Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us as Sports Mole
provides live coverage of Newcastle United
's Premier League clash with visitors Tottenham Hotspur
After an exhilarating start to the new Premier League season, Sunday brings us an exciting encounter that will see the Magpies face Spurs after dismantling Mauricio Pochettino's side 5-1 when Newcastle last featured in the top flight.
Since then, Spurs have evidently continued to develop under Pochettino with the likes of Harry Kane
and Dele Alli
blossoming under the coach's stewardship. Things have proved slightly more difficult for Rafa Benitez
up north, though, as his relationship with the club seems to be entering into a strained period despite gaining promotion straight back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
This summer has arguably been a frustrating period for both clubs. Pochettino has had to deal with the loss of Kyle Walker to Manchester City, which was swiftly followed by an injury to now first-choice right-back Kieran Trippier
. Then came the revelations of Danny Rose
, who gave a scathing interview to The Sun
in which he criticised the club's pay structure and hinted that he would not be opposed to a move away from north London should a respectable offer come in.
Spurs are yet to bring in any fresh faces despite Walker's exit, as part of a strategy that has been both praised and castigated by both fans and pundits. Benitez has also been slightly hamstrung in his approach to transfer, although the Spaniard has been able to sign Jacob Murphy
, Javier Manquillo
and Florian Lejeune
, who could all feature at some point this afternoon.
Right, it is time for some team news now...
NEWCASTLE UNITED STARTING XI: Elliot; Manquillo, Clark, Lejeune, Dummett; Shelvey, Hayden; Ritchie, Perez, Atsu; Gayle
NEWCASTLE UNITED SUBSTITUTES: Darlow, Lascelles, Murphy, Aarons, Mbemba, Merino, Mitrovic
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STARTING XI: Lloris; Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Sissoko, Eriksen, Alli; Kane
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR SUBSTITUTES: Vorm, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer, Wanyama, Winks, Son, Janssen
The major news for Spurs fans, then, is that Moussa Sissoko has been handed a start in the club's attacking three behind Harry Kane
, leaving Son Heung-min
on the bench. Sissoko is to feature alongside both Alli and Christian Eriksen, while Eric Dier
and Mousa Dembele
form Tottenham's holding-two in the middle. At the back, Trippier's absence has left an opportunity for Kyle Walker-Peters
at right wing-back.
As for the Magpies, Dwight Gayle
is to spearhead the hosts' attacking after shrugging off a recent hamstring complaint, while both Manquillo and Lejeune make their Premier League debuts for the club in defence.
No major surprises then, as both sides are almost at as full strength as possible. Despite just being promoted back to the top flight, Newcastle are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches, having won three and drawn three. Not a bad statistic to keep in mind as they go into this contest.
That said, the Magpies have won just once in their opening league matches across the last nine seasons. That last victory actually came against Spurs in 2012.
Benitez has a pretty impressive record when it comes to facing Spurs in the league. The Spaniard has actually not lost in his last eight top-flight games against Tottenham when competing on home soil.
Despite the furore of recent days, it has to be remembered that Spurs still find themselves in impressive shape in the Premier League. Pochettino's men have won 12 of their last 13 Premier League matches.
St James' Park has proven to be a tough place for Spurs to visit in recent times, though. Statistics show that Spurs have won just two of their last 10 league fixtures when making the trip up to Newcastle.
Harry Kane is facing a rather impressive milestone today as he chases 100 goals for Spurs. The frontman also has a formidable record when facing up against newly-promoted clubs. Kane has scored 20 goals in his last 15 league matches against the league's new boys.
One stat that doesn't bode too well for Newcastle is that the last nine Championship winners have failed to claim a victory on their opening Premier League game in the following season.
Spurs have enjoyed positive results against newly-promoted clubs. Tottenham have now won all of their Premier League fixtures against promoted outfits across the last two seasons. In those games, Spurs have bagged 34 goals and conceded just five.
It will be interesting to see how Spurs go about their work today, especially with Sissoko being included in the side at the expense of Son. As for Newcastle's players, the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Gayle will be aiming to prove a point upon their return to the Premier League.
We are looking set for a fine afternoon up in the north east of England. The sun is out as the players go through the final warm-ups.
One defining factor for Spurs this season could be their position at Wembley. White Hart Lane proved to be a fortress last campaign and it will be vital for Tottenham to carry over that position into Wembley if they want to stand a chance of competing for the title. Luckily they are spared that test today as they travel north.
PREDICTION! Right, we have about 10 minutes to go until kickoff and it is time to make a prediction. Much has been made of a lack of business this summer at Spurs, but they still have more than enough to cause most teams problems this campaign. I'm expecting Pochettino's men to register a comfortable 2-0 win on the road this afternoon.
One major question Newcastle will be asked this season, beyond their defending, is their ability to break sides down in the final third. Shelvey could be key to that, but the Magpies will also need strong seasons from both Gayle and Ayoze Perez.
