Premier League: How Tottenham Hotspur Will Line Up Against Newcastle United

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2013

Who will have more to shout about on Sunday out of Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Andre Villas-Boas?
Who will have more to shout about on Sunday out of Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Andre Villas-Boas?Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

With Europa League progress confirmed by Thursday's win over Sheriff Tiraspol, Tottenham Hotspur's attentions now turn back to the Premier League in their final match before the international break.

Providing the opposition at White Hart Lane on Sunday are a Newcastle United side coming off the high of a well-earned 2-0 win over Chelsea last weekend.

It was a display Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas and his coaching staff will undoubtedly have been poring over this week. The Magpies defended stoutly while still finding ways to get forward, with Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy taking advantage of the lacklustre Blues on two of those occasions.

Hugo Lloris will be back in goal for Spurs having avoided any serious injury against Everton last week.
Hugo Lloris will be back in goal for Spurs having avoided any serious injury against Everton last week.Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Villas-Boas will be confident his own in-form defense has enough to resist Newcastle's French-centric attack. More concerning might be the likelihood of the visitors setting up like they did against Chelsea, a potentially daunting possibility for a Spurs side battling against inconsistency in front of goal.

Publicly, at least, the manager was not so forthcoming with predictions of how Alan Pardew's team will set up, telling Sky Sports, "I'm not sure what their strategy will be, Newcastle have a great team full of gifted, technical players so I expect them to play against us."

Newcastle will have to do without the the level of support they received last week at St James's Park—which was an undoubted boost to their efforts to keep out Chelsea. Conversely, Spurs will hope to count upon plenty of encouragement going forward from their own fans who have responded well to their manager's criticism last month.

Hugo Lloris will be among those in the starting lineup hoping to receive such backing from the supporters.

The decision not to withdraw the goalkeeper during last week's 0-0 draw with Everton after he had gone down having suffered a blow to the head led to a storm of public opinion over player safety in such situations.

That will be of little concern to Lloris, who, having been rested for the Sheriff match, will return in goal with a clean bill of health.

One player not expected to join him back in the team will be Danny Rose. Spurs have not put a date on the full-back's return, though has him returning to fitness around the time of the Manchester City game on November 24.

Rose's deputy at left-back is not so uncertain. Earlier this week Villas-Boas confirmed—here via Sky Sports—that Jan Vertonghen will continue to fill in. Having not conceded in their last three league games, Kyle Walker, Vlad Chiriches and captain Michael Dawson will join the Belgian in defense.

At the time of writing it had not been confirmed by Tottenham, but BBC Sport definitively had Sandro out for Sunday's game after he suffered a hamstring injury versus Everton.

Newcastle might be a game too soon for Etienne Capoue following his own return from injury, meaning the pair of Mousa Dembele and Paulinho will almost certainly play in central midfield.

With Roberto Soldado likely to continue as Spurs' lone striker, it is who will attempt to provide him chances from attacking midfield that remains the biggest source of debate.

Erik Lamela will be hoping for his first Premier League start following his strong showing versus Sheriff. Villas-Boas spoke glowingly to of the Argentinian's work ethic of late:

Having been rested for the European game, similar recent thinking heading into league games off the back of extra-curricular outings would suggest wingers Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend will start versus Newcastle.

That's likely to be the case again, but don't be surprised if Lamela gets the nod over Lennon as a reward for his developing form.

While Christian Eriksen fleetingly shone against Sheriff, Lewis Holtby should return in his place, offering as he does the versatility to move between a more attacking role and a central midfield one.

Villas-Boas will want to favour an attacking approach, but will know players like Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko cannot be allowed too much room to breathe.

Sitting in fourth place heading into the weekend, Tottenham will be keen to at least cement that spot as the Premier League breaks for the latest round of international fixtures. After they were beaten 3-0 by West Ham United in a similar situation last month, they will not for a second be overlooking Newcastle.