Right then, the International break now being well past it’s sell by date. We do, with much revelry, return to the five a day that is the Premier League.
Behold the Geordie Nights. And in all their glory. Last season saw Tottenham fight back to claim a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at St James’ Park in an exciting Premier League clash.
Fabricio Coloccini had fired the Magpies ahead on the hour mark of a match with plenty of chances at both ends, before Aaron Lennon grabbed a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser.
None of the preceeding 21 league meetings between these two sides had finished as a draw, so it was no surprise to see chances at both ends in an open encounter.
Defoe had fired wide early on before Ameobi sent a pair of strikes into the stand behind Cudicini’s goal.
Both sides edged closer to an opener, with Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper doing well to force Defoe wide after a fortunate rebound put the England forward through on goal before Best’s looping effort hit the bar at the other end.
Harper was called into action again in the final act of the half as Spurs were in the ascendant. Pienaar found Rafael van der Vaart on the edge of the area and the Dutchman flicked a delightful backheel into Defoe’s path, but Harper was equal to the strike.
The pattern remained much the same in the second half. Best headed wide and had a shot blocked in the first few minutes after the restart while Jenas fired wide and Pienaar was denied by a well-timed tackle by Coloccini.
Just moments after that challenge, Coloccini made an even bigger contribution at the other end.
The Argentine defender took a long diagonal ball on his chest, got past Alan Hutton and fired in a strike that Cudicini could not keep out despite getting a hand to it.
Spurs fought back, with Lennon forcing a near-post stop from Harper and Luka Modric crashing an effort off the crossbar, but they struggled to find a way through the Newcastle backline despite hogging the possession for extended periods.
In fact, Newcastle looked likely to score a second, and Cudicini had to make a block when one-on-one with substitute Peter Lovenkrands before tipping an Ameobi effort over the bar.
However, the introduction of Crouch added another dimension to Spurs’ play, and it paid dividends in the first of four added minutes. The tall forward’s flick-on found Defoe, who played the ball out to Lennon on the left. The winger cut inside and skipped across the box before firing in a clinical low drive into the near bottom corner to grab a share of the points.
January 22, 2011 – Newcastle United 1 (Coloccini 59) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Lennon 90)
Newcastle (4-4-2): Steve Harper; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique; Joey Barton, Danny Guthrie (James Perch 74), Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez; Leon Best (Peter Lovenkrands 65), Shola Ameobi (Nile Ranger 88)
Tottenham (4-4-1-1): Carlo Cudicini; Alan Hutton, Michael Dawson, William Gallas, Gareth Bale (Sebastien Bassong 11); Aaron Lennon, Luka Modric, Jermaine Jenas (Peter Crouch 71), Steven Pienaar (Niko Kranjcar 84); Rafael Van Der Vaart; Jermain Defoe
Tony Mabert / Eurosport
This season sees both sides going into the fixture on a rich run of form. With Newcastle sitting in fourth position and still to be beaten. Whilst Tottenham have turned a disapointing start to the season around to put together a run of four straight wins, leaving them in sixth position. A win by two clear goals and a victory by Manchester United over Liverpool would see Spurs move into fourth.
Alan has certainly made a few people stand up and take note with Newcastles form. They have the best defensive record in the league conceding only four goals to date. There is more good news for Newcastle United as both Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa look to be in contention to play on Sunday.
After reading through a few Geordie blogs the main source of topic seems to ravel around their midfield, with Tiote and Ben Arfa highly liked. yet there is also a player by the name of Yoann Cabaye. And at twenty five he has played throughout the French international scene U16 18 19 20 21 and seniors. He has a good range of passing, and can also score a cracker or two,he signed from Lille in this summers transfer window and in my opinion is one to look out for.
Harrry seems to have had the sharp end of the stick with the culmination of the latest internationals. Suffering a multitude of players picking up knocks. Some from the previous outing against Arsenal (Adebayor hamstring). We must hope that it’s not as bad as first feared, and that the likes of Adebayor and Sandro will be able to shake off their niggles.Parker will have an important role to play in this game as St James Park is never an easy place to get a result. Though if Sandro is fit I wonder whether it would be wise to play both him and Scotty?
Assistant manager Kevin Bond expects the team to face a stern test at St. James’ Park on Sunday as we take on an unbeaten Newcastle side.
Alan Pardew’s team has made an impressive start to the season and lie in fourth place in the Premier League having taken 15 points from their opening seven fixtures.
We can leapfrog Newcastle with victory by a two-goal margin but Kevin is aware of the task at hand.
“We always knew that they (Newcastle) were capable of good things, but they’ve probably started the season better than maybe one or two people expected,” he said.
“I’ve seen them play. They’re a strong side, well-organised, well-balanced and they’ve had a really good start to the season.
“Newcastle is always a tough place to go. It’s going to be a hard day and a difficult day, but one that we’re looking forward to.”
With four league wins on the spin, including a North London derby victory over Arsenal two weeks ago, the team go into the match in a rich vein of form.
Kevin, who worked at Newcastle as assistant manager alongside Glenn Roeder for a period in 2006, believes we’ll need a focussed performance on Sunday to come away with the points.
“Sometimes you need to grind out results and be strong and I certainly think we’re going to need to be resilient,” he added. “Hopefully we’ll do that and get a good result.”
Newcastle – To follow
Tottenham – Winger Aaron Lennon could return following a groiun Striker Emmanuel Adebayor is battling to be fit, having suffered a hamstring strain against Arsenal last time out. Spurs also have fitness concerns over defender Vedran Corluka and midfielder Niko Kranjcar, who were both forced off during international duty with Croatia, while Sandro (calf) and Rafael Van Der Vaart (hamstring) are also doubts. Tom Huddlestone (ankle), William Gallas (calf) and Michael Dawson (Achilles) are all ruled out.