One. Last. Push.

How things have changed, eh? Had United gone into a 2-week international break having lost two on the spin – the last of which was to the 10 men of a team in freefall – under the previous regime, the narrative around Newcastle United would have been beyond toxic.

Instead, the past 2 weeks have seen fans calm, relaxed and even confident that when we finally return from this enforced sabbatical we will once again be ready to continue in the upwardly mobile vein that had seen us go from relegation certainties at Christmas, to now being 7th favourites (33/1) for the drop.

The bookies are rarely wrong, and personally I have long since parked any fears that we will kick off the 2022-23 season in the Premier League graveyard that is the Championship.

Whilst we’ve all missed our fix of meaningful football, I’d suggest that the 2-week break came at a great time for us. It has given Eddie Howe the opportunity to have another 2 weeks away with his squad during which he and his backroom team will have sought to improve and drill the players from both a tactical and fitness point of view, whilst also allowing some of the players who were struggling with niggling injuries some much needed recovery time.

For the first time in over 3 years, I am in no doubt that Newcastle United will come back from an international break primed and ready – as opposed to being shambolically undercooked – for what lies ahead.

They will need to be, because whilst Spurs are currently the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of the Premier League, there is every possibility that the Dr Jekyll version of Conte’s side – the one that turned over Manchester City – will be the one that we face on Sunday afternoon.

As a result, Eddie Howe will have some big decisions before the game. Does he bring back a fit again Jonjo and do the unthinkable and drop Bruno? Does he unleash a reportedly fit and hungry ASM in place of the less threatening but more defensively minded Murphy?

To be honest, I’m glad it’s him making those decisions and not me, but whatever line up he goes with at 3:30pm on Sunday, I have total confidence that it will give us the best opportunity to remain undefeated at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Dangerman: Son. With so much of our defensive focus being on Kane, I worry that Son may flourish.

Prediction: 1-1, with United showing viewing public that our Goodison abomination was merely a fatigue driven blip.

Lee Forster @LeeDForster

Finally…

Sunday sees us finally get back playing football again as we end the marathon run of away trips with a tough game at Tottenham.

It’s very rare we go to a ground where we haven’t lost yet, but the Tottenham stadium has weirdly suited us nicely thanks very much, since it opened its swanky doors in 2019.

Tottenham must quake in their boots every time the Moor Dale bus (might not be them anymore) turns up. Christ, even Joelinton scored against them while he was a striker.

Last season (for which I had to check as I just couldn’t remember it) we got battered but still got a point with a 97th minute penalty after a VAR – this was of course in the days when we used to get dominated then get a lucky equaliser under our former maestro.

This time out I’m pretty relaxed about it again. I was worried about Everton going into the game, but having seen Tottenham numerous times fail to back up a result with another one, I see nothing here to be scared of. Tottenham should be got at and get them to do all the worrying.

Defeat here isn’t inevitable, but even if it does happen, the fixtures for the other teams are rock solid and ours look timid in comparison.

We start the last part of the season now and for us to be looking at two or, at most, three wins to seal safety, after everything that’s gone on this season, we can be relaxed and not look at anyone else’s results but our own. Schär and Dúbravka missing the internationals may mean a switch around which won’t be ideal, but it’s not Brazil 1970 here, which some people are mistaking Tottenham for.

I think we might take an early lead but be dragged back by a penalty then have to defend like hell to take a point. That would be satisfying.

Scott Robson 

And we’re back… 

Finally, this international break is at last coming to an end. We had two really tough results to swallow just before the break, and especially the last one away at hopeless Everton was hard to fathom.

Now we’re back to another game away from home against a side we really have no right to expect anything from. Tottenham Hotspur are a much better side, a Champions League chasing team. However, our recent record away to Spurs is not that bad, having not been beaten there since February 2019. I’d like to mention the fact that I was present as the Magpies beat Spurs 2-1 in December 2015. At that time Spurs were 14 games unbeaten and making a title push. It was also NUFC’s third consecutive win at the old White Hart Lane. My point is, we’ve beaten these with the odds against us before.

Spurs are in decent form, but they have also shown everyone an amazing ability to get beaten by poorer sides, like Burnley. Unfortunately, it seems like Harry Kane has found his way back to his old goalscoring form, so that’s a real threat.

They are, however, lacking a bit when it comes to creativity from midfield, having got rid of Erik Lamela, Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele and Gio Lo Celso. Spurs really struggle to break down teams sitting deep and defending.

We need to exploit those weaknesses. I’m not saying park the bus, but we can’t go there and play the way Frank Lampard set up Everton a few weeks ago (lost 5-0). Thankfully, Eddie Howe is a better manager than Frank will ever be, and he’s thought about these things much more than I have.

I can’t wait to see Bruno back for the Toon. The guy can’t do anything wrong at the moment. I’m also hoping to see ASM back to his old form again, giving us his creative power.

This is not another “must win” match, it’s just a chance for us to look back up the table, and to come even closer to theoretically not being able to be relegated. 

Prediction: 1-1 draw. Bruno to score again. 

Danger man: Harry Kane. Just put a man on him for the entire game. 

Come on the toon! 

@localhero85

Finally proper football has returned! We can stop talking about the waste of time that is international breaks and get onto the serious stuff. With the end of the season fast approaching, Sunday will see Newcastle travel to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium to face….Tottenham Hotspur in what is their fourth away fixture in a row.

It seems like a lifetime since the Magpies succumbed to Frank Lampard’s Everton at Goodison Park which marked two defeats in a row for the northeast side. Things could be worse for Eddie Howe’s side, though, despite the narrow defeats Newcastle are relatively comfortable in 14th place with a nine-point buffer. Antonio Conte’s side on the other hand managed to easily overcome West Ham and rise to fifth place in the table before the international break. They are now just within three points of their north London rivals Arsenal who occupy fourth position.

Before defeats to Chelsea & Everton, Newcastle embarked on a nine-game unbeaten run which saw them propel themselves out of the relegation zone. Out of their last 11 Premier League outings, the Magpies have only conceded eight goals. The hosts on the other side have had a turnaround themselves, before this run of four wins out of five (one draw), they suffered four losses out of five (winning one) before that. Spurs have scored at least twice in their last five games, last doing so in more consecutive league fixtures between February and April 2017 (seven).

Tottenham Team News:Japhet Tanganga will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery for his knee injury. Oliver Skipp is edging closer to recovery from his groin injury but Sundays visit of Newcastle could be slightly too soon for his return. Ryan Sessegnon will miss out with a thigh injury. Ben Davies is in line to return to the squad on Sunday after he had to pull out of international duty with Wales.

Newcastle Team News:Fabian Schär and Martin Dúbravka are expected to be fit for the visit to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, Jonjo Shelvey has recovered from his bad bout of illness and should play some part in Sunday’s fixture. Allan Saint-Maximin is back and ready to prove his doubters wrong by giving good performances during the final nine fixtures of the campaign.

Sutty’s Match Prediction:The last time Newcastle went away on a training camp during the season they went on to record quite a good run of results and turned their fortunes around. Whether this has the same effect or not will be seen over the coming weeks. A sold out away section will once more be rousing their boys to cause an upset down in Landan and, when Eddie’s mags are firing on full cylinders, they can beat anyone. Call me crazy but I am fully backing Newcastle to come back home with the three points on Sunday evening. After all, this is Newcastle United we are talking about and anything can happen in this league. My Score Prediction Tottenham Hotspur 0 Newcastle United 1. Howay the lads!!!

@jsuttonwrites