Newcastle United will play host to Tottenham Hotspur at St. James’ Park on Sunday for Matchday 8 of the 2021-22 Premier League season. This will be the Magpies’ first game after the change in their ownership as they are now that football club in the world that has the richest owners. Their start to the season has been underwhelming, as they are yet to register a win and are second-last in the standings with just three points, only two ahead of bottom-placed Norwich City.

Under Nuno Espirito Santo, Spurs had a brilliant start to the season, winning their first three games and claiming the top spot in the league. But since then, their form completely flipped, as they lost three of their next four games. They are now eighth in the standings with 12 points from their seven games.

Premier League Preview - Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur - the stats

Steve Bruce’s men have had a record early in the season which he won’t be proud of. His team have managed to take a total of 84 shots, hitting the target 27 times and scoring eight goals. The major problem for the Magpies is their defence as they have only scored eight goals in the first seven games, and have generated an xG of 10.23 in the Premier League.

On the other hand, Nuno Espirito  Santo’s Spurs had a great start to the season, but have seen deterioration in their form. His side have hit the target on 33 occasions, but have not been clinical enough, scoring just six goals in seven games while conceding ten. They have the fourth-lowest xG in the league with 8.1 and have even managed to underachieve the ow xG with just six goals to their names.

Premier League Preview - Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur - the stats

The above viz shows the number of positional attacks generated by the Premier League teams in the first seven games. Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United have the fourth and third lowest number of attacks created in the league, which is only better than bottom-placed Norwich City and Brentford. This goes to show that the match between the two teams on Sunday will ve an exciting one, and we can hope to see multiple goals as well.

Premier League Preview - Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur - the stats

The above viz shows the number of successful crosses put into the box by each team. One can notice that both Newcastle and Spurs play very different styles, as Tottenham have put in just 18 crosses in seven games, which is the second-lowest, while The Magpies have put in 33 with only a few teams having more crosses than them. It will be interesting to see which manager’s approach to attack will be successful when they face off.

For Tottenham Hotspur, the major problem they have been facing is the attack, as they have just scored six goals in their first seven games. Only Arsenal(5), Burnley(5), Southampton(5) and Norwich City(2) have scored fewer goals than Spurs. If Nuno wants this Spurs team to challenge for a top-four spot they will have to improve their attacking abilities. The pragmatic style of defending for most of the game and waiting for the right opportunity to counter-attack and score seemed to work for them in the opening three weeks when they came out with three 1-0 wins. but after that, they lost their next three games and are now again in trouble.

Premier League Preview - Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur - the stats

The above viz shows the PPDA(passes per defensive action) values of the 20 Premier League teams. PPDA value is the average number of passes the opponents are able to make before the team puts in a defensive action. For example, Tottenham hotspurs have a PPDA value of 12.10, which means that on average, after the opponent completes 12 passes, the Spurs players are able to put in some defensive actions. The viz shows that the Magpies have the second-worst PPDA value in the league with 16.84, with only Norwich city having a worse rating.

All the above stats show that it will be an interesting game at St. James’ Park. Newcastle United are a team, who allow the opposition to make a lot of passes before putting in any defensive actions. On the other hand, till now, Spurs have been allowing their opponents to keep the ball and are always looking to break on the counter. It will be interesting to see, which team keeps more of the ball and which team has to defend more.

Newcastle United’s Predicted Starting Eleven(4-3-3): GK: Karl Darlow, LB: Matt Richie, CBs: Federico Fernandez and Jamaal Lascelles, RB: Javier Manquilo, LM: Isaac Hayden, CM: Jonjo Shelvey, RM: Joe Willock, LW: Allan Saint-Maxim, ST: Callum Wilson, RW: Joelinton.

(Injuries: Dubravka, Almiron and Dummett)

Tottenham Hotspur’s Predicted Starting Eleven(4-2-3-1): GK: Hugo Lloris, LB: Sergio Reguilon, CBs: Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez, RB: Japhet Tanganga, CDMs: Oliver Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, LAM: Dele Alli, CAM: Tanguy Ndombele, RAM: Lucas Moura, ST: Harry Kane.

(Injuries:Ben Davies, Romero, Emerson, Lo Celso, Doherty, Sessegnon, Bergwijn; Doubtful: Heung-Min Son )