By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Hatem Ben Arfa has been handed a start for Newcastle United in the opening game of the 2012/13 season against Tottenham Hotspur (5.30pm kick-off).
The French international has only featured in one of the Magpies' pre-season friendlies - a 45-minute display against Hartlepool - but manager Alan Pardew has selected the skillful forward, who is capable of unlocking any Premier League defence.
Ben Arfa is expected to line up on the right wing of a 4-4-2 formation, with Jonas Gutierrez on the opposite flank. And two other players who were both doubts for this fixture - Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye - will form the heart of United's team.
In defence there is one notable absentee, with captain Fabricio Coloccini ruled out through a slight thigh injury. The Argentine's place is taken by James Perch, who will have Danny Simpson, Davide Santon and Steven Taylor - making his first competitive appearance since the start of December - alongside him.
Unsurprisingly, Newcastle number one Tim Krul is in between the sticks, while at the other end of the pitch, Senegalese duo Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba are both passed fit to continue their prolific partnership from last term.
New Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with England international Jermain Defoe leading the line on his own.
He will be supported by the attack-minded trio of Aaron Lennon, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Gareth Bale.
Former Magpie Jermaine Jenas has to be content with a place among the visitors' replacements.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1): Brad Friedel; Kyle Walker, Williams Gallas (c), Younes Kaboul, Benoit Assou-Ekotto; Jake Livermore, Sandro; Aaron Lennon, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Gareth Bale; Jermain Defoe
Substitutes: Carlo Cudicini, Kyle Naughton, Jan Vertonghen, Jermaine Jenas, Andros Townsend, Rafael van der Vaart, Harry Kane,