OPPONENTS Newcastle United at St. James Park
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Saturday 11th August 2018       Kick off 12:30
PREVIEW So the start of a new season looks strangely familiar.

Once more we travel to the North-East to play Newcastle United.  once more we have the same squad without having added to it during the shortened transfer window.  Once more Newcastle's fans will be looking to protest against the lack of investment in their club.  So a season of massive change for us - with the new stadium awaiting completion - begins with much of the same as we have seen before.

The lack of spending has caused some concern among pockets of the Tottenham support, but of more concern at the beginning of a new campaign is the start we are likely to make.  Never the fastest of starters, we need to try and get some early points on the board and Harry Kane some balls in the net, but this could be difficult with a number of injuries already and the players who went a long way in the World Cup a little behind those other squad members who have had a full pre-season.

The benefit of no new players is that there will not be the transitional period where players settle in and hopefully, the side can slip into the same groove as last season and start well.  Pochettino will have the team well drilled and ready to start at a decent lick to put the pressure on the home side. With fans already disgruntled, a quick start to the match could put them into a worse mood and produce an atmosphere that will not help the home team.

The Mags have signed a few players, but none that set the pulse racing.  Kenedy is back for another loan season from Chelsea and he can be a tricky customer when on the ball, while relegated Swansea has been the source of two signings - midfielder Ki Sung-yueng and central defender Federico Fernandez.  Swiss defender Fabian Schar featured at the World Cup and also in Russia for that competition was Japanese striker Yoshinori Muto.  Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka's loan has been made permanent and another loan signing for the season is West Bromwich Albion's Salomon Rondon.  Mike Ashley's biggest summer signing turned out to be House of Fraser !

The tactics will be to try and deny Spurs space, with Benitez the king of setting up defensively, but Spurs will need to be ready to move the Newcastle midfield around to find space and cause problems when through on the back four.  Davies and Trippier (if he is ready to play) need to utilise the wide space and the midfield will need to get forward to back up the front man.  Kane will want to play, but whether Pochettino starts him or Janssen is a question of how they have been performing in training.  The defence need to be aware of the speed that Kenedy might hit them on the break, but with player sin our side who are quick on the ball with a run or a pass, it could be a game of attack and counter-attack.

The Newcastle team are having problems off the pitch with some poor pre-season results and a row over bonuses seeing them not fulfil media duties.  If this is affecting their on pitch performances, then Tottenham need to take advantage of them, but I think they will be fired up and will play for a draw and might well get it.

PREDICTION Newcastle United    1        Tottenham Hotspur    1
Newcastle United
Premier League Saturday 11th August 2018
Newcastle United  1 (1)   Tottenham Hotspur  2 (2)

Joselu  10m 23s

Vertonghen  7m 45s
Dele  17m 10s
Crowd :   51,749 Weather :  Sunny, warm
Referee :  Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Lee Betts; Mr. Stephen Child
Fourth Official :  Paul Tierney  
Spurs  kicked off and played towards the Gallowgate end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + ? minutes.
Joselu (foul on Dier)  58
Diame (foul on Kane)  90+4


Dier (foul on Kenedy)  42
Kane (foul on Kenedy)  68


Newcastle United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
12  Martin DUBRAVKA

  3  John DUMMETT
  6  Jamal LASCELLES
2  Ciaran CLARK
22  Andre YEDLIN

11  Matt RITCHIE  (30  Christian ATSU  69)
10  Mohamed DIAME
8  Jonjo SHELVEY
17  Ayoze PEREZ  (13  MUTO  81)

21  JOSELU  (  9  Salomon RONDON  59)

Unused subs: 
26  Karl DARLOW
  5  Fabian SCHAR
19  Javier MANQUILLO
  4  KI Sung-Yeung

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

33  Ben DAVIES
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
28  Serge AURIER

15  Eric DIER  (40  Luke AMOS  88)
17  Moussa SISSOKO

27  Lucas MOURA  (19  Mousa DEMBELE  69)
22  DELE Alli  (  7  Heung-Min SON  80)
23  Christian ERIKSEN

10  Harry KANE

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
18  Fernando LLORENTE

Manager :  Rafa Benitez Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   - Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

An away opening day fixture (no surprise there Premier League) at Newcastle United saw an unchanged Tottenham squad after the inactivity in the transfer window take on a Magpies side who had signed some players, but Rafa Bentitez left them on the bench and at the end of the match, it was the Spurs fans who were happiest, celebrating a 2-1 win and a good start to what will be a long campaign.

