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Spurs v Newcastle, 09.02.13

(12.45 PM)

Spurs scorer:-
Bale, 5, 78

Newcastle scorer:-
Gouffran, 24

Attendance:- 36,244

Referee:- Phil Dowd
Assistants:- Mr. S. Long & Mr. G. Beswick
Fourth official:- Mr. L. Probert

Spurs (4-4-1-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson(Capt.), Caulker, Naughton (sub Assou-Ekotto, 75); Lennon, Parker, Dembele (sub Livermore, 90), Bale; Holtby (sub Adebayor, 69); Dempsey

Subs not used:- Friedel; Gallas, Vertonghen; Sigurdsson

No bookings

Newcastle (4-2-3-1):- Krul; Debuchy, S. Taylor, Coloccini (Capt.), Santon; Cabaye, Perch (sub Tiote, 82); Gutierrez (sub Sh. Ameobi, 86), Sissoko, Gouffran (sub Marveaux, 58); Cisse

Subs not used:- Harper; Yanga-Mbiwa; Anita, Obertan

Booked:- Cabaye (foul on Dembele), Ameobi ( foul on Dawson)

Bale on fire again!

Gareth Bale has had a hell of a week, in which he has scored 4 goals for club and country all of which have been of a very high standard. He has also scored Spurs' last four league goals in three games which have yielded 7 precious points and maintained Spurs' push for a Champions League place.

Bale will inevitably be the focus of the headlines, and comment, which will pile on more suggestions that he is bound for foreign climes in the summer. All he and Spurs can do is to keep scoring; keep winning; and keep a place in the exalted top four.

Spurs went third for a couple of hours, before Chelsea put paid to Wigan in convincing fashion, and Arsenal won at Sunderland, despite having a man sent off. The Gooners are four points behind us, and with Everton playing at Old Trafford tomorrow, perhaps the race for Champions League is between the three London rivals.

It certainly wasn't easy for Spurs today against a Newcastle team rejuvenated by the January influx of Frenchmen, three of whom started in an un-changed line-up from that which beat Chelsea last week.

Lewis Holtby made his first Spurs' start, and his home debut, playing off Clint Dempsey in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Andre Villas-Boas made changes at the back, with Naughton returning at left back, and Steven Caulker taking Jan Vertonghen's place. Perhaps AVB wants Vertonghen for next Thursday night's home game against Lyon. Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who has had to travel back from a mid-week game in Tanzania, was left on the bench, but Dempsey has had to travel further from Central America.

Holtby was involved in a bright move after only one minute, exchanging passes with Bale on the left, before Bale's low cross was somehow cleared in front of goal before Dempsey could get a touch at the back post.

Spurs took a welcome early lead though, through Bale, after Dempsey had been fouled by Coloccini, just outside the area. Both Walker and Bale shaped up for the free kick, but it was taken, very skilfully, by Bale, lifting the ball up and down over the wall, beating Krul in his far left corner.

After 8 minutes, the Park Lane crowd chanted "One Paul Gascoigne", and the applause for a Spurs and Newcastle hero rang around the stadium, sending wishes to Gazza, who has gone to a clinic in the USA to try and deal with his alcohol addiction.

Lewis Holtby had three good chances in the space of 10 minutes. Firstly, from the right side of the box, he fired over , then, after Parker had won the ball in our half, Steven Caulker carried the ball forward, before Holtby fired wide.

Newcastle had a good chance after a cross from the left by Coloccini, with Cisse having the freedom of the back of the area, heading the ball wide back across Lloris's goalmouth.

Holtby's third chance followed a great long ball from left to right by Kyle Naughton, finding Aaron Lennon. Lennon passed inside to Holtby, who hit a shot over the far corner from the right of the area.

Naughton got caught out defensively though, as Sissoko got the better of him on an inside line, with the Spurs full back never likely to make up for lost ground. Sissoko cut the ball back and another new boy, Gouffran, fired home, having taken a few steps back from the Spurs defence, who allowed him too much room. The shot took a bit of a deflection, but hit the net.

Having made such a good start, Spurs were now struggling to forge chances, and the Geordies were closing us down well in all areas.

Dempsey had what looked like an on target shot deflected for a corner, taken from the left by Kyle Walker. The corner was met by Bale at the near post, trying a glancing shot, but the ball was cleared. After some good build-up play by Spurs, Dembele made the final pass to Dempsey, who hooked a left footed shot wide from outside the area.

Spurs started the second half with a good tempo, and got into the box to create two or three decent chances, without success. Lloris comfortably plucked a Steven Taylor shot out of the air, before Gouffran went down injured, and had to be stretchered off after some delay. He was replaced by Marveaux, who had been mistakenly announced in some quarters as being in the team before the game.

Bale and Lennon advanced together down the right flank and nearly got through, but Newcastle managed to clear the ball for a throw.

Holtby went off, in favour of Adebayor. There was a mixed response from the crowd, and it was unclear whether this was directed at the departure of Holtby, or the arrival of Adebayor, who apparently failed to get back from Africa in time for yesterday's planned training session. Assou-Ekotto also replaced Naughton.

Cabaye tried a shot from distance, but this passed well over Lloris's bar.

Spurs re-gained the lead in quite superb fashion, when Bale came off the better of the two, when he and Coloccini challenged in midfield for a lofted Dempsey clearance. It was 40 yards out, and it was Bale who took the ball away, making a bee-line for goal, and beating Krul with a decisive low shot. Krul did get a touch, but couldn't prevent what proved to be the winning goal.

The game opened up now, and Bale took a corner from the north-east of the ground, beating Krul. This might have taken Caulker by surprise, as he headed over at the back post.

Newcastle boss replaced Perch with Tiote, who has also just returned from International duty in the African Cup of Nations. Shola Ameobi replaced Gutierrez, and Newcastle tried a 4-4-2, and a more attacking attempt to get back on terms.

Spurs might have increased their led first though, as they broke through Gareth Bale's run from the deep. Bale hit a terrific shot, but Krul matched this with super positioning and a superb save, pushing Bale's shot over the bar one-handed to concede a corner.

The first card of the game was show to Cabaye, when he chopped Dembele, who never recovered from the knock, and had to be replaced during the 7 minute of added time. Dembele could be a doubt for Thursday night.

Hugo Lloris made a terrific save at the feet of a Newcastle player who looked as if he must score in front of goal. It looked like Ameobi, and Lloris made one of his typical advances from his line to snatch the ball.

At the other end, Adebayor fed the ball to Bale on the right flank. Bale passed to the middle and substitute Livermore's shot was blocked. Bale then managed to fire over from short range after Krul had parried a Dempsey cross, and after that, Krul again deprived Bale of a hat-trick.

Bale is our highest scorer so far, and at the time of writing is fifth placed in the Premier League list of goal-scorers, with 13 league goals to his credit.

This report was written before Man City's surprise defeat at Southampton. Spurs are only five points behind last year's Premier League Champions with 12 games to go. Man Utd are of course far ahead of City, and could go 12 points clear if they beat Everton tomorrow.

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