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Spurs v Newcastle, 11.02.12

(5.30 P.M.)

Assou-Ekotto, 4
Saha, 6, 20
Kranjcar, 34
Adebayor, 64

Attendance:- 36,176

Referee:- Mr. A. Marriner
Assistants:- Mr. S. Ledge & Ms S. Massey (not MR as per programme!)
Fourth official:- Mr. L. Probert

Spurs (4-4-2):- Friedel; Walker, Dawson, King (Capt.) (sub Nelsen, 75), Assou-Ekotto; Kranjcar, Parker, Modric, Bale (sub Lennon, 67); Saha (sub Defoe, 67), Adebayor
(Armband to Dawson)

Subs not used:- Cudicini; Khumalo, Rose; Livermore

Booked:- Parker (foul on Ba), Walker (foul on Perch)

Newcastle (4-4-2):- Krul; Simpson, Coloccini (Capt.), Williamson, Santon; Obertan (sub Ferguson, 46), Perch, Guthrie (sub Lovenkrands, 86), Gutierrez; Cisse (sub Gosling, 68), Ba

Subs not used:- Elliott; Abeid, Ben Arfa, Sh Ameobi

Booked:- Gosling (foul on Lennon)

Spurs so stylish and clinical. Saha Two!

Spurs produced a simply stunning display of quick-fire, fast-scoring, stylish football to cap Harry Redknapp’s incredible week. Two up after only 6 minutes, and four up at half-time, Spurs were simply un-stoppable. Louis Saha (whose signing Harry had purported to know nothing of, when asked about it during his two and a half week trial) scored as many goals in this game as he had in his preceding 21 games this season, and partnered Emmanuel Adebayor as if they had been playing together all their lives. That Harry Redknapp knows a player when he sees one, eh? As for Adebayor, he was simply all over this game and all over Newcastle, with assists in all 4 first half goals, and then a fine 64th minute goal to seal a great personal performance.

It was always going to be a quite special atmosphere, after the events of the week, which have seen Harry everybody’s odds-on favourite to ultimately take over as England manager. That’s everybody except Spurs fans of course, who chanted “We want you to stay” and lauded their manager at every opportunity.

Alan Pardew’s team was severely weakened by injuries and the suspension of Cabaye, but the Newcastle manager did not come to defend, setting his team up with both his Senegalese strikers Ba and Cisse in a 4-4-2 formation. They didn’t come with the intention, but the way Spurs powered forward left the “Toon” no choice but to defend from the outset.

Newcastle had the first attack though, as Obertan won an early battle with Assou-Ekotto, caught a little bit too far forward. Gareth Bale was in the Spurs box to clear Obertan’s cross. Then “Benny” was scoring only his third career goal for Spurs in the fourth minute, after Adebayor took the ball down to the right bye-line after an exchange with Gareth Bale in the other area, before hitting his pass to the back post, where “Benny” fired home in front of the Park Lane stand.

We barely had time to catch our breath before Kranjcar sent Adebayor haring down the right wing, before his cross was met in style by Saha, meeting the ball thigh high with his left foot from 8 yards. The “Toon Army” had been silenced, and stunned. Those “We want you to stay” chants rang out for the first, but certainly not the last time. Harry had been celebrating the goals with gusto too, and he was clearly enjoying this football.

After 15 minutes, Assou-Ekotto picked up a loose ball in the middle, and sent Bale away down the left. Bale’s cross was deflected into Kranjcar’s path, and Niko hit a shot wide. Soon after that “Benny” sent Bale away again with a nonchalant and extravagant flicked pass which had power and accuracy. Bale was away again, but his cross was cleared.

It was 3-0 in the 20th minute, as Luka Modric set off down the left channel, crossed for Adebayor, who touched the ball to Saha, inside the area, 10 yards out. Saha made no mistake with the finish. Both strikers were clearly relishing playing with a dedicated partner, rather than in a less committed striking formation. Within a minute of the goal, Bale ran down the left and crossed to Saha. There was more than a hint of a foul on Louis just outside the box, but Adebayor had collected the ball, and fired wide anyway.

Parker was booked at the other end for a foul on Ba, and from the free kick, Ba fired wide of Friedel’s left post. Newcastle wanted a corner, but they didn’t get one. Spurs went 4-0 up in the 34th minute. Modric sent in a lovely ball from the left, met by Adebayor, whose first effort was saved by Krul. Emmanuel collected the rebound and simply set up Kranjcar for a fine finish. Even when we beat Wigan 9-1 two years ago, we were only 1-0 up at half-time and I can’t remember the last time we were 4-0 up at the interval! Saha had another chance before the break, firing wide, after a move featuring Bale, Adebayor and Kranjcar, before Adebayor headed over from a Modric corner. Parker was fouled on the very edge of the area, and Assou-Ekotto’s shot was well over after the free kick. Newcastle must have breathed a collective sigh of relief when their pain was at least suspended for the half-time interval.

Pardew replaced Obertan with Shane Ferguson after the break. The goal festival that Spurs fans would have liked did not come, although again, most of the football was heading for Krul’s goal. Bale lifted a ball into the area for Adebayor, but the defence came out on top this time. Parker started a great move, which led to a cross by Kyle Walker and another attempt wide by Adebayor. Spurs went five up in style in the 65th minute. Assou-Ekotto, Bale and Adebayor had been involved in the move before Benoit hit a final cross from the left, touched by Saha, and finished with a great shot from inside the area by Adebayor. It was his first goal since 22nd December against Chelsea, but his most deserved goal of the season. Apart from his finishing prowess and link-up play with Saha, Adebayor is a giant and fleet of foot, making many good runs down the wing too!

Bale had a shot over the bar from 25 yards, before he was replaced by Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe took over from Saha. That wasn’t a bad pair of substitutions at 5-0, was it? Spurs fans by now had given “Pardew for England” an airing or two! Lennon drew an early foul and a booking for Newcastle substitute Dan Gosling, once of Everton, who had replaced Papiss Cisse. Kyle Walker had another excellent game, and made a simply fantastic effort to run, stretch and reach the ball in midfield, before hitting a cross which bounced off Adebayor’s head. Now it was time for skipper Ledley King to receive an ovation, as he went off to be replaced by 34 year old debutant Ryan Nelsen, getting his first piece of action since August.

There was one moment of danger for Brad Friedel when Guthrie crossed and Friedel was perfectly placed to palm out Ba’s close range effort. Gosling hit the rebound way over, when to score looked easier. The “Toon Army” could only offer gallows humour and defiant singing in their corner. There were more chances for Spurs though, as Defoe fed from the left and Adebayor’s shot was wide, then Krul parried a Modric shot, after Walker and Defoe had combined in the build up. Parker threaded a pass to Defoe, this time on the right channel. He crossed but again Adebayor hit the shot wide.

We’d had an exhibition, and Newcastle had taken a severe beating. It was a biggest Premier League win over Newcastle, and our biggest against this opposition since a 5-1 win in September 1985, when John Chiedozie scored two goals. Mark Falco, Glenn Hoddle and Micky Hazard added a goal apiece on that day.

Stevenage must be quaking at the prospect of facing Spurs next Sunday. I am especially pleased for my good friend Matt Carr, who made the trip from North Carolina for this game. His last trip was for the 4-0 win over Liverpool, so his aggregate is 9-0 this season. Matt, can you make The Emirates, and Spurs v Man Utd on March 4th?


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