Newcastle v Tottenham
Wednesday July 15, 18:00
Live on BT Sport 1
Will Bruce still be here next season?
It's been a pretty eventful few weeks for Newcastle since the resumption. It started off in the best possible way with a 3-0 win over Sheffield United, there were decent draws against West Ham and Villa but also a hammering at the hands of Man City (5-0) and more recently, a 2-1 loss at Watford.
Steve Bruce will be thankful for getting enough points on the board to not fear the drop before the league was suspended. He's done a decent job and most neutrals will feel that as one of football's good guys, he deserves another season to show what he can do, presumably with a bigger transfer budget this time round. It is however somewhat likely that Newcastle will feel they need a different sort of manager if they want to aim for bigger prizes than just beating the drop.
Jonjo Shelvey has been in fine form recently and that's been a good reminder of the ability he has but also of ho he hasn't always used it. Midfield duo Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden carry on missing out through injury.
Mourinho reverts to type
The week ended very well for Jose Mourinho and beating Arsenal is always a good way to get some love from the fans when you're manager of Tottenham.
But the stats paint a somewhat different picture to the 2-1 result with Arsenal enjoying 62% possession. After being so adventurous in his first few weeks in the role, it would be no surprise if Mourinho reverted to type, making results the be all and end all and not playing the sort of attractive football that Spurs have traditionally been associated with. Given they drew 0-0 at Bournemouth in midweek without having a single shot on target and you can see why there may be some worried people among the Spurs faithful.
Dele Alli is out injured and Eric Dier misses out after being suspended for rushing into the stands to confront someone after an FA Cup loss a few months ago, a case that was only heard now.
Same arguments concerning Spurs' price
I previewed Spurs' match last week at Bournemouth and made the point that I couldn't have Spurs at odds-on for a side so inconsistent. The reasoning was partly to do with the fact that I thought the Cherries would surely score at least once. Their supporters had to wait till their next match for that to happen- a 4-1 win over Leicester - but the reasoning that Mourinho's men shouldn't be that sort of price on the road was correct.
And I see no reason to abandon that strategy here. Remarkably, you'd have to go back to January 1 for the last time the Magpies lost a home game in the league, a defeat to Leicester, so that's now six games and counting that they're unbeaten at home in the league.
The bad news for those following the tip of laying Spurs is that they've been good away to Newcastle over the years, winning three and losing one in their last four visits here. But Spurs' record against Bournemouth was also strong and look at how things turned out so head-to-heads aren't everything.
Goals market too tricky to play
'Overs' is just about favourite at around 1.9620/21. That's because 70% of Spurs' games this season have gone overs, as have three of the last four between these two in Newcastle.
But then again, the percentage of Newcastle home games with three or more goals is just 41%, so it's all a classic case of deciding which of the stats you want to give the most weight to. Or else, just leave the market well alone, which is what I'm going to do.
And I'm also going to repeat the strategy of backing two home players at decent prices to get a goal. It didn't work out in the Bournemouth game but I think it's worth persisting with.
I don't really trust this Spurs defence that has conceded 12 goals on the road in their last seven in all competitions so I'm hoping that run of goals conceded on the road carries on and that one of these two gets on the scoresheet.
Miguel Almiron has looked sharp and dangerous since the resumption, has four for the season in the league and is priced at 9/2, while Shelvey, the team's top scorer with six no less, is 5/1. Split stakes between them.