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Newcastle v Spurs betting tips: Expect a tense, tight home win at odds with a carnival atmosphere


Newcastle v Spurs betting tips: Expect a tense, tight home win at odds with a carnival atmosphere

Ste Tudor is tipping a jubilant Toon Army to tilt Sunday's tasty tie

HAD the takeover of Newcastle United not taken place last week would anyone outside of Tyneside or North London have been overly enthused at the prospect of Spurs travelling up to the north-east this Sunday? After all, this was a game that had damp squib written all over it.

Only Norwich, Brentford and Watford have taken on fewer shots than Nuno Espirito Santo’s side this season, a lack of creative impetus that has resulted in figures that contrast sharply to their bright start of last year. Tottenham so far have scored exactly a third of their haul seven matches into 2020/21 and attempted 21% fewer attempts on goal and this is particularly damning when we acknowledge it was Jose Mourinho who presided over their former ambition, the supposed architect of cautionary football.

It is a dramatic decline in attacking intent that naturally has its greatest emphasis up front. By this stage last term Son Heung-min and Harry Kane had racked up 14 goals between them but presently the Korean forward has three while England’s captain is still to find the net, enduring his worst league drought for five years.

Tottenham are 19/5 to score under 0.5 goals on Sunday.

Does this suggest – given Tottenham’s struggles – that the critics had a point last year when they were demeaned as a two-man team? Or does it illustrate instead, problems in midfield and down the flanks? It’s telling that Spurs have committed the second fewest crosses in the Premier League to date. Or, most worryingly of all, does it signify a drop in desire to put in the hard yards? Tottenham have collectively covered the least amount of grass this season, running 40km less than even Newcastle.

We say ‘even’ Newcastle because they too should be avoiding all eye contact when conversation turns to application, though perhaps with them it partly derives from managerial instruction. Only 9% of their pressing has been executed in the attacking third and this startling stat is reflective of their overall mandate that sees Newcastle go into each game curled into the fetal position, looking to protect their vital organs, and hoping the opposition’s foot gets sore. It’s no coincidence that 11 of the 16 goals they’ve conceded have come in the second period, when pressure eventually yields. It’s no coincidence they remain winless in mid-October.

To switch metaphors but staying on track, Newcastle’s strategy under Steve Bruce appears to be an odd variation of rope-a-dope. Only instead of Muhammad Ali’s flurry of fists as the surprise, theirs takes the form of a lumbering and ineffective Joelinton.

After a four-game absence, Callum Wilson is set to return. The striker has notched two in three this season and is 5/1 to be the game’s first goalscorer.

The Magpies currently have the same scant number of points (3) after seven games as the last time they went down but have conceded five more than at the same stage of that relegation campaign and what concerns most of all is that all-but-one of their draws and losses have been thoroughly deserved.

So, all told, this was due to be a somewhat uninspiring encounter, featuring two risk-averse sides and perhaps it’s only saving grave was a historical quirk that revealed the fixture last ended goalless 82 games ago, way back in 1971.  

Except then the takeover happened; a sensational and controversial development that might conceivably alter the landscape of English football in years to come and absolutely will transform the fortunes of Newcastle United. With a consortium led by the Saudi-based Public Investment Fund at the controls, the club are now estimated to be ten times wealthier than Manchester City. Mired in the bottom three they are now a blueprint for enormous success.

Precisely how much the takeover directly affects proceedings this Sunday however remains to be seen but certainly we can expect a ferocious atmosphere at St James Park, the likes of which – celebratory, fierce, and optimistic – has not been housed there for some time. And surely this will energize the players, maybe even encouraging them to press more in the final third.

With increased urgency expect greater intensity. Newcastle have picked up 15 yellow cards this term already. They are 12/5 to receive three or more here.

Yet still, some significant caveats are necessary before we arrive at any simplistic conclusion that the home side will be roused to victory.

How often, for example, do we witness the away side gleefully embrace the role of party poopers on such occasions when an event demotes the football almost to an after-thought? Granted, Spurs are not in the best shape right now to accept this mantle but a hard-gained win over Aston Villa prior to the international break hints at improvement, even if Kane remains a shadow in a shirt.

Then we arrive at the surprising retention – for now - of Steve Bruce, a decision by the new board that will please sentimentalists and statisticians alike due to this being the veteran gaffer’s 1000th game in a managerial capacity.

It should be stated that even had Bruce been jettisoned it would have been implausible to expect a sudden and dramatic change in Newcastle’s style or performance because this is a squad that has been consistently under-funded. It does not contain difference-makers lurking disillusioned in its depths, ready to be revived by a new man at the helm.

Yet still, this is Bruce: a manager who has overseen the fourth fewest passes from his team of anyone in the top-flight; a manager who demands safety first from a side that is hazardous at the back.  

Wariness therefore is advised when the temptation is to back a famous and exhilarating win to cap a famous and exhilarating week for the Geordie faithful. For the time being, Newcastle are still dishevelled; still defeated by their own limitations. A shopping spree will change all that, but it is still to come.

The Magpies are 5/2 to grab all three points this weekend. It won’t be pretty but the atmosphere should be sufficient to see them home.

 

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https://www.unibet.co.uk/blog
Stephen Tudor
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