Three things to look for from Tottenham at Newcastle on Sunday

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Tottenham September 27, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Boyers - Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Tottenham September 27, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Boyers - Pool/Getty Images) /

When Tottenham Hotspur faces Newcastle United on Sunday at St. James Park, the match will feature two teams fighting for their lives for very different reasons. The Spurs are fighting to gain a coveted spot in next season’s Champions League and the cash windfall that accompanies Europe’s top competition. The Magpies are fighting to stay in the Premier League and avoid the drop. With everything seemingly on the line for both teams, here are three things to look for in the match-up.

Tottenham Need to Take Newcastle Seriously

Tottenham Hotspur is their own worst enemy. When the Spurs are on their game, they are as good as any team in Europe. However, when the Lilywhites think they are good enough to just go through the motions, they concede and drop points in the process.

Newcastle is undoubtedly struggling right now, which only compounds the trickiness of the game for Spurs. However, looking ahead at Newcastle’s schedule while Burnley comes after Tottenham, a run of five games against West Ham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Leicester City mean Newcastle must get points now. If the Magpies think points will come down the road, with that schedule it seems unlikely.

Given Tottenham is playing a struggling team, on the road, with an opportunity to go into the top four, everything is set up for a dud if the Spurs do not take Newcastle seriously. If Tottenham comes out with high energy and high intensity, Newcastle really does not stand a chance.

How healthy is the injury recovered Spurs?

Prior to the international break, a couple of key members of the team went out injured as Heung-Min Son and Sergio Reguilón both left matches early due to physical issues. According to coach José Mourinho, both players are back and in contention to play. While Tottenham can likely do without Son against Newcastle, given Ben Davies is out, Spurs definitely need Sergio Reguilón.

Sergio Reguilón has been in and out of the line-up all of 2021, having completed the full 90 minutes only five times since January. It was against Aston Villa in Tottenham’s last game before the break where Reguilón went out just before the hour mark. While Tottenham does not have a ton of games left and has some time for rest, avoiding re-aggravating Reguilón’s injury and losing him for any extended period going forward is a must.

Unfortunately, with Davies out, there is not a lot of cover on the left, meaning Reguilón is likely to play, hopefully, he goes all 90. Alternatively, Tottenham has plenty of cover for Son. The South Korean is back to full practice so is likely to play, however, if there is any question, he should sit and get fully healthy for the run-in to come. As the season grinds to a conclusion, avoiding injuries and being smart with those who have them is going to be a must.

What Newcastle team shows up?

While Tottenham is clearly the more talented team and assuming the LIlywhites show up and play 100% they should win. That said, there are two teams and while Newcastle likely cannot take the game to Tottenham, the question is where are the Magpies mentally. We mentioned the schedule to come, which is daunting, to say the least.

With so few clear opportunities to win on the horizon the mental fortitude of Newcastle is going to be a question. If Newcastle believes they can stay up and get the points they need to survive, they should give Tottenham a game and keep it entertaining for all. However, if Newcastle has already thrown in the towel, this could just end up being a laugher.

Likely it will only take about 20 minutes to know which team if either really showed up and wanted the game. While all indications say Tottenham should be the team to take control and win all three points, Newcastle is a desperate team who must be taken seriously. Who comes most ready to play physically and mentally Sunday is going to leave with the three points, expect that team to be Spurs.

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