The vibes only have so much runway. It is no one’s fault; it is still early, early days for Ange Postecoglou, and key absences make it impossible to fairly judge the state of the club right now. And yet — one point from the five matches for Tottenham Hotspur is a tough pill to swallow in any situation, and it feels like this could get ugly soon.
Maybe that ugliness has already set in. With the busy festive period in sight and more known departures coming soon after, it is difficult to see where things suddenly turn around for Spurs. The immediate future sees no reprieve either, with Newcastle United visiting on Sunday with the chance to knock the home side multiple spots down the table.
Unfortunately, no one has forgotten the last time this two clubs met, which is not going to make stopping this rough stretch any easier. At least this season’s squad is more likely to go up ahead and then concede five goals, as opposed to going down 5-0 after the match’s first 21 minutes?
It is getting tough to really know what to say about these matches anymore. There are still plenty of positives, and certainly the club is moving in a positive direction overall, but at some point it gets a little tiring to see the same deficiencies fumble away points every single week, even if this is not close to Postecoglou’s preferred XI. Here is to hoping something gets magically fixed this weekend!
Tottenham Hotspur (t-5th, 27pts) vs. Newcastle United (7th, 26 pts)
Date: Sunday, December 9
Time: 11:30 am ET, 4:30 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
TV: USA Network (USA), Sky Sports Main Event (UK)
Newcastle is a little off pace to match last season’s fourth-place finish, but that was to be expected given the addition of the Champions League. The Magpies are still in contention to advance to the knockout stage, control their own destiny for at least the Europa League, and have overall impressed in the loaded Group of Death.
Domestically, Newcastle is fourth in goal difference and xGD, again fueled by a strong defense. While the last five matches include wins over Arsenal, Chelsea, and United, they also include shocking losses to Bournemouth and Everton with a combined 2.0 to 5.7 xGD. Maybe this is the right time to get Newcastle, especially with a pivotal fixture against Milan on Wednesday.
Lilywhite Spotlight: Missing aggression
Getting the lead has not been an issue as of late, which has been well documented at this point. Instead, the challenge has been two-fold. First is protecting the lead, which hopefully the return of Cristian Romero and Pape Matar Sarr can help alleviate. No single player is to blame here, but in general the backline needs to be much crisper.
However, this squad is not set up to be keeping clean sheets every single match. Spurs absolutely cannot grab a slim lead and expect that to hold all match with no continued ambition. The West Ham collapse was yet another clinic in how to not create any meaningful chances in a crowded box, and Spurs must figure out how to keep the foot on the gas and generate some additional offense after going ahead.