Best Odds: 3/1
Bookmaker: Bet 365
The Premier League is back this weekend as newly-promoted Newcastle United host Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park. It’s an intriguing clash in which both teams will want to get off to a good start.
Everybody expected Newcastle United to win the Championship last season, due to their strength in depth and quality, plus the experience of manager Rafa Benitez. It was mostly plain sailing for the Magpies, despite the constant threat of Brighton & Hove Albion right up until the last game of the season. However, fans will be all too aware of the challenge of the Premier League and they could be in for a long, hard campaign. After a summer in which Benitez has grown frustrated with the lack of signings, he will be hoping that they can still secure the signature of a top player before the end of the transfer window. Having said that, Newcastle have brought in Norwich winger Jacob Murphy, and La Liga defenders Florian Lejeune and Javier Manquillo. They have also signed Christian Atsu on a permanent basis. The last time these two sides met, it was a 5-1 victory for the Magpies, but fans up the North-East will know they’re in for a much tougher game on Sunday afternoon.
DeAndre Yedlin will miss the match due to a hamstring injury. While the same problem could mean Dwight Gayle is unable to play.
New signings Murphy, Lejeune and Manquillo will all hope to make their debut.
If Newcastle fans feel aggrieved by their summer transfer policy, then Tottenham fans are probably livid after failing to sign a single player pre-season. In a window in which all of their rivals have spent big money and strengthened in depth and quality, Spurs may feel they have been left behind in terms of recruitment. It is even possible to argue that they have become weaker due to the £50 million offloading of defender Kyle Walker to Manchester City. Boss Mauricio Pochettino has managed to keep hold of star players such as Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, but fans may still feel slightly apprehensive coming in to the new season. Tottenham also have to deal with playing all their home games at Wembley, a place they struggled to get results when competing in the Champions League last term. Spurs have struggled results wise in pre-season, which may be due to Pochettino’s attempts to ease his players in to the campaign, but it could see them slow off the blocks on Sunday and especially at a full-house St James’ Park.
Tottenham are struggling at full-back, having sold Walker and sustaining injuries to Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose. Victor Wanyama is also due to miss the game because of a knee injury.
Heung-min Son could make the bench after his time out.
Key Factors to consider
- There have been 14 goals scored in the last three meetings between these two sides at St James’ Park
- Newcastle have only one once in their opening match across nine seasons (D4, L4)
- Harry Kane is one goal away from a century for Tottenham in all comps. He has scored 99 times in 165 games so far
- The England striker has scored 20 times in the last 15 games against newly promoted teams
- Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle averaged a goal every 93 minutes in the Championship last season
Newcastle will be raring to go at a packed St James’ Park on Sunday, and even though they haven’t strengthened as much as they would like to, they are going to want to prove they deserve to be in the big time. Tottenham meanwhile, could be slow off the blocks and may struggle. We’re going to go for a draw in this one.
Best Odds: 3/1
Bookmaker: Bet 365
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