Friday, March 31, 2006

Tottenham - Another 'MUST' Win at Newcastle

Tottenham will be looking to continue their improved run of results, striving for a third consecutive win tomorrow afternoon. March was a good month for Spurs with only the late defeat by Chelsea spoiling their record. Those wins were vital as the competition for a European place is still intense. Recent results have seen Bolton and West Ham drop back a little but Blackburn, Arsenal and Wigan are still pressing their claims for a high finish. In the past few weeks the teams in the challenging positions have matched each other result for result, no quarter has been given and there has been no room for error.

Thankfully, in spite of the continuing challenge Spurs have been able to maintain their position and they hold their destiny in their own hands. Tomorrow, they will hope to keep ahead of the chasing pack by winning at Newcastle for the second successive season. Who can forget Atouba's stunning goal last year at St.James Park which won the early season game? Since then Spurs lost there in a Cup tie, where a different referee might have seen at least one of the 'dead cert' penalties Spurs should have been awarded. Spurs won both games at White Hart Lane, the most recent on New Year's Eve, against a very poor Newcastle team.

At White Hart Lane Robbie Keane was an inspiration against them and it is hoped that he will maintain his recent good form which has seen him score four goals in the last three wins. Shortly after their demise at Tottenham, Newcastle removed Souness from his manager's position and replaced him with Glenn Roeder. There was an immediate improvement in results but recently that has tailed off again. Newcastle have a number of injuries, including Parker, so Spurs could have their best chance of collecting another three points away from home.

For a team with Champions League aspirations this is another game where they would be really expecting to get the win and anything less would be a disappointment. However, Spurs must learn from last Monday's game against West Brom. There are no easy games that you just turn up for - every player must be committed and prepared to give their all for the cause. When that happens and the team is really competitive, it is possible for the skilful players to show their style - Jenas, Lenon, Defoe and Keane.

Newcastle hasn't been the most successful of grounds for Spurs, with only three wins in twelve Premiership visits. They won in:

1993-94: 1-0 Sheringham (Ardiles' first game as manager)
2001-02: 2-0 Poyet, opp. o.g.
2004-05: 1-0 Atouba
There have been three draws - 3-3 in May, 1995, 1-1 a year later and 1-1 in 1998-99. The defeats have included 0-4 in December, 2003 and losing 1-7 under Gerry Francis in December, 1996.
Martin Jol (Pic: Martin Jol) will be looking for something much better than those tortured times, as the usual full quote of travelling supporters make their way to the North-east. He has few injury problems, although Tainio is said to be doubtful, while Andy Reid has returned to fitness. As usual, Jol has to decide how best to use his three strikers and which permutation of midfield players to use. Lennon has grown in confidence and Jenas will be looking to impress on his first return to St. James Park. Edgar Davids has been less influential than at the start of the season and consideration may be given to replacing him in midfield with Murphy waiting for an opportunity to show his worth. There is a strong squad available and if they play to their potential, they are quite capable of getting the result that is required. A win by two goals is quite possible and would further strengthen Spurs position in fourth place.
The defence has been solid all season and must avoid any slackness or error as Alan Shearer would be only too happy to take any opportunity provided. It is a long time since any of the defenders got on the scoring list and if the free-kick and corners were delivered more accurately, King and Dawson are quite capable of scoring.
A positive display and forging their style on the game should ensure Spurs travel home from
Tyneside with a better return than from their previous two visits to the North-east earlier in the season.
'Come On You Spurs'
'The Spurs go Marching on'


No comments:

Post a Comment