The Magpies and the Lilywhites are enduring rather polarised fortunes this season. Spurs are knocking on the door of Champions League qualification and haven’t actually lost a league game since the opening day of the season. Newcastle, meanwhile, are in 18th place and have conceded the most goals of any Premier League side.
But Spurs have come off the boil in recent weeks, scoring just once amid draws with Chelsea and West Brom, whilst Newcastle’s survival bid received a massive boost last weekend with a shock 2-0 win over Liverpool.
So who will come out on top this Sunday? It could well come down to which side dominates the key individual battles. With that in mind, here are FIVE Football Fancast view as the most important.
Having scored six of his seven Premier League goals from the left wing – including a strike against Liverpool last weekend – versatile midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum looks set to line up in that role on Sunday, putting him directly against Tottenham Hotspur right-back Kyle Walker.
The England international boasts pace and power in abundance and has been in decent form this season, helping the Lilywhites record the second-best goals conceded record in the Premier League with 2.5 tackles, 3.1 interceptions and 2.9 clearances per match.
But Wijnaldum is a tactical and intelligent player, a typical Netherlands product, which is exactly where Walker lacks. The 25-year-old has drifted inside to great effect this season, regularly finding the net alongside two assists, and Walker must ensure he’s not outsmarted on Sunday.
Fabricio Coloccini showed remarkable improvements against Liverpool last weekend, playing a prominent role in Newcastle recording their third win and fourth clean sheet of the season, but the Magpies captain is still a weak link at the heart of defence.
Many of his performances have ranged between appalling and abysmal this season and despite boasting more than enough Premier League experience after nearly eight years at St. James’ Park, he’s struggled to provide the leadership and organisation Newcastle’s backline desperately needs.
Only a display parallel to the one against Liverpool will suffice on Sunday, when the 33-year-old faces one of the Premier League’s most potent goal threats in Harry Kane.
The England international is in the upper echelons of the division’s goal charts once again this season with eight in 15. Having not scored domestically for the last two weeks, the 6 foot 2 striker will be particularly keen to hit the net against the Magpies.
Papiss Cisse got the nod against Liverpool last Sunday and although he failed to find the net, he did hold up the ball and provide the Magpies with an outlet going forward – something they have abundantly lacked at times this season.
Likewise, the Senegal international has only recently returned to first team duties following a short spell out of the side so another start will do his confidence and his scoring touch a world of good. He’s provided the goals to keep Newcastle in the top flight before and the 30-year-old’s Premier League record isn’t actually that bad – 36 goals in 104 outings.
At White Hart Lane, however, Cisse will face one of the toughest challenges for any striker in the Premier League this season in the form of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
Having played together regularly at Ajax and with the Belgium national team, the Spurs centre-back duo have already developed an incredibly strong partnership with an almost telepathic understanding.
Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku and even Leicester City record-breaker Jamie Vardy have failed to score past them this season – so Cisse looks set for a tough afternoon.
Dele Alli’s importance to the Tottenham starting Xi appears to be growing by the game, evident enough through his point-grabbing strike against West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
The 19-year-old has been nothing short of phenomenal since arriving from MK Dons during the summer, recently excelling in the No.10 role, and is now a recurring fixture in Roy Hodgson’s plans for the England national team.
But with Euro 2016 now just around the corner, that could well inspire a higher level of performance from Newcastle’s Jack Colback on Sunday. He’ll line up directly against Alli as one of the Magpies’ two deep-lying midfielders and should relish the challenge of overshadowing a fellow home-grown talent far above him in the England pecking order.
The 25-year-old produced a strong display against Liverpool last weekend, recording two tackles, three interceptions, two clearances, one created chance and one successful dribble, and will need to recreate that at White Hart Lane.
Almost a carbon copy of the aforementioned Wijnaldum-Walker battle, the skirmish between Christian Eriksen and Daryl Janmaat on the opposite flank is another one to keep an eye out for.
The Dutch international likes to contribute on the overlap and has already found one goal and two assists from right-back this season, whilst averaging just shy of one created chance and one dribble per match – not too bad considering Newcastle’s current league position.
Janmaat’s defensive qualities, however, often leave a lot to be desired, which could spell huge trouble at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen is Spurs’ most dependable creative threat, claiming the most assists, five, and the most created chances per match, three, of any player in the Lilywhites squad this term, and he looks set to continue in the left wing berth this weekend.
If there’s one saving grace for Janmaat, however, it’s that right midfielder Moussa Sissoko will offer a fair amount of defensive protection in front of him.