OPPONENTS Newcastle United
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 18th August 2012
VENUE St. James Park






Many questions surround the new season and these two clubs in particular.

Can Alan Pardew prove that the rapid progress made last season with the Magpies can be maintained into the 2012-13 season ?  Will the strikers who made such a big impact suffer a more difficult second season ?  With clubs having had the benefit of time to study Newcastle's tactics, will they struggle to overcome teams they had the upper hand over last campaign ?

And for Spurs, the queries are over the new manager, the lack of strikers and the adaptation to a new playing system.  So are there going to be any answers coming out of the result of the first match ?

It is unlikely but there could be some indications of how the teams might perform in the early weeks, until the transfer window closes and the squads have taken shape.  So, it is all a bit hit and miss as both sides go into the season with questions marks hanging over them.

With injuries casting doubt over the appearance of United's two sensations of last season, the lack of attacking options beyond Ba and Cisse might be tested, while Spurs have their own problems in that area, although Defoe and Kane are both in good scoring form.  Both defences may have worrying moments, with Newcastle's being their Achilles heel last season and Tottenham still trying out partnerships at the back to see which is best.

You would imagine that it might be a high scoring game, but with Tottenham's new style of playing the "high line" and Newcastle striving to link in new players and those returning from injury, it could prove a disjointed match and both sides might be happy at the end to come out of it with a draw.


PREDICTION Newcastle United    1      Tottenham Hotspur   1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , history, etc.
There are injury doubts over strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, as well as Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa,  but new signing from Ajax Vurnon Anita, Stephen Taylor and  Sylvain Marveaux are all available.
Spurs are without Heurelho Gomes (injury), Scott Parker (Achilles tendon operation) and Luka Modric (trying to leave) for the trip to Newcastle United.

ESPN -  (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.20 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.25 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC Local radio - click on link to "Football" to find out if Spurs are covered.

Newcastle United  2 (0)     
Premier League
Saturday 18th August 2012                              
Venue :  St. James' Park
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)

Kick off  17:30
Ba  54
Ben Arfa (p)  80
Defoe 76
Simpson (foul)  14
Cabaye (foul)  45+2


Livermore (foul)  16
Sandro (foul)  19 


Crowd :   52,385 Weather :  Very warm, dry
Referee :  Martin Atkinson (West Yorks) Assistant Referees :  P. Kirkup, S.Burt
Fourth Official :  Lee Mason Match Delegate : -
Professional Game Match Observer :  -
Newcastle United kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.
Newcastle United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Tim KRUL

  5  Danny SIMPSON      
27  Steven TAYLOR
14  James PERCH
  3  David SANTON

24  Chieke TIOTE
  4  Yohan CABAYE        (  8  Vurnon ANITA 71)
10  Hatem Ben ARFA 
18  Jonas GUTTIEREZ (c)

  9  Papiss CISSE
19  Demba BA    (25  Gabriel OBERTAN  85)

Unused subs: 
37  Steve HARPER
16  Ryan TAYLOR


  24  Brad FRIEDEL

28  Kyle WALKER
  4  Younes KABOUL
13  William GALLAS (c)

29  Jake LIVERMORE      
30  SANDRO       (37  Harry KANE 85)

  7  Aaron LENNON
22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON (10  Rafael van der VAART 68)
11  Gareth BALE


Unused subs: 
23  Carlo CUDICINI
  Jermaine JENAS
31  Andros TOWNSEND

Manager :  Alan Pardew Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Virgin Money Shirt sponsor :  Aurasma
Kit Supplier :  Puma Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Travelling up to Newcastle is never the most pleasant trip for anyone associated with Tottenham Hotspur.  A place where we traditionally don't do well, a long way there and an even longer way home after another defeat, which on this occasion was not deserved.

While some will say the Tottenham goal was off-side, that would be to ignore the way the game was played out with Spurs controlling play for the majority of the match, but it is goals that count and Newcastle had a couple of strikers who are able to hit the net, while Spurs only had one.  As it was, it took a midfielder from Newcastle to settle the match and that from the penalty spot.

Going up to St. James Park without a couple of players injured, Michael Dawson missing because of a bereavement and Danny Rose suspended, left the side looking odd with Gallas captaining and being partnered by Younes Kaboul, as new signing Vertonghen sat on the bench.  Our only forward, Jermain Defoe headed the team, with a three of Bale, Sigurdsson and Lennon behind him, leaving Livermore and Sandro to protect the back four.

Newcastle fielded an eleven from last season, but were missing their captain and centre-half Fabricio Colloccini.

Spurs started sprightly and were winning the ball high up the field and getting up the flanks to cause Newcastle problems.  The wing play won a few early corners, from which nothing much came from and Bale's pace brought a crude challenge from Danny Simpson who received a yellow card.  Atkinson had soon evened it up with a caution for Jake Livermore and then put Spurs ahead in the bookings stakes with one for Sandro.  Shame he didn't keep up his consistency, as Simpson committed an equally poor foul as his first in the 25th minute and was allowed to walk away from it without further admonishment.  He also got away with another poor tackle in the second half.

While Spurs were not creating too many efforts on goal for their possession, with Defoe battling alone up front, Newcastle almost went ahead halfway through the half, with Papiss Cisse's shot from outside the area being deflected deliberately by Demba Ba and with Friedel going the wrong way, the ball passed by the post by millimetres. 

