Tottenham Hotspur will be without injured left-back Danny Rose when they travel to Newcastle United for their season opener on Super Sunday.
Rose, who has on the eve of the new Premier League campaign, is expected to be back in action in September as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.
The two sides met on the final day of the 2015/16 season when, despite having already been relegated to the Championship, Newcastle inflicted a 5-1 thrashing on Mauricio Pochettino’s team.
However, the visitors will be looking to get off to a good start at St James’ Park in front of the Sky Sports cameras after recording their best-ever Premier League finish last time out.
Newcastle, meanwhile, head into the clash with manager Rafael Benitez having vowed to battle through his transfer window frustration to tackle life in the top flight head on.
The Spaniard, who guided the Magpies back into the Premier League by winning the Sky Bet Championship at the first attempt last season, has endured a difficult summer which has seen the club miss out on several of his main transfer targets.
While remaining hopeful of further additions before the end of the month, Benitez reaffirmed his commitment to the club despite his disappointment.
“Obviously, I said how I feel during this summer, but at the same time, I said that my commitment is 100 per cent with this team, this club in terms of trying to win from the first game until the last one,” he said in his pre-match press conference.
“My ambition is to do well in every single game to get three points and see where we are in the table.
“I am not saying I am really pleased with everything because it’s not true, but I am not saying that I will not do my best to be as high as possible in the table.”
US right-back DeAndre Yedlin will miss Spurs’ visit with a hamstring problem picked up in pre-season.
Striker Dwight Gayle is fit after his own hamstring injury and Benitez otherwise has only a series of minor knocks to contend with, including to several of his summer recruits such as Florian Lejeune, Javier Manquillo, Mikel Merino, Christian Atsu and Jacob Murphy.
Erik Lamela (hips), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (foot), Rose (knee) and Kieran Trippier (ankle) are all missing for Spurs.
There have been 14 goals scored in the last three Premier League meetings between these two clubs at St James’ Park.
The Magpies have won only one opening match across their last nine league seasons, but that came against Spurs; 2-1 in 2012 (D4 L4).
Benitez has not lost any of his previous eight Premier League home games as a manager against Spurs (W5 D3 L0).
This is the seventh successive Premier League season that Tottenham will play their opening Premier League game away from home.
Harry Kane is one goal away from a century for Spurs in all competitions – he has netted 99 goals in 165 games so far, including hat-tricks in his two previous appearances.
Kane has scored 20 goals in his last 15 Premier League games against newly promoted sides – three of his six top-flight hat-tricks have been against newly promoted teams (Leicester in 2014-15, Bournemouth in 2015-16 and Hull last season).
However, Kane has never scored a Premier League goal in August (10 games).
Gayle averaged a goal every 93 minutes in the Championship last season, scoring 23 goals; he also scored in his last top-flight appearance against Spurs for Crystal Palace in January 2015.
None of the last nine winners of the Championship have won their first match in the Premier League after promotion (D2 L7). The last team to achieve this were Sunderland in August 2007, who beat Tottenham on the opening day thanks to a late strike from Michael Chopra.
Christian Eriksen was involved in the build-up sequence to 253 open play shots last season in the Premier League; more than any other player in the competition.
Newcastle simply haven’t signed enough players. Rafa Benitez has managed at the top of European football and I’m sure he doesn’t have plans to stay in the Premier League by the skin of his teeth following promotion.
I can see this whole affair at Newcastle coming to an end soon if Rafa continues not to be backed in the transfer market. They haven’t spent enough and if it wasn’t for the fans I’d tip them to go down.
Spurs are as good as anybody in the league and against a Newcastle side, who will have to attack in front of their own fans, this could be a cricket score.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-3
with Newcastle 18/5 for the win, while a draw is priced at 14/5. Following frustrating summers of transfer business for both clubs, Pochettino’s men head into the campaign as 9/1 joint fourth favourites for the title, while Newcastle are 4/1 to face the drop. Golden Boot hat-trick hopeful Kane heads the first goalscorer betting at 3/1, while Gayle is considered the hosts’ main threat at 7/1 to net first.