Spurs kicked off and attacked the Gallowgate end in the early afternoon sunshine, sporting a rather fetching jade and mint green third kit.  When I say fetching, I don't mean attractive, I mean gut wrenching.  The money that is sloshing around in football at the moment is nauseating, but when you consider that someone has been paid a large sum of crisp plastic notes to create this absurdity, you wonder if the world has gone mad.  Anyway, the players inside the shirts were familiar, but Trippier was missing and Aurier slotted in at right back, while Lucas came in for Son.  Otherwise, it was a set-up that was something approximating to our strongest side.

An early free-kick for a scything tackle on Sissoko by Clark near the dead ball line gave Tottenham an opportunity to have a first go at goal and a short set-piece worked by Christian Eriksen and Ben Davies ended with the Welshman shooting from just inside the right side of the box, but it was blocked away. Tottenham were sharp in the opening stages and created a crossing chance from the right that found Dele beyond the far post. His dinked effort back was to come to nothing though. The Toon Army’s booing showed how they have little else to worry about, which is odd considering they hate their board so much. The only thing they had to cheer was a free kick that Shelvey took and when it was kept alive Matt Ritchie, sporting a hilariously prematurely grey quiff, smashed a shot about 15 yards wide.

When Eriksen decided to have a shot from 25 yards out, it was going wide, but Dubravka dived to touch it wide, giving Christian the chance to put a corner into the heart of the Newcastle box. Sanchez won the ball and headed down for Jan Vertonghen to get in at the far post and head at goal from close range, beating Dummett to the ball. Jan’s effort hit the underside of the bar and the keeper pushed it out, but Martin Atkinson’s watch buzzed and it wasn’t a message from Roman Abramovich telling him to send a Spurs player off, but to signal the ball had crossed the line before Dubravka got to it.

It was a boost to the side and the fans after the lack of activity in the transfer window and one that has been a long time coming for SuperJan in the League !!

However, Newcastle were soon level in the eleventh minute, when Ritchie cut back onto his left foot on the right wing to put in an in-swinging cross that Joselu ghosted in behind Sanchez to glance a header to Lloris’ right from five yards out and tie it up at 1-1. It came out of the blue, but it was a good cross and loose marking by Spurs to allow someone like Joselu that much space.

Tottenham kept the tempo and their passing going and when Kane tried to slip a pass through into the box, it was blocked, but fell to Serge Aurier, who crossed first time. His ball was perfect for Dele to make his run in behind a sleeping Andre Yedlin to put his header back across the keeper to find the net and restore Tottenham’s lead in the 18th minute.

The game settled down a bit and there were few chances, but Kane’s searching diagonal ball looking for Dele in the box saw the keeper come for it, but Dummett headed it out first. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t drop for Aurier, as it bounced up and he had to control it and come inside before he chose to shoot at goal, but his left foot effort went a long way wide.

Spurs allowed Newcastle to enjoy some spells of possession, without creating much and it was the green shirted side who looked more dangerous on the break as the home team committed players forward. The home fans only got excited when Sissoko went near the ball, Lloris kicked the ball out of play or they thought they should have had a decision go their way.

On 36 minutes, Davies played a ball into Kane just inside the area on the left, but his turn and cross bounced away off a striped shirt for a corner. From it, Eriksen put a pacy ball into the near post and Sanchez met it, but his glancing header, getting in front of Shelvey, went wide of the far post. Then a corner at the other end saw Sissoko head the ball up into the air an when it eventually came down, Ciaran Clark hit a left foot volley from the left side, which went across goal with nobody there to get a touch.

The start of the second half and Newcastle are never a good mix for Spurs and within two minutes, Shelvey won a header to a bell that had gone a mile into the air and it dropped to Diame on the left of the penalty spot to crash a shot at goal. Hugo Lloris was beaten, but was pleased to see the ball bounce away off the post, such was the ferocity of the shot. A couple pf minutes later, Aurier put in a left foot cross from the right wing and Dele kneed the ball back across goal where it was cleared. He almost repeated the effort when Kane missed a ball across the box and Dele was in the clear, but could only loop the ball upwards and Dubravka grabbed it under his bar.

Newcastle should have been on level terms when Joselu on the right of the area picked out a pass across the area to put Kenedy in on goal totally in the clear. Lloris stood on his line, but timed his dash out after the Brazilian had taken a heavy touch and although he only blocked the ball, it was enough to force the winger to knock the ball across goal and Diame couldn’t bring it under control to make much of it.

With 55 minutes gone, Tottenham worked the ball well across the width of the pitch and when Kane nodded it on to Davies behind him on the left, his low driven cross was pulled back for Sissoko to turn it towards goal. Only a sharp save from Dubravka denied him and then another cross from the right from Eriksen saw Moussa robbed of an opening when Lascelles headed for a corner. From it, the ball was cleared, but when it came back in from Aurier, Sanchez got to it on beyond the far and his falling volley went over from a very difficult angle.

