Newcastle 6-1 Tottenham: What’s changed in the year since

It is just under a year since Newcastle obliterated Tottenham 6-1 at St James’ Park on their way to Champions League football.

Then interim-manager Cristian Stellini’s side had already conceded five goals within the opening 25 minutes of the game, with the final score reading 6-1 to Eddie Howe’s men. It was the second fastest time that a team had raced to a five-goal lead in England’s top tier. 

Ahead of Spurs’ visit to St. James’ Park this Saturday, Hayters TV’s Newcastle United correspondent Raff Tindale looks ahead to this weekend’s matchup between the two European contenders, what has changed for both sides since this time last season, and whether to expect a different result this time around. 

Newcastle United

There is no other way to describe Newcastle United’s season other than a roller-coaster of emotions, results and luck. Howe has been presented with an unprecedented injury crisis within his team, with the Magpies cumulatively losing over 1,300 days to injuries this season – the highest number in the Premier League by some margin. Despite such a crisis, they sit in eighth, firmly in contention for European football for a second season running. 

It has certainly been a campaign of highs and lows. Impressive wins over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, leaders Arsenal in the Premier League, and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup in September, but consistency has proven to be Howe’s most difficult challenge this campaign. Every impressive win seems to be countered by a notable lacklustre performance.

Newcastle have so far been beaten by three out of the bottom five teams; Everton, Luton Town and Nottingham Forest, and have been consistently inconsistent in most games. For a side that was in the Champions League not four months ago, they should be picking up three points in these matches. 

After returning to Europe’s elite for the first time in two decades, questions were asked on whether Howe’s overachievers would be able to compete on all four fronts this campaign. Being drawn into the ‘group of death’ in the Champions League and facing the likes of City, Manchester United and Chelsea in both domestic cups would have been far what Howe would have wanted in his bid to end Newcastle’s near seventy year trophy drought. 

Whilst the Magpies did bolster their squad last summer with the signings of Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes and Tino Livramento, but the trio’s availability have provided issues despite hefty investment. Tonali made just 12 appearances before being banned for betting offences, and Barnes has only just returned to full fitness after injury. Without his two marquee summer signings, both of whom would be firmly in contention to be regular starters, Eddie Howe has been forced to play more games, against higher quality opponents, with an almost identical squad to the one which had already overachieved last season. 

Tottenham Hotspur 

It is certainly a very different Tottenham side which is visiting St. James’ Park this weekend than that of this time last year. It was what proved to be Cristian Stellini’s fourth and final game as Tottenham’s interim-manager, amid a time in which the club was in turmoil following the departure of head coach Antonio Conte a month earlier. 

Following the departure of Conte and a rocky end to the season under Stellini and Ryan Mason, Spurs went into the summer without a head coach and a very real possibility of losing the club’s all-time goalscorer Harry Kane.

Ange Postecoglou’s appointment as Tottenham head coach was certainly a high risk, high reward move from Daniel Levy and the Tottenham board. While Postecoglou had won trophies at each club he has managed, the head coach was unproven in any of Europe’s top leagues, and it was called into question whether he would be able to handle the significant step up from the SPL to the Premier League. 

But the move has proven to be a stroke of genius, as Postecoglou has not only guided Tottenham back into the Champions League places with seven games yet to play this season, but more importantly given the club an identity and a style of football that excites the fans. While Kane’s departure transpired in the form of a move to German giants Bayern Munich in August, Postecoglou has built a squad that can compete with any team in the Premier League on any given day. 

Postecoglou’s side have managed some equally impressive results to those of Newcastle this season, while also having to contend with injuries to key players such as Micky van de Ven, James Maddison and Richarlison throughout the season. Tottenham have only lost one game against opposition in the traditional ‘big six’ this season, and thanks to Postecoglou have looked to be a much more competent and coherent side compared to the one that saw three different head coaches last season. Spurs go into the weekend matchup having taken 10 points from the last 15, unbeaten in their last three league matches.

What to expect from the game?

Both teams come into the matchup on Saturday with a point to prove. The home side have the opportunity to overtake West Ham and move into seventh and a European Conference League spot, while the visitors will be looking to tighten their grip on fourth place and stretch their lead over top four competitors Aston Villa.

Despite Newcastle’s impressive form at St. James’ Park this season, it is certainly not the same tumultuous Tottenham side that visited the North-East this time last year. With both teams needing to pick up as many points as possible in their remaining games to secure European football for next season, it is sure to be an exciting encounter between two highly attacking teams.

But will there be a similar result to last season? While it is difficult to envision Postecoglou’s side conceding six goals with the likes of Micky van de Ven and Cristian Romero in the Spurs back line, matches at St. James’ Park always seems to produce goals galore, as Newcastle’s thrilling 4-3 win versus West Ham demonstrated not two weeks ago. But how many goals and to which team, only time will tell.

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