SUNDAY 3RD APRIL, 2022
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5(1) NEWCASTLE UNITED 1(1)
Emerson Royal, 63
Referee:- Martin Atkinson
Assistants:- Lee Betts, Simon Long
Fourth official: Graham Scott
VAR:- Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR:- Sian Massey-Ellis.
Spurs (3-4-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson Royal (sub Bergwijn, 81), Bentancur (sub Winks, 75), Hojbjerg, Doherty; Kulusevski (sub Lucas Moura, 76), Kane, Son
Subs not used:- Gollini; Sanchez, Rodon; White, Bowden; Scarlett
Booked:- Kane (foul on Saint-Maximin), Bentancur (unsporting conduct)
Newcastle (4-3-3):- Dubravka; Manquillo (sub Guimaraes, 59), Schar, Burn, Targett; Willock, Shelvey (Capt.), Joelinton (sub Murphy, 59); Fraser, Wood (sub Lascelles, 70), Saint-Maximin
(Lascelles took the captain’s armband from Shelvey when he replaced Wood)
Subs not used:- Darlow; Dummett, Krafth; Ritchie, S. Longstaff; Gayle
Booked:- Saint-Maximin (unsporting conduct), Joelinton (unsporting conduct), Burn (foul on Kane)
Spurs have the whiff of Champions League in their nostrils
Spurs have the whiff of Champions League in their nostrils. It wasn’t there for most of the first half when Newcastle took the lead through a Schar free kick after a reckless foul on Willock by Son just outside the area. Although Spurs bounced back with a goal by a defender (the first of three such goals) it wasn’t until the second half when they showed the thoroughbred class needed by a any genuine Champions League team.
Head coach Antonio Conte clearly inspired his men at half-time. Perhaps his ace move was to move Harry Kane deeper into his playmaker role. Make no mistake. Although Kane did not get on the scoresheet, he pulled all the strings to inspire a second half team performance which saw the Saudi-backed Newcastle team crumble beneath the might of Tottenham. Both wing-backs added goals to those by Heung-min Son and substitute Steven Bergwijn who was teed up by another sub – Lucas Moura.
This was the biggest Premier League win by a side that conceded the game's opening goal since Spurs themselves defeated Manchester United 6-1 in October 2020. Around that time, a previous incumbent of the head coach role – Jose Mourinho – had begun to utilise Kane’s creative skills to the fore. This was the first time that five different players have scored for Spurs in a game since the 5-0 win against Hearts in the Europa League in August 2011 and the first time in a Premier league match since the 9-1 win against Wigan Athletic in November 2009.
Reguilon was absent from the Spurs team, presumably after a knock suffered in training. Emerson came in for a first start since February and Doherty switched to left wing-back. Newcastle had been on some sunshine training over the international break and were able to include their current talisman Allan Saint-Maximin in their side.
Newcastle kicked off and played towards the South Stand. Saint-Maximin won an early free kick, taken by Aston Villa loanee Matt Targett, but headed clear by Emerson. After that early showing by Newcastle, Spurs began to put Newcastle under some pressure. Bentancur had a shot deflected out for a corner after a final ball by Emerson from his right. Son took a re-taken corner and this was met at the near post by Dier, whose header passed just over the bar.
Spurs were dominating possession but finding no end product at this stage. Little did we know of what was to come in the second half. There were plenty of good performances in our side, but Bentancur was impressing me a great deal at this time with his calm control and ability at either end of the pitch. Kane had a chance after Bentancur’s forward pass after 14 minutes but hit the shot wide. On another day he would have scored. Spurs had a free kick after a foul by Joelinton on Kulusevski. Dier took this and the ball passed just over the bar from 28 yards.
There was lengthy treatment for Saint-Maximin on the edge of our box after Bentancur had legitimately challenged and cleared. Romero blocked a Willock shot. Kulusevski tried a ball to Son, but Newcastle cleared, and Kane was booked when he chased back and tackled Saint-Maximin from behind in our half.
Doherty passed to Bentancur in the middle, and he fed the ball to Son whose right footed shot was held by Dubravka. After another Spurs attack around the 34 minute mark, Emerson passed to Kulusevski whose cross was headed just over by Hojbjerg, landing on the net at the back of the goal.
The Newcastle goal came as a sucker punch when Son fouled Willock right on the edge of our area in a very dangerous position, Schar capitalised with a right foot shot through the wall, beating Lloris to his left. Hugo probably should have saved this one. VAR took a while to consider a possible handball as the ball passed on its way to goal, but the goal stood.
