Newcastle United - Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Spurs set sights on second spot

Mauricio Pochettino and his Tottenham side make the long trip to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon to face a recently relegated Magpies side as the season comes to a conclusion.

Newcastle United - Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Spurs set sights on second spot
(photo: VAVEL)

Going into the final round of fixtures just two points clear of North London rivals Arsenal, following last weekend’s disappointing defeat to Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to leave St James’ Park with the three points which will secure their highest ever Premier League finish.

In a season which seems to have run out of steam, Mauricio Pochettino will be doing all he can to ensure a first win in four matches as a highly encouraging season for the Argentine comes to a close. 

Having already secured a Champions League group stage place for the 2016-17 season, only a second ever year in the competition, Tottenham’s travelling fans will be looking for their hero’s this season to put in one more big performance to finally get one over Arsenal.

Newcastle United, on the other hand, will play their final game in the Premier League for one season at least after their rivals Sunderland relegated the Magpies with a demolition over Everton on Wednesday evening.

Despite an upturn in results under the guidance of Rafael Benítez, the Spaniard will feel he simply ran out of time to secure safety in one of the most competitive Premier League seasons in recent memory.

A goalless draw at already relegated Aston Villa last time out all but sealed Newcastle’s fate, with the Geordies suffering a second relegation under the ownership of Mike Ashley.

Benitez has improved Newcastle's form, but not saved them (photo: Getty Images)
Benitez has improved Newcastle's form, but not saved them (photo: Getty Images)

Last time out

In the corresponding fixture at White Hart Lane in December, then Newcastle manager Steve McLaren had a rare moment to savour as his side left the capital with an unlikely three points

Eric Dier headed the hosts into the lead just before half-time as Spurs looked on course secure another win ahead of the busy festive fixture pile-up.

However, Aleksandar Mitrović capitalised on a defensive mix-up in the Tottenham defence to draw his side level before fellow substitute Ayoze Pérez saw his shot trickle under the Spurs captain Hugo Lloris in the home net to seal the victory in injury time.

Team news

Playing for nothing but pride, Newcastle will be able to call upon fit again defenders Daryl Janmaat and Steven Taylor to try and keep out current Premier League top goalscorer Harry Kane in the Tottenham attack.

Having kept a clean sheet at Villa Park last weekend, however, it remains to be seen whether Benítez decides to mix things up at the back.

Probable line-up: Darlow; Anita, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett; Tioté, Colback; Townsend, Sissoko, Wijnaldum; Mitrović

Tottenham will continue to be without suspended duo Mousa Dembélé and Dele Alli following violent conduct in recent weeks. Nabil Bentaleb has recently returned to training after a long-term injury lay-off but is unlikely to make the trip to St James’ Park.

Probable line-up: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Mason; Lamela, Son, Eriksen, Kane