Despite last weekend’s surprise win over Liverpool, you have to imagine Steve McClaren’s job is still under threat. Newcastle fans would be happy with a point at Spurs but it’s a big ask for a team who got humiliated by Crystal Palace on their last away day. Tottenham are fresh from thumping Monaco in the Europa League but Pochettino knows his young squad need to start turning draws into wins if they are going to do themselves justice this season. Tottenham may be fifth but have only won 6 games—the same number as newly promoted Watford. This is a match they have to win to stay in touch with 4th place.
Despite scoring a very unfortunate own goal in the very first game of the season, Walker has looked in the form of his career since—he’s made far fewer defensive blunders than he has in previous years and looks a much more rounded and developed player. Considering Newcastle don’t have much of a wing presence, Walker will probably be given licence to bomb down the right hand side and overload in attack—which is very useful considering Lamela is more and more effective cutting in from the right. If Walker stays fit he is a shoo-in for the right back spot at this summer’s European Championship.
Far and away the best bit of transfer business that Newcastle did over the summer was bringing Wijnaldum to St. James’ Park. The Dutchman has had to settle for wide positions at times this season, a waste of his prodigious talent and strength in that number 10 role. Alongside Moussa Sissoko, the Dutchman was able to really threaten an out-of-sorts Liverpool side and capped a fine performance with an impudent chip over Mignolet for Newcastle’s second. With none of his strikers impressing much, McClaren will need his midfielders to show them how to find the net.
The English number 9 has looked a little leggy in his last two league games, probably the reason he was rested for the Europa League fixture against Monaco. He’s certain to be fresher against Newcastle and will be looking to get back amongst the goals on Sunday. Kane may not be grabbing the headlines as much since August, but he still has 32% of his team’s goals—down only from 36% last season.
A hattrick inside the first 37 minutes against Monaco, Lamela looked to be on graceful cruise control on a wet night in north London. His third goal in particular was a special one, hit first time with his weaker foot to beat Subasic. Lamela’s tracking back and tackling was also excellent, winning the ball back or forcing mistakes out of Monaco several times. His manager was glowing in his praise post-match and Spurs will be glad of his creativity and tenacity on Sunday.