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Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino has said he is happy with his squad despite the club not making any signings in the summer transfer window

TEAM NEWS

Newcastle defender Florian Lejeune has had surgery on the knee injury he suffered in pre season and will be a long-term absentee.

New signings Yoshinori Muto and Salomon Rondon are available for selection.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has said he will decide after training on Friday which of his players who played at the World Cup will be available.

Juan Foyth, Erik Lamela, Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks are all absent because of injuries.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

@SimonBrotherton

Two clubs frustrated while others enjoyed a summer spending spree meet in a repeat of last season’s opening fixture.

Tottenham are the first Premier League club not to sign anyone in the summer window since the current system was adopted in 2003.

Their hardball policy over potential signing Jack Grealish ultimately backfired and Mauricio Pochettino is left hoping the same players can secure a top-three finish for the fourth year running.

Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez didn’t get the financial backing he was hoping for which led to several players arriving on Tyneside for modest sums and leaves the fan base underwhelmed at the prospects for progress. Owner Mike Ashley’s biggest signing was House of Fraser and that came after the deadline.

VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez: “Our target first has to be to survive because we did so well last year.

“The reality is that if we do what we did last year with commitment and togetherness, we can be a lot higher than 17th. How high? I don’t know yet.”

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: “Of course, it’s difficult to understand for people that Tottenham didn’t sign or sell players, but sometimes in football you need to behave differently.

“If we are happy with our squad and cannot improve our squad, sometimes it’s better to keep our squad together.

“We believe a lot in our players and why not repeat a similar season like last year or the season before, and with more experience? We are going to be better – no doubt about that.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

This is a big season for Spurs with their move into their new ground, but I am not sure about how it will go for them.

Newcastle have had a difficult summer, with their fans and the manager Rafa Benitez questioning the level of investment in the team.

Prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s full predictions v Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas

Tottenham’s Harry Kane has never scored a Premier League goal in the month of August, despite playing 13 games, 898 minutes and having 44 shots

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • This will be the fourth time Newcastle and Tottenham have played each other on the opening weekend of a Premier League season, the most in the competition’s history.
  • The Magpies lost both league games against Spurs last season and failed to score in either match – the last time they lost three in a row against Tottenham without scoring was in 2005.
  • Spurs have only failed to score in one of their last 25 Premier League matches against the Magpies – a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane in November 2013.

Newcastle United

  • Newcastle’s solitary home defeat in eight Premier League games this year came against West Brom in April. They have beaten Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in 2018.
  • Their last win on the opening day of a Premier League season came against Tottenham in August 2012.
  • Last season’s 10th-placed finish was the highest by a newly-promoted club since West Ham managed the same position in 2012-13.
  • The Magpies began 2017-18 with three defeats in all competitions for the first time in 18 years.

Tottenham Hotspur

  • Tottenham are playing their opening match of the season away from home for the eighth consecutive year. In English top-flight history, only Burnley have ever had a longer run, playing nine opening games away between 1888 and 1896.
  • Spurs have lost 10 of their season-opening Premier League fixtures. Only West Ham have a worse record.
  • Mauricio Pochettino’s side have earned 40 points so far in 2018, second only to Manchester City’s 41.
  • Their sole defeat in nine away games in the league in 2018 came at West Brom in May.
  • Tottenham won 10 away matches in the Premier League last season for only the third time.
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