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Nic Ladds 18th Apr 2009 - 10:13

Shear desperation not enough for Newcastle

Alan Shearer and Newcastle are getting desperate and they'll be hoping they keep their good record against Tottenham up and defy victory odds of 9/2.

Harry Redknapp looks to have finally got his Spurs side organised and capable of taking the lead and holding on to it and this is reflected in the betting with the home side available at 4/6 and a draw 5/2.

Newcastle are in the relegation zone two points adrift of safety and if it weren't for Andy Carroll's last minute goal at Stoke, they glimmer of hope they have would have been all but extinguished.

Their recent record against Spurs is decent and they have won at White Hart Lane for the last two seasons by score lines of 3-2 and 4-1 which incidentally are 33/1 and 100/1 respectively to happen again.

Meetings between these two often have goals but Redknapp has the Spurs defence more organised, especially at home where they now concede few which means goals could be at a premium.

Tottenham won 1-0 last week and a similar score line look plausible at odds of 11/2 and 2-0 6/1. A 1-1 draw is 11/2 while for Newcastle to nick it 1-0, odds of 9/1 are on offer.

A quick look at the statistics shows that Spurs have only led five times in their last 22 home games while Newcastle have only been trailing at half time in three of their last 10 away games.

This all points to a half time draw at odds of 11/10, while Newcastle are as big as 4/1 to have a half-time lead which could be worth a shout as Spurs are sometimes slow out the traps.

The half time draw statistics could point us in the direction of a double result also with draw/Tottenham sure to be popular at odds of 10/3, draw/draw 9/2 and draw/Newcastle 9/1. The overwhelming favourite in this market is Tottenham/Tottenham at 17/10 in the betting.

A big talking point of the week has been whether Obafemi Martins will return to the Newcastle line up. If he does it will be a big boost but it has been well documented they will be asking him to play through a minor injury which he is reluctant to do.

Should he play odds of 9/1 are available about him getting the first goal with Michael Owen 8/1 and the hero last time Andrew Carroll 10/1 and interesting he is the same price to repeat his heroics and grab the last goal.

Other possible scorers include Damien Duff who scored the winner against Spurs earlier in the season as 6/1 to score anytime and set-piece specialist Ryan Taylor who can be backed at odds of 12/1 to find the back of the net.

If you fancy a Spurs first goal then Robbie Keane and Darren Bent are both 5/1 to bag first but Redknapp may well opt for last week's hero Roman Pavlyuchenko up front in favour of Bent which gives the 6/1 about him scoring first appealing.

Other options include Luca Modric and Aaron Lennon who are both still looking excellent and are 11/4 and 5/1 respectively to score anytime.

An interesting one is Tom Huddlestone who loves to shoot from range, will start as Jenas is injured and is desperate to impress so there could be some mileage in backing him at 7/1 to score.

While it can be argued Newcastle "need" the win more than Spurs this is rarely a reason to back a side, even one as big as 9/2.

Tottenham have won five of their last seven league games and lost just one in eight which is vastly superior to the Toon Army's record or zero wins in seven.

Shearer says they are making progress and while the players all respect him and the fans evidently still love him, progress needs to be instant for Newcastle to survive. While they have a good record against Spurs it counts for nothing today and even at short odds, Tottenham look the bet to plunge the Toon deeper in to the mire.

Recommendation:
Roman Pavlyuchenko to score first - 6/1
Tottenham to win 2-0 - 6/1

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