Tottenham Hotspur look set to welcome Emmanuel Adebayor back into the fold on Saturday lunchtime for the visit of Newcastle United with their only other senior striker, Jermain Defoe, sidelined with an ankle injury.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City striker returned to north London in midweek after he and his Togo team mates were beaten in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations by Burkina Faso last weekend.
Andre Villas-Boas must have been delighted by the sight of Adebayor back on the training pitch this week because with Defoe injured and the club’s failure to land Brazilian international Leandro Damiao in the transfer window, Clint Dempsey was forced to play through the middle for much of his side’s 1-0 victory over West Brom on Sunday.
Luckily for Spurs, their star man, Gareth Bale, has picked up the slack in their past two games, scoring spectacular goals against the Baggies and Norwich the week before to put them just a point behind third-placed Chelsea in their pursuit of Champions League football.
Bale also got on the scoresheet for Wales in midweek, breaking the deadlock in the 2-1 win over Austria and landing a 9/2 winner for anyone who followed our tip for the match.
Villas-Boas will be hoping to find Bale and Adebayor at the top of their respective games this weekend, as their opponents, Newcastle, have a player who has already achieved cult hero status on Tyneside despite playing only two games in black and white in the shape of new French midfielder Moussa Sissoko.
The £1.2 million signing from Toulouse has inspired his new side to back-to-back wins for the first time this season in the league thanks to two goals and an assist in those two matches.
However, Sissoko’s impressive influence may not be enough to get Newcastle a positive result at White Hart Lane though if Adebayor and Bale can produce their top form.
The bwin bookies seem to agree and have placed the home side as 13/20 favourites, while the visitors are priced at 4/1, with the draw at 14/5.
The returning Adebayor may have only struck three times in this campaign, but his pedigree is what makes him 7/5 favourite to score against Newcastle, closely followed by Bale, who is an 8/5 chance.
Even if I am wrong in predicting a Spurs victory, in all likelihood, the first half of the fixture is unlikely to excite the fans a great deal if both sides live up to their statistics.
Tottenham home games have only seen eight goals in the first 45 minutes this season – that’s comfortably less than one a game – while Newcastle have only managed seven goals in the first half on their travels.
With this in mind, my top bet is 23/10 that the match is goalless at half-time, which would provide winnings of £66 for any new customers successfully backing it with their free £20 bet after registering.
Spurs will then be hoping that Adebayor can make an telling impact in the second half and keep their top-four bid well on track.