Newcastle v Tottenham: Fluency may be hard to come by at St James' Park

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino has some personnel issues to work around
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More bad news for Tottenham, Jack Lang is expecting a low-scoring draw when the Magpies host Spurs on Saturday lunchtime...

"With Newcastle testing out a new-look attack and Tottenham likely to struggle for fluency, the unders looks like the sensible play in this one. Both meetings last term went under 2.5 goals, too"

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports Premier League

One for sorrow?

It has been another turbulent summer at St James' Park, marked by internecine conflict between the club's two big personalities: Rafael Benítez wanted cash to invest in players; Mike Ashley wasn't especially keen to give it to him. That's hardly new, of course, but throw in a media blackout over unpaid bonuses and you're hardly left with the prettiest picture at what should be an exciting time for fans.

In fairness, Newcastle did eventually get some decent transfer business done, albeit on the cheap. Kenedy and Martin Dúbravka are back after successful loans last term, while the likes of Ki Sung-yueng, Fabian Schär, Yoshinori Muto, Salomón Rondón and Federico Fernández should all contribute to a greater or lesser degree.

The strikers, Muto and Rondón, will be especially important as the Premier League campaign begins, if pre-season is anything to go by. The Magpies didn't score a single goal in their last three friendlies and will need to find a cutting edge if they are to avoid another relegation scrap.

Tough times for Tottenham

If Newcastle supporters spent the transfer window biting their fingernails, many Spurs followers spent it tearing their hair out. A grand total of zero players came in - that's the first time any Premier League club has managed that in a summer transfer window - meaning Mauricio Pochettino has to work with exactly the same squad that finished third last term.

It is, of course, a very good squad already. But it's hard to shake the feeling that we're reaching the upper reaches of Pochettino's ambitions if he's not given a little more leeway in the market. That's certainly the concern for a chunk of the fanbase, who have also seen season-ticket prices rise ahead of the move to the new White Hart Lane.

The frustration is accentuated at the start of the season because Tottenham look worryingly undercooked. A whole host of players only reported back recently from the World Cup, and with a few injuries as well, Pochettino is going to have to make do and mend for at least a couple of weeks.

Deadlock on the cards?

Tottenham beat Newcastle home and away last term, and have won on three of their last four visit to Tyneside. This trip will hold no fear for them, therefore, but the team news makes backing the away win tricky at [2.1]. Even if the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Kieran Trippier are rushed back into action, they're unlikely to be fully up to speed.

Newcastle's home form picked up markedly at the end of last season (just one defeat in their final nine matches at St James') and Benítez will be well aware that they need to hit the ground running, with Chelsea and Arsenal their next visitors. A draw should not be beyond them at [3.55].

Fireworks not expected

With Newcastle testing out a new-look attack and Tottenham likely to struggle for fluency, the unders looks like the sensible play in this one at [1.88]. Both meetings last term went under 2.5 goals, and it may even be worth taking a punt on the 1-1 draw at [7.6].

Less is Moura

Kane is as short as [1.71] to find the net here, which looks an ambitious price given his summer preparations and infamous knack for starting seasons slowly. Instead, consider Lucas Moura at [3.3]. One of the few Spurs players with a full pre-season under his belt, the Brazilian has netted four goals already this summer and should start.

Same Game Multi

Sportsbook now allows you to pull together multiple selections on the same game to build a bigger bet. As we expect a slow-burn game, we could pair a Lucas Moura goal with a 0-0 half-time score for odds of [19.15].


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