We have just over five minutes until kickoff and St James' Park is almost full, the fans are already in song and the weather is pretty impressive too. Can the Magpies spring a surprise?
The players emerge from the tunnel as we await the start of the game. Time for handshakes, a couple of photos and then we are off!
KICKOFF! Here we go then, the Magpies get us moving in black and white, while Spurs feature in their blue away kit.
Walker-Peters is called into early action as Perez looks to test the youngster's pace and strength down the left channel. The wing-back does really well to hold off his man and also earn the visitors a cheap free kick.
A bright start so far from the Magpies who are trying to put in some early pressure down the flanks. Tottenham aren't budging at the moment though, as Walker-Peters is able to clear once more.
Things have been tight in the middle so far, but Spurs move the ball nicely across the deck out towards Sissoko, although the former United man is soon robbed of possession much to the obvious joy of the home fans.
CHANCE! Gayle's run is perfectly timed in order to beat both centre-backs, leaving the frontman with the chance to volley at goal. It's probably a half chance and the frontman can only skew his shot over the bar. Promising from the home side at the moment.
SUBSTITUTION: Some early frustration for the Magpies as Dummett seems to have pulled his hamstring in pursuit of Sissoko. The hosts replace the defender with Jamaal Lascelles.
Kane is able to draw himself into the game for the first time as he comes deep for the ball. Newcastle have his number, though, as he is soon closed down. Spurs are able to work the ball into the path of Dembele, who breaks forward at pace only to see his shot cannon into Clark.
This has been clever stuff from the Magpies early on as they aim to prevent Spurs from settling. Much of this contest has been played in the middle, with a number of misplaced passes and intense pressing from both teams.
First real moment of magic from Spurs as Alli makes the perfect run off his marker, before squaring the ball across the box for the run of Kane. Lascelles reads the intent impressively, however, as he comes across to slide the ball away.
Eriksen finds himself with a bit of room on the right flank and he turns in a ball towards the near post with the box loaded, although Elliot is quick to react as he gathers down low.
Gradually Spurs are beginning to impose themselves, but the threat of Newcastle still remains. The hosts gather pace down the right where the ball is eventually flicked on the for the run of Perez. The frontman produces some good skill to wrong-foot Vertonghen, although Alderweireld is there to save him teammate.
Nothing to report in the way of clear-cut chances until now. Eriksen turns in a wonderful free kick from the right flank, which Kane almost gets a head to. The cross leads to a scramble inside the area and Elliot is eventually able to gather. This contest is a scrappy one at best.
Newcastle are giving this a real go when they get the opportunity. Atsu shows great pace this time as he breaks down the flanks in order to win a corner. The set-piece ends up being worked back to Clark, who sees his cross into the middle gathered by Lloris.
Down at the other end Spurs lead a break of their own and the ball is eventually fed into the feet of Eriksen. The Newcastle defenders appear too scared to get too close, leaving the playmaker with room for a shot. His effort is a poor one, though, as his toe-poke flies wide of the far-post.
Atsu is at it again as he moves at pace down the left channel. Walker-Peters is left behind and the Newcastle man is able to square a ball into the middle. Gayle should really make more of an effort to reach it, leaving Davies with time to somehow clear for a corner.
This has hardly been supreme Spurs this afternoon and much of the credit should go to Newcastle. The hosts are pressing high up the pitch and are sticking as tight as possible to both Kane and Alli, who have arguably been passengers thus far.
Atsu is causing all sorts of bother down the left wing at the moment and should he be able to find the right quality with his delivery he could cause Spurs some problems. His marker, Walker-Peters, does superbly down at the other end to win a corner, which eventually comes to nothing when the referee calls for a free kick for a push.
Alli has struggled at times with the number of men around him inside the Newcastle half. This time the playmaker is hounded out before giving away a needless free kick trying to regain possession. Benitez will be happy with this so far, his side have managed to stifle Spurs for much of this contest.
The home side are applying some positive pressure on the Spurs back-line when they have the ball and it seems to be working as the Magpies are preventing the visitors from playing out effectively from the back.
SHOT! Elliot has some work to do now as Eriksen takes aim from distance. His curling effort bends over the Newcastle defence before being snatching comfortably by the diving Newcastle stopper.
Walker-Peters does well once more with his defensive work as Clark finds himself in a forward position. The Spurs full-back is able to stand his ground, allowing Alderweireld to come across and hoof away.
Very little seems to be happening for Spurs in the final third. The away side work possession forward to just shy of the Newcastle box, leaving Eriksen to have to try his luck from distance once more following a lack of options. The midfielder sees his effort take a slight deflection and fall kindly for Elliot.
Three minutes of additional time here...
HALF TIME: NEWCASTLE UNITED 0-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
So the referee calls time on what has been an interesting, if not too exciting, first half of football at St James' Park. Newcastle have arguably gone about their task a little better than the visitors, who have been stifled for much of the match. Benitez will be happy with the efforts of his charges and they have made this game very uncomfortable for Spurs.
