all those stats? Impressive. So, we’ll get nine chances against Spurs then… (maybe!) We need to score twice to beat them because they will score. Can we? Sure thung”

    What if they score twice or more Cyprus?

    I’m not Jimbob but the stats may be from OPTA.

  10. Interesting Preview.
    Stats.,sorry they mean little, apart from the fact Spurs have had to play tougher sides.
    Your intuative belief that Pardew will play an unchanged side, is probably correct.
    Which gives me reason for concern, to have a manager who plays a one side fits all policy, simply based on an “If it aint broke” attitude.
    When we should be picking sides that match up best against the opposition, face there’s quite a qualitative difference between Spurs and Wolves and their playing styles are nowhere close.
    As for playing them physically, as one commenter stated, lets leave that to the Stokes and Wolves, i would like to see some football now that we have a group of talented players.
    And like the two Argentinos at West Ham, how long does Ben Arfa and Marveaux have to get spelks in their asses sitting waiting for an opportunty to play ?
    Sorry i just dont have any faith in this guy and could probably be proved right come Sunday.

  11. Chuck, that crossed my mind concerning Marveaux and Ben Afra, comparing the situation at West Ham and the Argies.

    I’d give the benefit of doubt at the moment though, both HBA and Marveaux aren’t fit enough yet.

    But if he continues opting for Obertan over Marveaux, then he is clearly mad. He seems to love Obertan though at the moment, where really I think Obertan is best as an impact sub.

    We’ll see what happens on that front I guess.

  12. chuck says:
    October 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    “Interesting Preview.
    Stats.,sorry they mean little”

    Hmmm, yes and no Chuck. Over a game, or even seven like we’ve played so far in the Premiership, of course, anything can happen. However over the long term they have far more relevance.

    Expect to be completely assaulted by them on this site over the next few weeks now that we have them. :-)

  13. Cyprus, I have Martin Tyler here with me now. He lives in my garden shed.

    Or I compiled the stats on a certain Premier League site.

    Believe what you like…

  14. workyticket says:
    October 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    “Expect to be completely assaulted by them on this site over the next few weeks now that we have them.”

    Yes, I would expect that also…

  15. chuck says:
    October 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    “And like the two Argentinos at West Ham, how long does Ben Arfa and Marveaux have to get spelks in their asses sitting waiting for an opportunty to play ?”

    To be fair though Chuck, the two Gauchos had Hurricane Hayden Mullins and Mighty Marlon Harewood to compete with at the Hammers. Tough choices for Pardew there I think you’ll agree.

  16. Jimbob says:
    October 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    “Yes, I would expect that also…”

    I just know that you’re going to “rape” us with stats in the coming weeks Jimbob.

  17. stephen c says: 2 3 2 2 1 .
    I’m all for a progressive formation, but this is a new one on me – any successful examples?
    In fact if you moved Simpson upfront next to BA we could try a 2 2 2 2 2 – then we could take the field to the stains of the Gay Gordons and start a highland country dance – by the time spurs recover from the shock we will be 2-0 up!


  18. BTW Jimbob, I forgot to mention that this is definitely your best match preview so far.

    Supermac What are the “stains” of the Gay Gordons? :lol:

    I was trying to figure that one out too. They’d definitely be “wingless wonders”.

  19. Thanks Worky, kind of you to say.

    I see you’re using “rape” as a term now, I knew Alan Pardew’s influence would rub off on you eventually…

  20. What is a 2-3-2-2-1? Haha

    Seems straight out of the Mike Bassett school of tactics…

    “Were going to ditch the 4-4-2, were going for the 3-2-1-2-1-1 formation”.

  21. Yeah forgot to mention, good preview Jimbob !

    I like that !
    Face it we have some creative edge tacticians now and again.

    Puhleez ! easy on the stats, every sport in the US is, full of RBI’s, ERA’s, Assist percentages, Pass comletions Well you get it, however i just don’t think stats are that relevant to the average punter when it comes to football, managers sure.
    I find the stats given on tv commentaries, possession %, corners, shots on and off goal , etc, for the most part irrelevant and unnecessary.

