The last time these two sides faced off it was very much the thing of nightmares for Tottenham as they saw their hopes of securing second place in the title go up in smoke. That was because they were on the end of an embarrasing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Newcastle. A result which saw Arsenal leapfrog them on the final day.
To make matters worse Newcastle played a portion of that game with just 10 men after Alexsandar Mitrovic was sent off after something of an x-rated tackle. But even though they were a man short it made little difference as Mauricio Pochettino’s men were simply rank bad that afternoon.
As we know Tottenham dusted themselves off from that and ended up finishing second last season but all their efforts over the past two campaigns will count for nothing later today as they look to get off to the perfect start and erase the St James Park hoodoo of May 2016.
Their preparations for this game have not been ideal after the comments that Danny Rose made in the national press but with this apology accepted by Mauricio Pochettino on Friday the hope will be that this is all brushed under the carpet and the focus can be shifted to matters on the pitch.
Danny Rose will play no part in the game due to a long standing injury while Kieran Trippier also misses out due to knock he picked up against Juventus last week. Many feared the worst when he hobbled off of the Wembley pitch but thankfully it seems to be just a minor issue and he should be back by the end of the month.
Newcastle make their return to the top flight after winning the EFL Championship last season on the final day. Manager Rafa Benitez has had something of a frustrating summer in regards to the transfer window with many targets failing to be landed by the club.
The former Liverpool boss will point to the fact that the other promoted teams (Brighton and Huddersfield) have spent more money and if that is proves to be the case by the end of the month then a difficult task of keeping the club up is going to be made more difficult.
Benitez needs the backing of the owner Mike Ashley, something that has not been all that forthcoming at present. It seems like there is something of a tense atmosphere behind the scenes at Newcastle and if starts going sour early on in the season then the pressure will no doubt be on the man who masterminded Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League win.
There is also pressure on Mauricio Pochettino this season, albeit of a slightly different nature. The task in hand this time around is to make sure Tottenham can sustain themselves near the top of the Premier League, one that could prove to be a real challenge.
Much has been made of the fact that they are yet to sign a player this summer and that will ultimately be a real test of just how good this team and by extension squad is but other clubs have identified their weaknesses from last season and strengthened while Tottenham have at best stood still.
There is still time to fill out the squad before the end of the month and should that happen then the club will be in a good position to challenge on multiple fronts but Today will be the perfect opportunity to show everyone that they have not lost a step over the off season.
As for what will happen today, to be honest I’m not sure if it is opening weekend nerves or me just being pessimistic but I have a feeling this may be a frustrating afternoon. The Geordies are going to be up for this one after their return to the top flight and that 5-1 defeat from last year will still be prevalent.
I have a feeling that this one is going to end up being a draw, a point that will be better for the home side rather than the away one. I know that doesn’t make for great reading for Tottenham fans but for your sake and mine I hope my prediction is off the mark.
Here is what Twitter thinks will happen at St James Park this afternoon
Time for some more "Scientific Polls" now
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) August 12, 2017