SATURDAY 2nd FEBRUARY, 2019
(12.30pm - at Wembley)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0) NEWCASTLE UNITED 0(0)
Referee:- Andre Marriner
Assistants:- Simon Long & Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth official:- Lee Probert
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Sissoko, Winks; Lamela (sub Rose, 78), Eriksen, Son (sub Dier, 89); Lucas Moura (sub Llorente, 60)
Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Walker-Peters, Foyth; Wanyama
Newcastle (5-4-1):- Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles (Capt.), Lejeune, Ritchie (sub Barreca, 86); Perez, Longstaff, Hayden, Atsu (sub Kenedy, 82); Rondon
Subs not used:- Woodman; Clark, Manquillo; Fernandez; Joselu
Booked:- Yedlin (handball)
A moment of Son shine!
Spurs secured the points with another late winner, and yet again another crucial goal by Son Heung-min, who put in another sterling effort throughout the game. The win took Spurs into second place, at least until the City v Arsenal game tomorrow, and more importantly perhaps gave us a 10 point lead over Arsenal and Chelsea. (Prior to later games in this weekend's programme)
Optimists will point to the fact that we also reduced Liverpool's lead over us to 4 points until they play West Ham on Monday night. And who knows? Spurs have won a third consecutive Premier League game, and this was as hard as any of those wins against a Newcastle team in great spirits after their midweek win over Man City. Rafa Benitez set his stall out from the start of the game with a solid 5-4-1 formation, clearly aiming to secure at least a point, and hopefully grab a goal on the break.
The "Toon" did have their moments too, hitting the woodwork once and bringing an excellent save from Hugo Lloris to prevent a shock lead.
Spurs though dominated possession, but it was a war of attrition in the early stages before the first clear chance came after 16 minutes.
It was a bitterly cold day at Wembley, but there were areas where the sun shine brightly. Our Son was to shine brightly late in the game!
There was a better crowd than on Wednesday night against Watford, but still so many Spurs fans are opting out of watching their team try to secure another Champions League berth. We won't be filling the new stadium too often at this rate!
The Newcastle fans were in good voice, and as you would expect, Moussa Sissoko was booed with every touch he made. Spurs kicked off, but I assume they had been turned around by the Newcastle captain Lascelles, as we kicked off playing towards the West goal which is usually our second half direction of play.
Mauricio Pochettino rang the changes with a back four which featured Jan Vertonghen playing at left back, whilst Danny Rose was on the bench. "Super" Jan played well too, hitting plenty of crosses, but sadly, Fernando Llorente had been saved for later in the game. That was a pity, because Lucas Moura had little success leading the line, and Pochettino switched the front three with Eriksen behind them later in the first half. Lucas played towards the left, with Son in the middle and Lamela on the right.
There was interaction between Eriksen and Trippier on the right after 13 minutes, with Eriksen getting into the box and going down, but there was no foul. After Trippier was fouled on the right (moving backwards as it happened), Eriksen took the free kick, which was returned by Lamela to Lucas Moura, who headed wide.
Seven minutes later, Lamela hit the post (left of the keeper) with a header from one of those Vertonghen crosses. The ball was returned by Trippier towards Lucas Moura, but he headed over.
Whilst Newcastle had a second defensive bank of four in front of their back five, it was the job of Atsu and Perez to get forward and support Rondon as often as they could. There was danger for Spurs after 29 minutes when Perez fed the ball out to Ritchie on the left,who returned for the advancing Perez to have a shot blocked, before Rondon also had a shot blocked. Both were on target and the Spurs defence was alert.
Spurs were actually under a little pressure when Ritchie won a corner on the right, taking it himself in front of his ardent fans, with one or two efforts being blocked in the Spurs area. Hayden was one of those who had an effort blocked.
Another Vertonghen cross led to a corner won and taken by Lamela, but headed over by Sanchez. Son was onto a long ball by Trippier who caught up to take a return pass and cross for Vertonghen to have a shot which was blocked. Spurs had a corner on the right and the end result was a shot by Sissoko, which was saved in the bottom right corner. The "Toon" army jeered gleefully.
Now Newcastle threatened again as Atsu tried to put Rondon in for a chance on goal, but Lloris was alert and advanced to collect the ball. In added time, Spurs had a free kick after Vertonghen was fouled, but Eriksen hit his free kick into the wall.
Early in the second half, Lucas Moura received a good ball by Alderweireld and desperately tried to get in a shot, but could only back heel it to Son, whose shot was also diverted for a corner. That was taken by Lamela and again Sanchez had a headed chance off target. We await that elusive Sanchez goal for Tottenham.
After 50 minutes, Newcastle had another good chance. Perez and Rondon combined before Rondon pushed the ball out to Yedlin before meeting the right back's cross with a header which hit the outside of Hugo Lloris's left post. Four minutes later Lloris had to get down to hold a deflected Matt Ritchie shot.
Eriksen threaded a ball to Trippier who got almost to the bye-line on the right inside the Newcastle area. Trippier's cross could only find Newcastle feet and whilst they did not clear with confidence, they did clear.
With half an hour left it was time for Fernando Llorente to make an entrance, replacing Lucas Moura, who had been largely ineffective. Now we had a line leader! Spurs had a corner from which after one or two touches (Son and Eriksen) the ball headed towards the Newcastle line but there was no goal. Referee Andre Marriner did consult his watch to confirm the ball had not crossed the line. Yedlin handled the ball in the panic after this move and was booked, with Spurs having a free kick from the left taken by Eriksen. The ball fell to Son, but he hit his shot well over the target.
Lloris was required to make an excellent flying left-handed save from Perez, after Rondon had teed him up. Newcastle were on occasions finding space in the final third of the pitch. Why couldn't Spurs do the same? After that Lloris save and the corner, Hayden hooked a shot over the target from just outside the Spurs area.
Spurs did manage a good attacking move with some quick one-touch passes. I recall Lamela and Eriksen being involved at this juncture, but the move ended with Trippier cross to Dubravka. Llorente tried a longish header from an Eriksen long ball, but this passed wide. Llorente complained that the high sun had impeded his vision. Vertonghen found Llorente in the box, but the Newcastle defence cleared well.
Erik Lamela was replaced by Danny Rose, and Spurs reverted to a back three, although Jan Vertonghen still got forward to support Rose. Trippier sent a ball through to Sissoko on the right, leading to a corner, taken by Trippier and leading to a Llorente shot being blocked in the area. Eriksen also had a shot blocked with Llorente the assistant.
I watched the game with Ray Lo and I had commented earlier in the game that "Sonny" would get the winner for Spurs and so it proved in the 83rd minute. Llorente fielded a ball into the box and fed it back to Son, who hit a low 20 yarder that squeezed beneath Dubravka's body and into the net.
That solitary goal was enough. Obviously, Newcastle now had to come out, which did create space at the back, and that combination of Llorente and Son (which has worked well for Spurs before) nearly paid off with a second goal, with both getting forward and the Newcastle defence stretched. It was Llorente who had the final shot, which passed wide. Thereafter, Spurs managed the game, with Dier replacing Son to see out the four minutes of added time.
Now we have 8 days off before Leicester come to Wembley next Sunday lunchtime.
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