Tottenham Hotspur vs Newcastle United: Five Key Battles

Gareth Bale

Plenty has changed at both Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United since they met on the opening day of the season, but you would expect Saturday's match to be just as tight as Newcastle's 2-1 win at St James' Park.

Here is a run-down of the key battles...

Emmanuel Adebayor vs Fabricio Coloccini

The Togolese forward is likely to be parachuted straight into the first team despite only recently returning from the African Cup of Nations, with Jermain Defoe's injury meaning that Spurs have no other senior striker else to call on. Coloccini's decision to stay at Newcastle for the rest of the season was another boost in an excellent January for the Magpies, and he will line up at the heart of the defence looking to stop Adebayor holding up the ball for Spurs’ battalion of attacking midfielders.

Gareth Bale vs Mathieu Debuchy

Bale is in fantastic form at the moment, although it is interesting that most of his goals are coming away from home. Newcastle will look to give Debuchy plenty of support in blocking Bale on the left wing, but the full back will also have to be in constant communication with the rest of the back four when Bale cuts infield. If Bale is given space anywhere in the final third, he has shown time and time again that he can be lethal.

Jan Vertonghen vs Papiss Cisse

The towering Belgian has become a firm favourite at White Hart Lane already, and Spurs fans will be hoping to see him line up in the centre of defence for many years to come. He will be facing an increasingly confident Papiss Cisse, who has upped his game since Demba Ba's departure. Stopping Cisse from linking with Newcastle's midfield and wingers is vital to curbing their threat, and Vertonghen will have to marshal the Senegalese striker carefully.

Scott Parker vs Moussa Sissoko

Parker has recently come into the team following Sandro's injury and is still feeling his way back to match fitness. He was impressive at West Brom, who gave him plenty of time on the ball, but looked poor against Norwich when they pressed him. Sissoko has been a revelation in his first two matches at Newcastle, and he will be piling the pressure on Parker high up the pitch. If he gets the better of Parker regularly, Newcastle will win the ball in dangerous positions, and halt Spurs' attacks before they get going.

Lewis Holtby vs Cheick Tiote

After a pair of impressive appearances from the bench, Lewis Holtby could well be given his first start this weekend playing behind either Adebayor or Dempsey. The German has shown plenty of ingenuity in the final third, and his quick one touch game will be important for Spurs as they try to create chances in the congested final third. Tiote is another man returning from the African Cup of Nations, and Pardew might opt to stick with Perch this weekend, but it's more likely the Ivorian will be tasked with keeping Holtby at bay on Saturday.

image: © Jan S0L0

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