Tottenham Hotspur vs Newcastle United
Our next game is home to Newcastle United which, until the January window closed, we may have considered a very good prospect for 3 points. But the bar codes have been busy in the transfer window spending £28,569.200.00 and receiving back from transfer revenue £13,024.000.00
There is no doubt that Moussa Sissoko is a great find and at just 22 he looks like a prospect for the future. But whilst his fingerprints were all over the Chelsea result the Bar codes have acquired some other strong players like Centre Back Mapou Yanga Mbiwa, only 23 years of age from Montpellier, Centre Forward, Yoan Gouffran from Bordeaux, Right Back Mathieu Debuchy and left back Massadio Haidara from AS Nancy.
Newcastle come to the Lane on the back of two straight wins 2-1 away to Villa and last weekend a stunning 3-2 victory over Chelsea. The Newcastle team will probably be the same as the team that beat Chelski, with Debucy, Colloccini, Santon and Perch across the back, Cabaye, Goufran, Gutierrez across the middle with Sissoko sitting in just behind Cisse. AVB will have to think carefully how he sets his team out for this one as both Cisse and Sissoko are powerful forwards. Hugo Lloris will have to be at his aerial best as Newcastle will be good in the air especially at set pieces and if we are going to play a high line we will have to make sure we can get back to defend if play breaks down whilst we are in possession. That could mean AVB dropping Dawson, who isn`t the quickest of our CB`s, and maybe consider pairing Caulker and Vertonghen instead.
If ever there was a game to have Kaboul available it would be this one but unfortunately Kaboul`s long awaited return is not until the 25th February. Another absentee that we will surely miss is Sandro helping us break up play higher up the pitch, that means Parker will have a job to do on Saturday. We are a bit light in terms of DM now Sandro is out so Dembele will need to go back to help Parker and possibly build attacks from deep.
The most interesting aspect of this game will be to see if AVB puts Dempsey in behind Adebyour or takes a gamble and puts Lewis Holtby in the VDV role. That would allow Dembele to play deeper and might bring that link between the front man and midfield that we have been missing in recent games. Against West Brom Defoe looked isolated for much of the game he played and it was only when Bale went back to the left, after the Defoe injury that Dempsey started to see some service.
This is going to be a difficult match. Chelsea were said to have not been on their game, whilst Newcastle went into the match with a Cup mentality. Newcastle will be on a high and their new pairing of Cisse and Sissoko look like a potent weapon that will surely start to see the Bar Codes climb up the table. Newcastle, like Spurs, have Europa League duties this month, whether that reflects on the two teams that are selected remains unclear but our 25 man squad is looking a bit thin in some areas because some players, like Walker and BAE have not really found their form yet.
There will be some key battles, especially in defence, how will Debuchy and Santon deal with Lennon and Bale. How will our CB`s deal with Sissoko and Cisse? The battle for midfield will be another key area. Will Dembele see enough of the ball and will Holtby get a start over Dempsey?
Of course no one really feels that Newcastle should be where they are in the Premier League especially as they finished 5th last season. The irony is that Newcastle could yet have a big bearing on us finishing fourth or higher this season, especially if the points difference is 3 points or less for 4th spot, as Les Toons D`Army`s last match of the season is at St James`s Park against.....Le Scum!
So how would you set Spurs up against a rejuvenated Newcastle and do we have the players to keep Sissoko and Cisse quiet?