Newcastle v Tottenham
Live on Sky Sports 1
This has all the ingredients of being one of the weirdest games to ever headline Sky’s Super Sunday slot. The home fans are threatening to boycott the match in protest at Mike Ashley‘s running of the club, which is a perfectly reasonable response to his strategy of showing zero ambition beyond hanging onto their Premier League status.
Not that Newcastle’s fans are unable to get it wrong. Earlier this season they were also campaigning for Alan Pardew to leave the club. They eventually got their wish when Pardew left to join Crystal Palace but this now looks like a classic case of better the devil you know.
Pardew’s replacement John Carver looks out of his depth tactically and has won only two of his 14 games in charge, equating to a pathetic 14.29% win percentage. With a nine point cushion between Newcastle and the relegation zone they’re probably safe but can thank their lucky stars that Carver wasn’t appointed any earlier.
The beleaguered manager’s job isn’t made easier by the amount of players unavailable to him. Papiss Cisse and Moussa Sissoko are suspended, while seven members of his first-team squad are injured.
Against most teams you would expect Newcastle to face a torrid afternoon, but Spurs aren’t most teams. They could very easily be closing in on Manchester City in the race for the top four. Instead they took just one point from their last two games against relegation-threatened Burnley and Aston Villa and now look likelier to finish seventh.
It wasn’t just the results of the past two games that were abject but also their performances. Mauricio Pochettino trusts a very narrow number of players in his squad and as a result the ones he does pick now look exhausted. This is a major issue when the success of Tottenham earlier this season was based on the midfield energy of players like Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Ryan Mason.
There is some good news for Pochettino in the form of the possible return of Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen. In such a young team, this pair are the closest that Spurs have to senior players. Elsewhere, Kyle Walker is still out, leaving Pochettino with the option of continuing with Vlad Chiriches or throwing DeAndre Yedlin in at the deep end.
The visitors are the favourites to win at [2.34]. It’s a tempting price. As bad as they’ve been over the last two games their overall away record this season is very good and Newcastle have lost their last five games.
Tottenham could very easily get things back on track, yet there’s a chance that the eerie atmosphere will contribute to another jaded performance. For that reason it would be more prudent to back Spurs at [1.69] in the Draw No Bet market instead.
The half-time/full-time market also provides some value. Tottenham have often left their victories late this season and the draw half-time/Spurs full-time double result is worth considering at [6.2].
Over/Under 2.5 goals
Under normal circumstances overs would be a shoo-in. Tottenham have both conceded and scored plenty this season but their last two games have only seen one goal in total. What’s more, Newcastle have kept matters under 2.5 goals in three of their last five games, despite losing them all.
With unders at [2.05] and overs at [1.89] it’s a pretty tight market and probably worth avoiding. Instead look towards both teams to score at [1.71], as Spurs have rarely kept a clean sheet this season even when winning games.
Back Spurs Draw No Bet at [1.69]
Back half-time/draw/full-time Spurs at [6.2]
Back both teams to score at [1.71]