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Spurs primed to add to Newcastle's tough start

TV: Sky Sports Premier League/Main Event, 4.30pm Sunday

Early evidence suggests it is going to be a long, hard season for Newcastle and things could become even tougher for Steve Bruce's men with a third successive Premier League defeat at Tottenham.

A limp 1-0 loss at home to Arsenal, where the Magpies mustered just two shots on target, was followed by a 3-1 defeat at top-flight new boys Norwich, who restricted the Geordies to just four efforts on goal.

It is, therefore, no surprise to see Newcastle supporters already criticising Bruce’s tedious tactics, with a lack of chances being created their obvious concern.

Club-record signing Joelinton, picked up for £40 million from Hoffenheim in July, has been isolated up front, with attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron unable to offer his support and yet to show he is made for life in the Premier League having joined from MLS outfit Atlanta in the January transfer window.

Almiron has not yet scored or assisted in 12 league games and his central role has come under scrutiny from fans.

Bruce may consider a more attacking approach but with Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle both still injured, his options are limited and in the short term it is difficult to see where things can be changed.

Young French winger Allan Saint-Maximin may get an opportunity to show his worth but it is a big ask for him to make his mark against one of the Premier League’s strongest outfits.

Bruce will be wary of the dangers of trying to go toe-to-toe with Spurs, so has little choice but to try to keep things tight and stay in the contest for as long as possible.

Tottenham have conceded three goals in their opening two games – they won 3-1 at home to Aston Villa and played out a 2-2 draw at champions Manchester City – but their defence should have less to worry about in this clash.

Heung-Min Son returns from suspension to bolster Tottenham’s firepower up front and as he links up with Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, Mauricio Pochettino’s men should be too classy for their feeble visitors.

But Spurs took time to get the better of Aston Villa, who sat deep and invited pressure and things could pan out in similar fashion against struggling Newcastle.

Spurs took until the 73rd minute to breach Villa’s defence before Kane got them out of jail with a quick-fire brace to steal all three points.

The best bet may be for the second half to feature more goals than the first.

Newcastle held out until 58 minutes in the 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal and they were 1-0 down at half-time in the 3-1 reverse at Norwich before the game sparked into life.

Spurs should win but it may not be easy on the eye.

Recommendation
Second half to be higher-scoring

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Match in Focus

19:30 TODAY BT3

Wolfsburg v Hoffenheim

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Wolfsburg have kept one clean sheet in their last eight home Bundesliga matches
Expert verdict
Hoffenheim have made a poor start to the Bundesliga season under new coach Alfred Schreuder and have failed to score in three of their opening four games but could still threaten on their trip to Wolfsburg, who have lost just one of their last 13 home matches but kept only one clean sheet in their last eight games on their own patch. Wolfsburg should justify favouritism as Wout Weghorst and Josip Brekalo have both hit the ground running but Hoffenheim scored in all 17 away games last term.