The first weekend of the Premier League is finally upon us and one of the most eye-catching matches will be taking place at St James’ Park. Newcastle United are back in the Premier League and they will be welcoming Tottenham to the North East. The Magpies’ last match in the top flight was against Spurs, as they ran riot and triumphed by a 5-1 scoreline. Although they were already relegated, this was important as the atmosphere convinced Rafa Benitez to stay with the club.
Newcastle’s first task this season will be securing their Premier League status for another season. They may not be your typical promoted club given their size and their manager, but they are still new to the league and they can’t afford to get ahead of themselves. Their transfer business has been a touch underwhelming, but they have a good squad and under Benitez, they have the tools to compete at this level.
Oddly, Tottenham enter the season under a cloud, despite an excellent last two campaigns. They have yet to make a signing this summer and have lost Kyle Walker to Manchester City. However, the most worrying thing for the club is that the negativity among the supporters is spreading to the players. Danny Rose gave an explosive interview to the Sun, in which he criticised the club’s transfer policy and indicated his desire to leave. Mauricio Pochettino needs to get this under control as it has the potential to be hugely damaging to the club’s season.
Despite returning to the Premier League, Newcastle opted for a low-profile pre-season with the majority of their matches played in the UK. Two matches in Germany provided them with a sterner test and they had mixed results. A loss against Mainz was disappointing, but they were excellent against Wolfsburg. Last weekend, they completed a comfortable victory against Hellas Verona to give them momentum heading into the season opener.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men played a number of high profile friendlies to prepare them for the coming campaign. There were impressive wins over PSG and Juventus, which will have boosted confidence within the squad. It wasn’t all positive though, as they did suffer a heavy defeat to Manchester City in the US.
Dwight Gayle is a doubt with a hamstring complaint, but he is expected to be pull through in time. DeAndre Yedlin will be missing for the opening fixture. The American should return later this month. Jamaal Lascelles is fit again, but as he didn’t complete a full pre-season, the club captain is expected to start from the bench.
Kieran Trippier and Victor Wanyama are both doubts for this weekend. Meanwhile, Son Heung-min, Danny Rose and Erik Lamela will all be missing for the visitors with various injuries.
Florian Lejeune and Javier Manquillo are in line to make their full debuts for Newcastle. Benitez is hoping that Gayle is fit to start, but Aleksandar Mitrovic is waiting in the wings if he isn’t. Christian Atsu’s impressive pre-season form should mean he is named in the starting eleven.
They club will be hoping that Kieran Trippier pulls through in time, but if he doesn’t, Moussa Sissoko could start against his former club after a good showing against Juventus. The rest of the Spurs team is what would be expected. Harry Kane and Dele Alli are both certainties to start.
Match Prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 Tottenham
St James’ Park is sold out and the atmosphere will be great for the Magpies’ return to the Premier League. Newcastle have been a bogey side for Tottenham in recent seasons, with the North East side picking up five wins in the last eight Premier League meetings. Benitez will make his side tough to break down and seek to threaten on the counter-attack. The negativity at Tottenham during this past week could have an effect on the match. It isn’t an easy game for the visitors and a draw would represent a solid start for them.