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    Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

    By Tom Regan

    Newcastle United host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon, with only pride to play for as they prepare themselves for life in the Championship.
    Rafa Benitez arrived at St James’ Park with the Magpies in a precarious position following Steve McClaren’s sacking. The Spaniard had 10 Premier League games to save Newcastle from relegation, but he has failed to fulfil his objective.

    On Wednesday night, the North-East club dropped into the Championship for the second time in seven years. To rub salt in the wound, it was their local rivals Sunderland who hammered the final nail in the coffin as they comprehensively beat Everton 3-0 at the Stadium of Light.
    There were some small signs of improvement under the guidance of Benitez, but the former Liverpool boss has won just two out of his nine games to date, drawing four and losing on three occasions.

    The big question now is whether or not Benitez will stay on as manager. The Spaniard has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave the club if they got relegated.
    There will be a hint of disappointment in the air among Spurs fans as the club failed to secure their first league title in over 50 years. Mauricio Pochettino’s side pushed Leicester City hard, but the bad-tempered 2-2 draw at Chelsea handed Claudio Ranieri’s side their first ever Premier League title.

    At the start of the season, the north Londoners would have been delighted with a top-four finish. They can’t finish any lower than third which means they will automatically go straight into the group stages of the Champions League.
    Despite missing out on the title, the Lilywhites have impressed this season. They are the second-highest scorers in the league with 68 goals, just two less than Manchester City’s total. Tottenham also boast the strongest defence in the division having conceded just 30 goals.

    The future is bright for Spurs. They will be playing in their brand new 61,000-seater stadium in 2018, but most importantly, they have tied down their outstanding manager to a new long-term contract.
    Team News

    Benitez is likely to stick with the same XI that he has started in the last couple of fixtures, which could see Fabricio Coloccini miss out in Newcastle’s final Premier League Game.
    Rob Elliot, Tim Krul and Massadio Haidara are all long-term absentees due to knee injuries.

    Pochettino will be without the suspended Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli. Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld will miss out due to injuries.
    Ryan Mason is likely to retain his place in the starting XI after stepping in for Dembele against Southampton last weekend. Harry Kane will be hoping to finish the season as the Premier League’s top goalscorer. The prolific England striker is on 25 goals for the campaign, just one more than Leicester’s Jamie Vardy.

    Head To Head
    The Magpies have suffered just one defeat in their last eight league games at St James’ Park, however, in their last five meetings with the north Londoners at home, they have won just once, losing two and drawing two.

    In terms of goals, the Lilywhites enjoy playing against Newcastle as they have only failed to score in one of their last 22 league matches against the North-East outfit.
    Earlier this season, Newcastle earned a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at White Hart Lane, with Ayoze Perez scoring the winner in the 58th minute.

    Betting Odds (bet365)
    Newcastle: 10/3
    Draw: 3/1
    Tottenham: 5/6

    Match Prediction
    Despite being relegated, the Toon Army will be determined to cheer their side to victory in their final Premier League game of the season, but with nothing to play for, it is hard to see the players wanting to put in much of a shift.

    Tottenham will play for the win, but a point will ensure a finish above bitter rivals Arsenal for the first time in 21 years. The visitors are the second-highest scorers in the Premier League and despite some key players missing, they have more than enough quality to seal victory at St James’ Park. For me, comfortable away win for Spurs.
    Newcastle United 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (9/1 with bet365)
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    Item Reviewed: Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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