    I’m not buying the unfit bullshit, how long does it take, for these guys, also whats the story on Gosling ?, i think there’s more going on than we are aware of.
    And face it how do guys get match fit without playing?
    If this jiboney plays the same side week after week, they will be knackered by Christmas.
    Is that not what having quality in depth is about, so as to be able to rest guys plus play horses for courses?

    Yeah but what the hell do i know ?

  22. Looks like QPR are gonna put in a bid for Bassong during the winter window.
    Now i know he left the club for greener pastures, but for an eight million profit, it was an offer no club could refuse.
    What about a bid to bring him back, he’s very versatile, can play across the back and ticks the boxes on age and quality.
    Someone like that and another versatile defender would almost fill out the squad, it could in fact be a veteran.
    Or have we become so rigid in regard to age, that bringing in a versatile veteran defender, is out of the question ?
    Because that’s where we need help.

  23. There are indeed lies, damned lies and stats. They’re best used as one support of something you feel like you see on the field anyway.

    Like Obertan being the worst of our midfielders for giving away the ball. You feel that’s the case just watching and then you check the stats and-yep, about 33% of his passes go to the opposition.

    I also can’t stand the “if it ain’t broken” approach. It guarantees that someday you will be broken. As someone above commented, trying to play the same against Arsenal, Forest, Wolves and Tottenham doesn’t make you think AP is a tactical genius.

  24. Agreed Tunyc, which is why we should alter formations for this particular tie. In my opinion.

  25. Howay man chuck,
    do you actually ‘watch’ & understand the game mate?
    Managers have to rotate, appease, offer chances & hope to players or various styles & personalities, while constantly trying to balance a team & not allow pathetic press & fan over reaction(that’s where you come in) & the like.
    HBA & Marveaux will undoubtedly get their chance just as Obertan is getting his now. The team hasn’t been beaten yet, regardless of that BS about who we’ve played. Managers are superstitious & don’t go changing winning teams, ’til they lose.
    Right, please don’t make me have to explain this again, as i’m starting to feel like you’re either naive as hell or just extracting the urine.
    That’s what i know!

  26. jimbob,
    by the way mate, truly excellent bit of research & arrangement man.

    Top effort,

  27. Thanks Clint. I shall take a snapshot of your grade and stick it to my fridge.

    Appreciate the feedback mate.

  28. Jimbob – sorry, should have said it sooner – excellent article.
    I don’t go much for the stats bit myself but it’s worth reading.
    As for your 4-2-3-1 – who excactly did you have in mind, it looks a bit of a compromise to me. I’d like to see tiote slightly further back in a 4-1-4-1.
    But who knows what or best team is yet or what its best formation is?


  29. Thanks Supermac.

    Well I think if we drop Best, we should use Ben Afra. From what I saw in early pre-season, I think we will use the 4-3-2-1, only when Ben Arfa is starting.

    If HBA isn’t ready yet, you could use Jonas as the link or 5th man in midfield, and put Marveaux in jonas’ usual left-wing role. I like your thinking with the 4-1-4-1… To be honest as you say, what is our best formation?

    Personally I dislike the 4-4-2, as whenever we come up against teams who use a 4-3-3 (QPR), or 4-2-3-1 (Arsenal) we struggle to contain them.

    My strongest 11 is as follows in a 4-2-3-1…


    Simpson, Coloccini, Taylor, Santon.

    Tiote Cabaye

    Marveaux HBA Jonas


    If we used your idea of 4-1-4-1… The advantage would be Cabaye pushed forward a little further, where he is at his best.

    The good thing with our midfield, is the numerous options we have to swap players around etc. I just feel frustrated seeing us in a ridged 4-4-2… But we are winning at the moment… So don’t expect a tactical change from Pardew until we get beat.