Spurs head to Newcastle on Saturday for the opening fixture of both teams 2018/19 Premier League campaigns.
Some fans may be anxious about the fact that Spurs have only this week got their full complement of World Cup players back in training, with big names like Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen but Newcastle have big problems of their own.
— Harry Kane (@HKane) August 6, 2018
The club have completed the signings of goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and Brazilian star Kenedy, both of whom were on loan at St James’ Park. They have also picked up Fabian Schar, Yoshinori Muto, and Ki Sung-yeung while Salomon Rondon has completed his move from West Brom in a loan exchange for Dwight Gayle.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 6, 2018
Yet manager Rafa Benitez remains frustrated. Newcastle players have been refusing TV duties in a dispute over bonus payments, though that is now said to be sorted and owner Mike Ashley is embroiled in a row with MPs over his stewardship of the club.
Newcastle’s are not to be counted out however, partly due to danger man Jonjo Shelvey, who sprays the ball around from a deep lying midfield slot and can also hit spectacular long range strikes. A campaign to get him into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad failed – Shelvey can be hot-headed and his disciplinary record is poor, but many pundits felt he could have been the creative spark which England lacked.
Predicted Line Up: Newcastle v Spurs
How will Spurs perform?
For Tottenham it has been a varied pre-season. Performances in friendlies have generally been positive, as was their performance in their US tour, but there have been problems over new arrivals. A £25 million move for Aston Villa star Jack Grealish has reportedly collapsed following a window-long rumour about the move, and Pochettino said in a press conference on the 9th August that, regarding new players;
“I think it’s so difficult now. Only four hours to the end. I don’t have news now. Sure it will be difficult. Until you finish the game you can’t say it’s the end. It will be difficult.” (Football.London)
Spurs were hoping to land Grealish on the cheap as Villa were engulfed by a financial crisis, but the Championship outfit were suddenly rescued by massive financial investment in the form of Egyptian tycoon Nassef Sawiris and American high roller Wes Edens.
They immediately made it clear that they didn’t want to sell the club’s prize asset at any price, with a £25 million bid allegedly rejected earlier this week. It seems he wasn’t prepared to force a move but if Villa miss out on promotion he will be then allowed to leave next summer.
What’s next for Spurs?
Following their game against Newcastle, Spurs then face off against Fulham for their final game at Wembley, before away matches against both Manchester United and Watford on the 27th August and 2nd September respectively before the first match at the new stadium against Liverpool on the 15th September.