The Hard Tackle lists three players who can have a positive impact on the proceedings when Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United clash on Sunday.

Gameweek 16 of the 2023/24 Premier League season will conclude on Sunday, with an eye-catching fixture on the cards. Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United will lock horns at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with both teams desperate to return to winning ways.

It has taken only a few weeks to take all the optimism out of the Tottenham Hotspur camp. Fans and players would have been looking forward to clinching a top-four finish after spending most of the first three months of the 2023/24 season atop the Premier League. But five consecutive games without a win has dropped them ten points behind league leaders Liverpool.

Inconsistency has also plagued Newcastle United, with the Magpies losing a third of their Premier League games thus far. The failure to perform to the desired levels has dropped them to seventh in the standings, behind even the dreadful Manchester United. But the Magpies can leapfrog the Red Devils with a win on Sunday.

Both teams come into Sunday’s marquee fixture on the back of midweek defeats. So, they will be eager to return to winning ways and mount a sustained top-four charge. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three players who can swing the balance in this weekend’s match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Cristian Romero

It is not often that we begin such features with a defensive-minded player. But such has been Tottenham’s hopelessness at the back in the last few weeks that Cristian Romero’s performance will hold the key on Sunday.

The Argentine international and Micky van de Ven had efficiently held the backline together in the first few months of the 2023/24 season. But Tottenham lost both players in the same game, with Romero seeing red and van de Ven picking up a hamstring injury in the 4-1 loss to Chelsea.

Since then, the defensive unit has produced shambolic performances, with the duo’s absence hurting them. Romero’s return against West Ham United did not help either, even though he found the back of the net to give Tottenham the lead.

The World Cup winner, who has courted interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid, needs to step up and deliver the goods for Tottenham. If he rises to the occasion, the hosts will be in good stead, especially considering the visitors have the advantage of offensive directness from Anthony Gordon.

Anthony Gordon

Speaking of Anthony Gordon, we resume the offensive-minded nature of these features with the in-form Newcastle United attacker. Our second pick is the former Everton prospect, who has hit the ground running in the 2023/24 season.

The Englishman was not at his best as Everton eased to a 3-0 win over Newcastle United earlier this week. But he has been arguably the most consistent performer for the Tyneside outfit in a frustrating first half of the ongoing campaign.

The 22-year-old provides a direct threat from the left flank, never shying away from taking the game to the opposition full-back. That trait will come in handy against Pedro Porro, who will leave plenty of space open behind him. So, if Gordon rediscovers his best form, Newcastle United might exploit Tottenham’s weakness on that flank.

Giovani Lo Celso

Will Lo Celso rise to the occasion? (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

Our list ends with another attacker, this one coming from Tottenham. While it is not often that the home side has two representatives in such features, we have picked Giovani Lo Celso, keeping the North London club’s struggles in the last few weeks in mind.

Tottenham’s hit-and-miss displays have coincided with James Maddison’s absence due to an ankle injury. While Giovani Lo Celso has stepped up in the last two months, Ange Postecoglou needs more from the Argentine international. Meanwhile, his future remains uncertain, with clubs like Juventus and Barcelona interested.

Back to matters on the pitch, Lo Celso has been one of the better performers for the hosts during their recent horrid run. The 27-year-old brings a lot to the table, as he contributes with and without the ball, which has endeared him to Postecoglou. But his output on the ball will determine if he can support Son Heung-min, with the Tottenham captain desperately looking for help.

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