With Hatem Ben Arfa still injured and Cheik Tiote and "Laxbro" Andy Carroll suffering recent injuries, Newcastle United does not look nearly as potent as they should. Spurs defeated Newcastle 2-0 at St. James' Park not long ago with both Carroll and Tiote in the side. Despite playing on the road and the sending off of Younes Kaboul, the match never really seemed in question. Newcastle did not look good on that day. Still, it would be unwise for Tottenham Hotspur to take Newcastle lightly going into Saturday's encounter.
It seems unlikely that Spurs would come out anything but focused and ready to give 100% effort tomorrow, but it's still concerning. We're no good at these trap games, these days. I'm no longer concerned about our performances against big teams, but I'm concerned about bottling it against mediocre teams with fitness issues.
This has inspired a slight format change for this week's preview. Check it out after the jump.
Why we might bottle this: Are you scared of Shola Ameobi and Leon Best? Neither am I. Hopefully, this is not how the team is thinking.
Why we probably won't bottle this: Michael Dawson has been absolute fire since returning from injury. Without him, we've had our ups and downs with the usually great, but occasionally hilariously dim-witted Kaboul and William Gallas. Dawson has brought some serious calm and leadership to our defense.
What scares me about Newcastle: Jonas against whoever we play at right back (probably Hutton). Jonas has great pace and skill to go along with a great work rate, and Alan Hutton is Alan Hutton. While Ameobi isn't nearly the player Carroll is, he is large and can put his head on a ball. If Jonas is beating Hutton like a rented mule, we're in trouble.
Why Newcastle should be scared of Spurs: Without Tiote in the game, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart are going to have an easier time than they would against a full team. Don't get me wrong, Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan are quality players, but they're not the bone-crunching, imposing force(s) that Tiote is.
Projected Tottenham Hotspur lineup (4-4-1-1): Gomes / Assou-Ekotto, Dawson, Gallas, Hutton / Bale, Modric, Palacios, Lennon / van der Vaart / Defoe
Projected Newcastle United Lineup (4-4-2): Harper / Enrique, Coloccini, Williamson, Simpson / Jonas, Nolan, Barton, Routledge / Ameobi, Best
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Newcastle United. Just like the last game.