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#FirstTeam #PremierLeague #PreMatch #Newcastle

Everything on... Newcastle United

All you need to know ahead of Saturday's game

Fri 10 August 2018, 14:17|Tottenham Hotspur

We get our 2018/19 Premier League campaign underway on Saturday at Newcastle United.

It’s the second season in a row where we’ve started out with a fixture at St James’ Park, with goals from Dele Alli and Ben Davies giving us a 2-0 win this time last year.

Here’s everything you need to know about our opening-weekend opponents...

Team news

Defender Florian Lejeune misses out for Newcastle after undergoing surgery on the knee injury he suffered in pre-season.

Manager Rafael Benítez could opt to hand debuts to Federico Fernández, Ki Sung-yueng, Fabian Schär, Yoshinori Mutō and Salomón Rondón, while on-loan Kenedy and goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka are also available for selection, with the latter having made the permanent switch to St James’ Park from Sparta Prague this summer.

One to watch

Powerful striker Salomón Rondón could make his Newcastle bow on Saturday after arriving this week on a season-long loan from West Bromwich Albion, with diminutive forward Dwight Gayle going the other way.

The 28-year-old Venezuelan international scored seven top flight goals for the relegated Baggies last season and has scored 28 times in 120 appearances for Albion overall since arriving from Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2015.

On target against us in the early moments of our 1-1 draw with West Brom at Wembley last November, he is known for holding the ball up and driving at goal, while he also developed a reputation for one-touch finishing in the box while with the Baggies.

Last five meetings

19 April, 2015 – Newcastle 1-3 Spurs – Premier League
13 December, 2015 – Spurs 1-2 Newcastle – Premier League
15 May, 2016 – Newcastle 5-1 Spurs – Premier League
13 August, 2017 – Newcastle 0-2 Spurs – Premier League
9 May, 2018 – Spurs 1-0 Newcastle – Premier League

Previous clash

We faced Newcastle in the penultimate game of last season in a notable outing for everyone of a Spurs persuasion.

Harry Kane’s 50th-minute strike gave us a 1-0 victory at Wembley on 9 May and made sure of our qualification for the Champions League for a third straight season with one game to spare. Jonjo Shelvey had earlier hit the post while Hugo Lloris denied Jamaal Lascelles, with Jacob Murphy later firing off-target for the Magpies.

Newcastle’s form

Rafael Bentiez’s side has found momentum difficult to come by on the pitch during pre-season. After an early 2-0 win at St Patrick’s Athletic and 2-2 draw at Hull City, the Magpies embarked on a training camp in Portugal, where they battled out a goalless draw with Porto on 28 July before suffering a 4-0 defeat at Braga three days later. They returned to St James’ Park last Saturday to take on German side FC Augsburg, but went down 1-0 thanks to Michael Gregoritsch’s second-half header.

Magic moment

Timothée Atouba struck a brilliant winner when we visited Newcastle in the second game of the 2004/05 season.

The Cameroon international cut in from the left side and curled across Magpies goalkeeper Shay Given on his right foot from just inside the area in the 51st minute of the game on 21 August, 2004, securing a 1-0 victory.

Timothée made 24 appearances over the course of that season before leaving for Hamburg in July, 2005.

Played for both

Flying right-back DeAndre Yedlin is now entering his third season as a Newcastle player, having previously played for Sunderland on loan from us in 2015/16. A USA international, DeAndre had impressed for the States at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and joined us from Seattle Sounders in January, 2015.

Named on the bench in the Premier League on a regular basis in the closing months of that campaign, he made his top flight debut as a substitute for Vlad Chiriches in a 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on April 11, 2015, in what turned out to be the only time he featured for our first team in a competitive fixture, although he did appear in overseas tour matches on a handful of occasions. So far, he’s played 66 times for Newcastle, scoring once.

Moussa Sissoko, meanwhile, joined us from the Magpies two years ago. A France international who can operate in a variety of midfield roles, he has made 81 appearances in our colours so far, scoring twice. He started for us in the equivalent fixture against Newcastle at the start of last season.

What they’re saying

Manager Rafael Bentiez said today (Friday): “The Premier League is so competitive, you have to fight. It will be difficult. The main thing for me now is to be sure I bring the best from our players. The way to do that is to focus on football. Now is the time to focus on Tottenham and this very difficult game. Every season, every game is different. Jonjo Shelvey (who was sent off in the equivalent game last season) is more mature.

"The players know we’re playing against a very good team and the key is to stay focused and have the right mindset from the first moment. The reality is that we have a team that did well last year. We are ready. I am quite excited and quite happy because I can see the players working hard and training as well as they did last year.”

Now is the time to focus on Tottenham and this very difficult game.

Rafael Benitez

Get kitted out

Pick up your new kit ahead of the new 2018/19 campaign