A corner at the Spurs end brought a melee with the ball in the air and Lascelles going for it with his hand before it dropped to Ayoze Perez and Lloris had to make a good save as it came through Dele’s legs at the far post. Kenedy fired a 20 yard shot way over the bar, as substitute Salomon Rondon looked to unsettle the Spurs defence. Tottenham were finding it hard to get the ball clear and when Lloris put the ball out for Perez to get treatment, the Newcastle forward had got up and the home team did not feel that they were required to return the ball.

Eric Dier had picked up a yellow card in the first half and committed a couple of fouls in the second, but Pochettino decided to bring on Mousa Dembele in place of Lucas Moura instead, with the Brazilian having had a decent game. The Belgian had a shot over the bar a few minutes after he came on, but his worth was in being available to take the ball in tight spaces and hold onto it. That was something Harry Kane was having a problem with today, as he uncharacteristically let the ball get away from him or gave away possession with loose passes. His involvement had been in the build-up, rather than being at the sharp end of Tottenham’s attacks and
The crowd were getting onto the referee over the alleged time-wasting Spurs were employing and they should really have looked at their side over the last few meetings, when they tried to kill games. But then if you listened to them, Spurs would never have had a free-kick all match.

It got to the stage of the game where lots of substitutions were made and Son came on to make his farewell (and 100th Premier League) appearance before going off to the Asian Games. As the game moved into the final 10 minutes, Lloris got a good punch to a Newcastle corner that reached the halfway line, but Newcastle could have profited from an Atkinson mistake, when Dier was pulled back by Perez on halfway before Atsu broke away but failed to find Rondon with his pass, with the Venezuelan running the wrong way. Rondon did come close to equalising when he hit the bar after Shelvey had played him in on the edge of the area. His shot was going to Lloris’ right, but Jan got a diving block on the ball that took it into the ground and up onto the bar and it was headed away by Sanchez.

Fernando Llorente had been warming up, but with Dier and Vertonghen going down with cramp, Luke Amos, who had an impressive pre-season, was readied and came on for the England midfielder. With three subs used and four minutes injury time on the fourth official’s watch, Yedlin went down near the Spurs dead ball line and had to limp off after landing badly and stretching his knee.  Newcastle started to try and strong-arm things after going down to ten men, with Lascelles trying to intimidate Son and Diame booked for stamping in Kane’s foot, but Spurs saw out the game without Newcastle getting close to the Tottenham goal. “When The Spurs Go Marching In” rang out as the home ranks emptied quicker than a Mike Ashley bid for a failing business with three points in the bag and a place sitting proudly at the top of the Premier League.

It was a solid performance without being completely dominant, but early in the season, without the first choice eleven selected, three points was very welcome. It was never going to be easy, as Newcastle wanted to set their stall out in their first game, but like last season, they failed to stop all of our players all of the time. The two Spurs goals came from first choice players, but those filling in were good value and played their part in the victory.  The three points will quell unrest of the lack of signings, but with a few games to come before we return to White Hart Lane, it was important to get this sequence of away games off to a good start.

The Heathrow Spur


Tottenham's 21st away opening fixture in the 27 years they have been in the Premier League.

Heung-Min Son’s 100th Premier League appearance


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Manchester United 2 Leicester City 1 Friday
Bournemouth 2 Cardiff City 0 Saturday
Crystal Palace 2 Fulham 0 Saturday
Huddersfield Town 0 Chelsea 3 Saturday
Watford 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Everton 2 Saturday
Liverpool 4 West Ham United London 0 Sunday
Southampton 0 Burnley 0 Sunday
Arsenal 2 Manchester City 0 Sunday




League Table  2018-19
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 1 1 0 0 4 0 3 +4
2 Chelsea 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 +3
3 Bournemouth 1 1 0 0 2 0 3 +2
4 Crystal Palace 1 1 0 0 2 0 3 +2
5 Manchester City 1 1 0 0 2 0 3 +2
6 Watford 1 1 0 0 2 0 3 +2
7 Manchester United 1 1 0 0 2 1 3 +1
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 1 0 0 2 1 3 +1
9 Everton 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
11 Burnley 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
12 Southampton 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
13 Leicester City 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 -1
14 Newcastle United 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 -1
15 Arsenal 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 -2
16 Brighton & Hove Albion 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 -2
17 Cardiff City 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 -2
18 Fulham 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 -2
19 Huddersfield Town 1 0 0 1 0 3 0 -3
20 West Ham United London 1 0 0 1 0 4 0 -4


Position before match :   16th
Position after match :  2nd
Position after the weekend :  8th


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