Mark Lawrenson has been having his say on Newcastle United as the season draws to a close.
For once, I can’t really disagree with what he has to say.
Fair to say that a few weeks ago Newcastle fans didn’t want the season to end after four straight wins.
Now we are like the desperate marathon runner in the very final stages of his/her race, who is struggling to even realise which direction to head in for the finishing line.
Mark Lawrenson sums it up well, saying ‘Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez does not have enough players to seriously change his team, and their attitude.’
The manager has such a small squad, lacking real widespread quality, meaning there are no positive changes that can be made.
Giving Murphy and Manquillo a chance whilst giving Yedlin and Ritchie a shift off, helped create the shambles that was the first half at Watford.
On that big pitch at Wembley, it isn’t difficult to imagine a very painful 90 minutes.
Spurs haven’t totally embraced the national stadium as a great home venue but have certainly improved, only Chelsea and Man City have won there in the Premier League this season, though Newcastle can take some heart from the likes of Burnley, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham, all grabbing a draw.
The two big questions for Newcastle I guess will be whether the defence can bounce back to their best form, plus then whether the team can recreate in any way the ‘intensity’ and ‘focus’ that Rafa feels has been missing in these three defeats.
Mark Lawrenson praises West Brom for their performance at the Hawthorns on Saturday, describing ‘playing like they were the away team’ as ‘cute’.
Spurs had 74% possession and West Brom had their only effort on target in the 92nd minute, yet the Baggies won the game.
Lawrenson is like all other pundits/experts, if a ‘smaller’ club gets a positive result by playing a very tight game and trying to counter attack from deep, then it is the work of genius. However, when it doesn’t pay off then it was obviously the wrong thing to do.
As well as the defensive aspect and workrate, I guess that for Newcastle to stand a chance of getting anything from the match, they will also need payers with pace to have inspired games, which neither Kenedy or Gayle have looked capable of recently.
As you can see below, the bookies make Newcastle a massive 18/1 to win, which three weeks ago would have looked a crazy price considering Newcastle’s form at the time.
Can they reproduce the form of that last win, when Newcastle beat Arsenal 2-1? Tottenham are now nervously looking at the possibility of missing out on the Champions League next season, so if Newcastle do have anything about them tomorrow night, they could prove both Mark Lawrenson and most of us wrong.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“West Brom were really cute with their approach in their win over Tottenham on Saturday.
“The Baggies played as if they were the away team and gave Spurs no space whatsoever, either to run in behind or in midfield.
“As much as Newcastle will want to do the same, I don’t think they will have the mind-set to pull it off.
“They were pretty insipid in the first half of their defeat by Watford at the weekend and Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez does not have enough players to seriously change his team, and their attitude.
“The Magpies’ target was safety this season.
“They have achieved what they needed to do and they are almost in holiday mode now.
“Prediction is Tottenham 3 Newcastle 0.”
Tottenham v Newcastle v Match Betting:
All Tottenham v Newcastle betting HERE