'Newcastle owner Mike Ashley might end up regretting not beating Tottenham to Luka Modric more than ever on Sunday' - former Magpies midfielder Rob Lee picks his key battles

Former Tyneside favourite tips the 'exceptional' Scott Parker to show his Geordie critics what they are missing and give Spurs their first win at St James' Park since 2004
By Rob Stewart

Former Newcastle favourite Rob Lee has tipped a former St James' Park player and a one-time transfer target to swing the balance in Tottenham's favour when the sides meet on Tyneside on Sunday.

Lee's former team remain unbeaten this season but come up against an in-form Tottenham who have dismantled Liverpool and beaten Arsenal in a run of four Premier League victories in five games since the close of the transfer window.

It was a significant moment for the White Hart Lane club, as they were finally assured of keeping hold of Luka Modric and also landed Scott Parker in a £5m deal from West Ham United.

Here, the former England international gives Goal.com his verdict on where Sunday's game will be won and lost...

Steven Taylor vs Emmanuel Adebayor

"It seems a bit strange because Newcastle have always been noted for their attacking prowess but it is Alan Pardew's defence that has provided the foundation for their fine start to the season.

"In the past Newcastle's defence has taken plenty of stick but even though now they are difficult to break down they will be tested to the limit on this occasion, especially if Emmanuel Adebayor is on song.

"If he is up for it, Adebayor can be such a threat - that will make sure that this is a far sterner test than the one Newcastle faced when they drew with Arsenal at the start of the season because at his best most centre-halves find that he is unplayable.

"Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini have formed an excellent partnership this season and it will be interesting to see if Taylor can press his claims for a call-up into the England squad when they take on Spain next month.

"If he can subdue Adebayor things will be looking good for him on the international front but, all things being equal, he will have to be at the top of his game to do so, especially if Kyle Walker starts bombing up and down the right wing from full-back."

Danny Simpson vs Gareth Bale

"If Newcastle do manage to contain Gareth Bale then they will have done well because in my opinion even at the age of just 22 he is the best left-sided attacking player in the world and his goal in midweek for Wales against Bulgaria will mean he is in the perfect frame of mind.

"He’s got pace, dribbling skills and a tremendous work ethic, and given half a chance he will score because he’s got a great shot on him as well. Danny Simpson is a very promising right-back but the only way Newcastle can hope to contain Bale is to make sure that they double up on him and that means Gabriel Obertan tracking back to try to keep him isolated."

Cheik Tiote vs Luka Modric

"It is not so long ago that Newcastle tried and failed to bring Luka Modric to St James’ Park and I bet Mike Ashley must be kicking himself that he did not push the boat out when Spurs beat them to his signature when he was at Croatia Zagreb.

"Modric was going for £18 million back then when Kevin Keegan was in charge and he has shown what a fantastic talent he is although I’m not so sure that Spurs were right to turn down that £40-million bid for him from Chelsea.

"Modric must be very difficult to play against because he turns up here, there and everywhere in midfield as the Tottenham playmaker and so Cheik Tiote will have his work cut out as he tries to restrict him and he could be pulled all over the place and out of position and that could pave the way for Rafael van der Vaart to exploit the gaps between the Spurs attack and the midfield as he did against Arsenal."

Demba Ba vs Ledley King

"There were quite a few people who wondered if Demba Ba was going to be a one-season wonder following his flurry of goals at West Ham last season but he seems to be proving his doubters wrong.

"There is no doubt that he is a good finisher as his tally of 11 goals in 14 starts proves, but he will either need a slice of luck to get the better of Ledley King or be extra cunning.

"That’s because there is probably not a better centre-half in the country than Ledley when he is fully fit because he plays with such intelligence that he makes the art of defending a joy to watch.

"It’s a pity for Newcastle that he wasn’t involved with England in Montenegro because he should be in tip-top condition and his presence makes me think Spurs will nick all three points in a tightly-contested game and my old club’s unbeaten start to the season will come to an end."

Yohan Cabaye vs Scott Parker

"Newcastle fans should beware Scott Parker because he will be aiming to get his own back this weekend.

"I don’t think Newcastle fans ever really appreciated him but then again they never really saw the best of him when he was up there on Tyneside which is a shame because he is someone that I have always rated very highly.

"He is an exceptional talent and has what it takes to form a central midfield partnership for England with Steven Gerrard in the run-up to Euro 2012 because of his no-nonsense approach to his work.

"He might not float around but he is key to Spurs because he still keeps things ticking over by winning possession and then setting his team on their way in their traditional give-and-go or pass-and-move style that is their trademark.

"Yohan Cabaye has taken to life in the North-East with plenty of enthusiasm and seems to have settled in very nicely alongside Cheik Tiote because they bring a nice balance to the team. He has a terrific range of passing but he could do with a goal as much as his team this Sunday."