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:

Spurs win 1/6Draw 7/1Newcastle win 18/1

Perez to score the first goal 15/1NUFC to win 1-0 50/1Moussa Sissoko to be man of the match 13/1

All Tottenham v Newcastle betting HERE

  • Philippines

    Let’s hope he is wrong. That 50:1 bet for NU to win by 1-0 looks a good deal.

    • porciestreet

      No-ones taken into account that Ali will go doon like a sack of tatties so there’s 1-0.

  • GC

    What’s with this Wembley thing? Its not as if Prince Phil will be there with a big shiny trophy for us. And its an insipid, half empty waste of money that has none of the affection of the original one. Lads, its a pitch of grass, just like the others, do your stuff.

    • porciestreet

      Great sentiment…!

    • Leazes.

      The chronicle’s angle on it is bizarrely…… ‘It’s like a cup final’

      • GC

        Is it Chron? I hope that Rafa has hired some suits and alerted the Royal Family.

      • GC

        They’re correct, all players will get a cup. A stupidly big coffee cup from you know who

      • FatParosite

        The Comical is a venal rag of gob$hites clambering for pieces of silver.

  • ghostrider

    We have the same size squad as everyone else.

    • Wor Lass

      In terms of PL quality, we have a very small squad. Even our “first 11” has one or two that are lacking, never mind the rest of the squad. Therefore, it`s difficult for Rafa to change the line-up without weakening the team. Now, explain to me why I`m wrong ..

      • ghostrider

        A team is played on tactics. Horses for courses.
        If the players are tired using one format then change that format with other players who can play it and see what happens.
        99% of teams will be weakened by adding too many squad players…not just ours, but it doesn’t mean we won’t get a result, however unlikely people think it is.

        And also, if players aren’t up for it then the question has to be….why?
        Tiredness is not a valid reason when you consider that most of the players have been rested and been injured at times.

        If they can’t be motivated for the last handful of games then the manager needs to be questioned as to why.

        Only the elite teams have a squad of quality they can use that is strong enough to compete in a similar vein as the rest of the full strength lower prem teams outside of them.

        So it’s not like we’re in some kind of lone boat…we are in the same boat as at least 11 others.

        Go and take a look at Burnley in 7th and see what happens when they try to change it up using their squad.

        The mere fact that anyone can say it wouldn’t be prem quality doesn’t actually make any real point when they’re already playing in it and have been part of it throughout the season.

        • Wor Lass

          Thanks for that – it`s set my mind at ease.

          • ghostrider

            Glad to help.

  • Dillon Tovak

    I can understand the players are probably mentally fatigued after a gruelling season of digging deep. But the drop off after safety was assured is a sure sign, not that we need one, that we need serious investment in the team.
    The players can’t be that stretched again next year.

  • mentalman

    Manquillo put more decent crosses in at the weekend than Yedlin

  • Weyhhadaway

    They can’t get motivated because of fatigue? we have played the least amount of football possible, so that is out. It is the fat that some of them are leaving this summer and they know it. They should be motivated over the potential loss of tens of thousands in bonus payments for our league position. That just fuels the overpaid comments and I find it difficult to disagree on that one.

    • Coach Clagnut

      They should also be playing for individual pride especially if they know they’re leaving. You’re only as good as your last game and if you need to get noticed you need to play 100%, no excuses.

  • Coach Clagnut

    Seeing as we have a major say in qualification for European Cup places it would be a gross dereliction of duty on the players part if they decide to take the day off.
    There is a lot of speculation implying Rafa will help Liverpool at the expense of Chelsea if we need to beat them in order for Liverpool to finish top 4.
    If the players can’t see the importance of turning up against Spuds and putting an honourable display in we’ll have accusations aplenty of lying down and having our bellies tickled. Plus, we owe them one big time. Especially Kane & Ali

    These last 2 games are, arguably, as important as any we’ve played this season.

    • FatParosite

      Good luck getting that across to a team in flip-flops