Newcastle United head to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday afternoon for the 4.30pm kick off live on SKY Sports hoping to arrest a run of two defeats after that impressive nine-match unbeaten run was ended by the "12 men" of Chelsea according to Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden, who accepted a £19,000 fine from The FA this week for the controversial Tweet in the wake of a cruel 1-0 loss at Stamford Bridge.
That was Newcastle's last trip to London where Eddie Howe's men deserved a victory against World Cup and European Champions, Chelsea, yet were robbed by two pieces of horrendous officiating when Kai Havertz was not sent off for elbowing, bloodying and leaving a scar on Magpies' Player of the Month Dan Burn &, criminally, Jacob Murphy didn't receive a penalty kick after being hauled to the ground by Trevoh Chalobah.
The Magpies then went to Goodison Park four days later to play Everton and lost 1-0 despite seeing Everton go down to 10 men for this foul on Allan Saint-Maximin by Allan, who was sent off for serious foul play after a dangerous challenge:
It was a game full of controversy with Newcastle's unofficial motto Expect the Unexpected coming into play when a protestor ran onto the pitch and tied himself to the post with the words Just Stop Oil on his shirt delaying the match by 15 minutes as bolt-cutters were found to release him from the post before the game could restart.
Yet credit to Everton who were fighting for their lives and took full advantage of Newcastle's lack of a finishing touch and some lackadaisical defending that may open a recall for Captain Jamaal Lascelles for what could prove a crucial three points.
Since that game, Newcastle have been on a warm weather training camp in Dubai refreshing themselves before the final nine-game run-in of the season and won a friendly against ex Toon defender Steven Taylor-managed Gulf United 5-0 with braces from Dwight Gayle and Allan Saint-Maximum and a fifth goal from Joelinton:
Newcastle's international stars were away with their respective countries with Bruno Guimaraes scoring his first goal for Brazil on his sixth appearance, a emphatic volley into the top corner of the net in the rarefied atmosphere of Bolivia's La Paz arena:
although Fabian Schar missed Switzerland's game against England with injury and is a potential doubt for Sunday's game at Spurs while Emil Krafth dazzled for Sweden with a memorable Maradona trick that made the Twitter highlights reel yet he was unable to prevent his country from falling to a 2-0 loss that means they'll miss The World Cup:
Krafth's Swedish compatriot Dejan Kulusevski has been a bright spark at Spurs since making a January switch to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and will need to be marked although a nasty collision in the Czech Republic win left him with nasty facial bruising which may have explained his lack of real impact in that 2-0 loss to Poland:
Spurs' 2022 form has been maddeningly inconsistent to new manager Antonio Conte, with solid wins against West Ham 3-1 and 5-0 win over Everton at home contrasting with defeats off Middlesborough in The FA Cup and losses to Burnley and Southampton leaving the Italian bewildered and even on the point of a premature exit from the club after losing a fourth games in five in February:
Yet the experienced, successful boss, who won The Premier League with Chelsea and Serie A with both Juventus and Internazionale, has managed to return Harry Kane to his best form and masterminded an excellent win at Man City to set Spurs back on course for Europe with four wins out of their last five:
England Captain Kane scored against Switzerland to become the joint second all-time highest scorer for his country after Wayne Rooney alongside Jimmy Greaves and remains a talismanic figure for Tottenham despite his attempt to transfer to The Etihad to join Pep Guardiola last summer and there is even speculation linking him with a move to newly-minted Newcastle to spearhead the Saudi revolution this close season:
Eddie Howe's big tactical dilemma ahead of the Spurs game is whether to play five at the back like he did at Chelsea and should have emerged with a victory or point or play the four which has enjoyed much success against the lesser teams of The Premier League as Newcastle soared from 19th in the table to the present 14th spot.
In his pre-match presser, the Newcastle manager, a master tactician, spoke of his delight at The Premier League's new ruling to allow five substitutes next season:
and paid tribute to New Zealand striker Chris Wood who became his country's all-time top goalscorer during the international break:
Teamwise, he cautiously welcomed Allan Saint-Maximum, JonJo Shelvey and Fabian Schar back from injuries and knocks that made them recent doubts for the game and bigged up The Saint who has been ludicrously criticized by fans with short memories:
Howe reminded his squad and Newcastle fans that the club are still in a relegation battle in his opinion and need to grind out a few more points and wins before the preparations for next season can truly begin in earnest:
A win at Tottenham which Newcastle are more than capable of will go a long way to securing perhaps the brightest future the club has ever had.
Prediction - Newcastle 2 Spurs 1