Newcastle saw their second relegation in seven years confirmed in midweek, and an uncertain future lies ahead for the club as they welcome a Tottenham side who could achieve a record Premier League points total with a win.
A dismal goalless draw at Villa Park all-but sealed the Magpies’ fate, with fans now desperately hoping that Rafael Benitez commits his future to the club and leads them in the Championship next season.
Who knows what might have happened had the club’s hierarchy acted sooner in appointing the Spaniard, but despite an upturn in form in recent weeks, the Toon have failed to avoid the sixth relegation in their history.
How many of the club’s big money signings, including Georginio Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend – who cost a combined £52m – choose to stay at the club remains to be seen, and a hostile reception could await Newcastle’s under-performing players at St James’ Park this weekend.
Tottenham are stumbling over the finish line after a highly impressive season – they travel north winless in three matches after last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at home to Southampton.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have had the Premier League’s best defence this season – conceding just 30 goals – and have also picked up more points from losing positions (19) than any other team.
Spurs are looking for their third consecutive win at St James’ Park; Harry Kane notched in last season’s 3-1 win there, and is currently in pole position for the golden boot with 25 league goals to his name – one ahead of Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.
Benitez is set to make changes to his starting XI for what could be his last game as Newcastle boss, with Aleksandar Mitrovic set to start. Club captain Fabricio Coloccini – another who could be heading through the exit door this summer – remains unavailable.
Dele Alli and Moussa Dembele are suspended for the visitors, whilst midfielder Nabil Bentaleb is out through injury.
League Position: Newcastle – 18th (34 pts); Tottenham – 2nd (70 pts)
Last Meeting: Tottenham 1-2 Newcastle (December 13, 2015)
Form: Newcastle – LWDDWD; Tottenham – DWWDDL
Key Players: Newcastle – Andros Townsend; Tottenham – Harry Kane
Shoot Says: Newcastle 0-3 Tottenham