Newcastle away. It’s the type of fixture that historically always had me half-thinking about what excuse I should have at the ready on return to work on a Monday morning. We hardly win up there. Timothée Atouba wonder-strike and that God awful Cup match where Pav scored the winner, just about the only highlights I can remember off the top of my head. My last visit to the mecca of football was the FA Cup game which we lost 1-0 after going behind minutes into the game, and then proceeding to attack attack attack only to have Given give away nothing.
In fact, the only way to get one over Newcastle was to go out on the town post-match. Get one over, get leg over, don’t hate me for the clumsy word play.
So, Newcastle away. Not quite as daunting a task as it once was mainly because the bogey team element has somewhat been extinguished thanks to their relegation and our growth in mental strength. They’ll work their socks off, so we’ll have to match the tenacity on show but with no Carroll you would hope our quality will be classy enough to soak up the blood and thunder and strike them down with a swagger of this and a swagger of that. That’s if we don’t repeat our performance level we witnessed at Goodison Park.
Looking at the table (here we go again for the 1000th time) this is a musty-winny type of game in that we need to play catch-up with the teams just ahead of us otherwise, these dropped points will start to hurt our push for another CL place. In fact, I’m tagging this game with a ‘show us your intent’ label with an additional ‘make a statement’ badge.
We need to be polished, professional and penetrative.
Team news at time of writing has BAE possibly out with injury so I guess this is an opportunity to welcome Stevie Pienaar into the fold. Bale will/should slot back into the left-back position with Pie at left-midfield. Unless Bassong make a make-shift appearance at LB. Which I doubt. No point considering we’ve splashed the cash for the new boy, may as well throw him into the action. I’m sure Gareth will be just dandy over-lapping.
Modric to conduct as per usual. van der Vaart will probably have far more freedom to get involved (United did an excellent job in suffocating his ability to impact the game in the space between midfield and the area just outside the box – by the time he was in the box there was about twenty United players standing in his way).
How we shape up, up front is where it will count. It’s Newcastle. It’s away but the game will be open (as I don’t expect them to sit back) so we need to be offensive, take the game to them, make them chase the game to stretch it further.
Honestly, this is proper Football 101 right here.
Spurs to drop out of Top 4 race?
No reason to complicate matters. Possession football, smart counter-attacking and clinical ruthless utter utter b*stardness in front of the onion bag.
So Crouch and Pav up top then.
Calm down, just jesting. Defoe up top with vdV behind him. Middle bunch of Lennon, Modric, Jenas and Pienaar (I’m going on the assumption that Wilson is also apparently doubtful so JJ in for energy-bursting runs and box-to-box industrious blood and sweat and Niko completely out of form so doesn’t make sense to see him at LW).
What? Oh, the JJ description? Let’s just pretend, right? His comments this week about him being happy and loving the squad, he knows he’s a squad player so I’m cutting him another slice of slack. If Wilson is out, then Harry has to instruct him to donkey-work and bite opposition ankles a plenty.
Oh just ignore this bit if you don’t like it.
Okay, so that leaves the back four that will consist of Hutton, Dawson, Gallas and Bale. Nutter in goal. Seen a suggestion for Kaboul at right-back, leaving Bale in his trusted LW position and then either JJ or Pie in the middle. Like I said. Let’s just keep it simple. Like this Friday afternoon lack of substance blog.
We should be just fine. We bloody well better be.
We just need to contain 'best midfielder in England' Barton and potenial bane in the arse, Nolan.
In addition, the Toon are not only missing Carroll but also Tiote, Gosling, Smith, both Taylors and sadly for us Sol Campbell is not available. Leg injury apparently. I think he tried to eat it.
Listen to Newcastle v Spurs on Absolute Radio extra - on DAB Digital Radio, 1215AM and online in the UK from 1.30pm as programming kicks off with Russ Williams for pre-match build up, followed by full live commentary from Jim Proudfoot at 3pm, while Ian Wright takes care of post match analysis at 5pm featuring player and manager interviews, fan phone ins and a healthy supply of banter. Tune in for the full Danny Simpson interview.
For more go to www.absoluteradio.co.uk/football