As for Pochettino's men, most of their efforts have been from range thanks largely in part to Newcastle's industry. The Spurs coach will likely want to see a little more creativity from his side in the second half. The visitors haven't really been at the races today.
Son could be a useful option off the bench for Spurs, especially given his ability to operate in between the lines. Spurs have arguably missed that today with Newcastle free to push up when they see fit without having to worry about somebody in the spaces.
The players are starting to emerge from the tunnel for the second half. Can somebody find the goal that will surely change the complexion of this match?
SECOND HALF! We are moving again and Spurs show some early intention as they come forward with pace. Elliot has the reading of proceedings, though, and is able to gather the ball as it breaks loose from Sissoko.
Sissoko shows a strong turn of pace this time as he comes across the middle before feeding the ball wide to Davies. The full-back sends his cross into the box, where Clark hacks away with Kane lurking.
RED CARD! Wow, what have we seen here? Shelvey is given his marching orders by the referee for a stamp on Alli. It appears as though the Newcastle midfielder has stepped on the player's ankle while he is on the deck. It doesn't look to hard, but the Newcastle man definitely knew what he was doing. It happened right under the referee's nose too.
Very strange behaviour from Shelvey, who has had notable disciplinary problems in the past too. He was Newcastle captain today and he has surely let his side down massively here.
CHANCE! A ball forward breaks kindly to Kane inside the area and the striker turns first time and volleys at goal. Somehow Elliot makes himself big enough and produces a world-class save to deny Kane his 100th Spurs goal.
That card will likely change the course of this match now and you fully expect Spurs to exploit the situation, regardless of how average they have performed so far. The visitors stretch the play on the right where Walker-Peters sends a ball into the middle, but Elliot ushers it out for a goal kick.
The numerical advantage is starting to show as Davies finds space on the left before being brought down. Spurs come back again with a testing ball into the middle, where Elliot takes the brunt of Sissoko's force and is able to win a much-needed free kick for the Magpies.
SUBSTITUTION: Spurs make a change now as Sissoko is replaced by Son, who is returning from a broken arm.
Walker-Peters almost fashions a chance out on the right as he comes inside to deliver into the middle. It looks as though Kane might just make good use of it, before Clark clears.
GOAL! NEWCASTLE UNITED 0-1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (DELE ALLI)
There we have it, Spurs finally make the breakthrough and through who else but Alli. It's typical of Spurs really, this goal, as Eriksen finds room to curl a wonderful pass across the defence to meet the run of Alli off the shoulder. The ball beats the Newcastle backline and allows the youngster to slide his effort beyond a stranded Elliot who can do absolutely nothing about it.
The opener has taken the pressure off Spurs and it is already showing in midfield as the visitors start to move the ball around with pace. Walker-Peters aims to pick out Kane in the middle although Lascelles has other ideas with a strong header clear.
That goal has clearly identified the real issue with Shelvey's sending off. Newcastle had done such an impressive job closing Alli down throughout the game, but now being a man down the Magpies were unable to shut him out for that opener.
GOAL! NEWCASTLE UNITED 0-2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (BEN DAVIES)
A brilliant piece of magic on the edge of the box sees Alli and Eriksen go for the one-two. The move beats two Newcastle centre-backs and kindly breaks for a marauding Davies, who takes the ball off the toes of Eriksen to slot beyond Elliot. That was a fantastic move from Pochettino's men.
You have to think that this is game over now for the Magpies. Sometimes a red card can spur sides on, but Tottenham have had too much quality and have since made the hosts pay following Shelvey's dismissal. Surely it's damage limitation for United now...
Spurs are aiming to take the sting out of proceedings at the moment and have markedly decreased the tempo going into the final moments of the game. Atsu is given the chance to run towards goal and he obliges with a shot that is comfortably saved by Lloris.
Atsu is still continuing to put his all into this despite the writing being on the proverbial wall. The winger goes past Walker-Peters but cannot quite find the necessary quality to pick out Perez.
CLOSE! He still isn't giving up... the winger springs up at the back-post and almost scrambles an effort beyond Lloris, but the shot flies into the side-netting.
Spurs will not mind this too much with a two-goal advantage and will likely aim to spring on the break if needed. It almost comes as Kane seeks the run of Son, leaving Lascelles to intercept at the vital moment.
Tottenham make a late change as Harry Winks is introduced. We are going to have three minutes of added time here in Newcastle.
CLOSE! Kane thinks he has his 100th goal but for the post. The striker opens up just inside the box before seeing his effort cannon back off the woodwork. So unlucky for the frontman.
FULL TIME: NEWCASTLE UNITED 0-2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
All done for Spurs who were arguably handed those three points on a plate following the red card. Newcastle had played impressively and Spurs did not look like finding a route into the contest until Shelvey saw his marching orders. Pochettino won't mind, though, as Spurs take an important three points from their opening match. Thank you for joining us today, that is going to be all from me!