Benny sent Aaron Lennon away on a run into space when he cleared a corner across his own penalty area, but the move ended with Sigurdsson being offside and the pass from Aaron was delayed a little too long.  Spurs had been restricted to long shots that went wide, with only Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick forcing Krul to dive low to push it around the post, but on 32 minutes, Spurs worked the ball right to left and Defoe was played in on the left side of the box and surprised Krul with an early taken low shot that bounced off the foot of the post and past Sigurdsson as he chased in.

So, Spurs went close, but then, in the 37th minute, they went equally close, with Aaron Lennon beating Santon on our right to stand up a cross to the far post, where Gareth Bale powered a header back across goal and the ball smacked off the bar and went away.  There was little else that happened in the half apart from Cabaye finally getting booked in the last minute of added time for a series of fouls.  Defoe had done well and the closing the Spurs players were doing was making it difficult for Newcastle and their passing had been pretty ragged as a result.

The second half saw Spurs continuing to attack, but failing to trouble Krul.  So, when Newcastle scored in the 55th minute, it was a bit against the run of play.  Simpson got away on their right and his deep cross to the far post saw Kyle Walker up against Demba Ba.  not wanting to lose the header to the bigger man, Walker got to the ball first, but got under it and the ball went up in the air behind him.  Ba controlled it, Gallas was not quick enough to him and then turned his back as the striker bent a shot around him and past Friedel into the far corner of the goal from 12 yards out.  it was a very well taken goal, but one perhaps that Spurs might have prevented.

For the first time in the game you could hear the home fans above the noise created by the Spurs section away in the top tier of the ground.  Not having looked totally convincing with only one man up top, Spurs now had to claw their way back into the game somehow.  A couple of minutes after the goal, Bale's work on the left saw the ball drop for Gylfi a yard outside the left hand corner of the box and he tries to emulate Ba, but his curler goes a yard wide of Krul's left hand post.

The over-animated Alan Pardew was involved in a sense-less incident just before the hour, when Sigurdsson tried to drag a ball back near the touch-line and the referee failed to give a throw-in, the Newcastle manager pushed the linesman on his side on the shoulder as he made his feelings felt.  This resulted in him being sent to the stand for the remainder of the match and the failure of the radio communication system meant that he had runners taking his messages down to the bench ... surely a breach of the FA rules one would have thought.

Spurs had been pressing all over the field and pushing on up the wings, but nothing clear cut had come from it and AVB brought on Rafa van der Vaart for Sigurdsson to push another player further forward.  Defoe brought a low save from Krul, down to his left, to push a shot aside.  Then, when Lennon crossed from the left in the 76th minute, it was Defoe who won the header bringing out another good save from Krul, low close to his feet after Santon had deflected the effort, but the ball squirmed free, hit the post and quick as a flash, Defoe showed his striker's predatory instinct to shoot home with his left foot from a yard out.

It was a deserved equaliser for the way Spurs had approached this game and up to this point, they had been more than the equals of the home team,  but as we know with Spurs, they don't always get what they deserve.  Three minutes later, Cisse popped off a shot from outside the box that clipped a heel on the way and gave Newcastle a corner on their left.  Taken short, Lennon rushed out to close it down, with van der Vaart helping out, but, as Ben Arfa nipped between them, they both closed in and van der Vaart probably caught him first, while Lennon nicked the back of his leg too.  A penalty to the Magpies and the injured party got up to send Friedel the wrong way from the spot, despite VDV giving him the tip to dive the way the Newcastle midfielder put it.

The sceond half had looked like a reverse of the first, with Newcastle looking more comfortable with the ball and Spurs giving away possession as they tried to force the game.  Guttierez hit a screamer from 25 yards out that looked like going in under the bar, but it was straight at Brad and he palmed it over the top.  As Spurs sought to find a late leveller, Newcastle worked hard to shut down the space and our players on the ball, with the game petering out, despite AVB throwing on Harry Kane for the last five minutes.

So, an opening day defeat for the first time .



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What you thought


Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Fulham 5 Norwich City 0 Saturday
Queens Park Rangers 0 Swansea City 5 Saturday
Reading 1 Stoke City 1 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 3 Liverpool 1 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 0 Chelsea 2 Sunday
Manchester City 3 Southampton 2 Sunday
Everton 1 Manchester United 0 Monday
Chelsea 4 Reading 2 Wednesday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 2 2 0 0 6 2 6 +4
2 Fulham 1 1 0 0 5 0 3 +5
3 Swansea City 1 1 0 0 5 0 3 +5
4 West Bromwich Albion 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 +3
5 Manchester City 1 1 0 0 3 2 3 +1
6 Newcastle United 1 1 0 0 2 1 3 +1
7 Everton 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
8 West Ham United 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
9 Stoke City 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0
10 Arsenal 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
11 Sunderland 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
12 Reading 2 0 1 1 3 5 1 -2
13 Southampton 1 0 0 1 2 3 0 -1
14 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 -1
15 Aston Villa 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
16 Manchester United 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
17 Wigan Athletic 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 -2
18 Liverpool 1 0 0 1 0 3 0 -3
19 Norwich City 1 1 0 0 0 5 0 -5
20 Queens Park Rangers 1 1 0 0 0 5 0 -5


Position before match :  n/a
Position after match :  16th
Position after the weekend :  14th


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