“Sonny” had a run at goal after taking a pass from Doherty and his left foot shot went for a corner. Son took the corner which was initially met by Romero and returned via Dier. Son crossed again and Ben Davies rose to head into the net at the back post for his first Premier League goal since December 2017 at Huddersfield!
Soon after this, fourth official Graham Scott could be seen embroiled in conversation with Antonio Conte who seemed to be upset with some of Martin Atkinson’s decisions against us. There was a melee over on the far touchline in front of the East Stand which led to three players being booked, one of who was Saint-Maximin who I think considered he was getting some rough treatment.
Spurs kicked off the second half and Dan Burn was soon booked for bringing down Harry Kane. It wasn’t long before we had the lead, and Kane was the provider. He floated in a ball from deep. Son tried to make contact, but the ball reached Doherty who scored at the back post with a diving header. Again, there was a lengthy VAR review, but the goal stood, and we celebrated it twice!
Saint-Maximin had a shot go just wide almost immediately after the kick-off, but Spurs went further ahead in the 54th minute. This might have been the goal where I was bemoaning our insistence on passing backwards, but I admitted “What do I know!” after a great team goal from the back, culminating in Kane sending Kulusevski away down the right wing. His cross found Son in space in the middle, and he beat Dubravka with a well-placed left foot finish. It was “Sonny”’s 14th Premier League goal of the season and he is second (equal) behind Mo Salah in the list of Premier League scorers this season!
It was three years to the day since Spurs played their first home game at the new stadium against Crystal Palace in the Premier League. Son scored the first goal in the new stadium that day. He scored again today. It was his 27th Premier League goal at the stadium - more than any other player.
It was one-way traffic now as Spurs sought to maximise their advantage in the knowledge that goal difference will be important in this race for fourth place. Son had another darting run and passed to Kane on the left, but Newcastle cleared. Eddie Howe took off Joelinton and Manquillo for Jacob Murphy and Bruno Guimaraes. Newcastle did win a couple of corners after a Targett cross, but Spurs soon increased their lead.
At this stage I noted the impressive combination play between Romero and Kulusevski, in both halves of the pitch. Spurs’ fourth goal followed a lengthy move but ended with Doherty crossing from the left and Emerson Royal, of all people stretching and getting on the end of the cross to poke in at the near post.
It wasn’t long before Emerson was feeding the ball to Kane, who teed up son towards the left of the box. Son’s shot across the goalmouth passed wide of the keeper’s left post. Willock had a header go just over the bar at the other end following a cross from then right. Hojbjerg was on the floor during this passage of play.
Now, Eddie Howe took off his £25 million striker Chris Wood (one goal to date) in favour of club captain Jamaal Lascelles, presumably to shore up a defence which had shed 53 goals at that point. Kane had a shot go wide across goal from the right after another Kulusevski cross, but an offside flag was eventually raised. Both our recent signings – Bentancur and Kulusevski – who have had a busy international schedule, were replaced by Winks and Lucas Moura. Winks even had a shot pass just over the target after a Kane-Son combination.
Conte’s final change was Bergwijn for Emerson as we shifted to a back four with Doherty reverting to right back, and Davies playing on the left. The scoring was not over. I think it was Dier who passed forward to Lucas, who after a short burst in the middle, fed the ball forward to Bergwijn who scored with aplomb to the right of Dubravka.
Bergwijn had another chance, and it was a good effort which passed just over the bar after a clipped ball from Hojbjerg. A shot by Son after a Lucas Moura pass was easy for the Newcastle keeper. The away fans had been truly quietened in the second half and had been slinking out of the stadium before another great Kane pass reached Son, whose shot was comfortable for Dubravka. Kane had a shot himself from 22 yards which passed outside the keeper’s right post.
Spurs moved above Arsenal on goal difference into fourth place and now we have to cheer on Crystal Palace tonight!
Here are some more facts offered by Declan Mulcahy to whom I am grateful for other statistics quoted in this report:-
Tottenham have gained 14 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, now the most of any side. (Six of these points have come against Newcastle three each against Leeds and Leicester and one each against Liverpool and Southampton.) Conversely, Newcastle have dropped 24 points from leading positions in 2021-22, also now a league-high.
Since Antonio Conte's first league game in charge of Tottenham in November, only Liverpool and Manchester City (both 50) have earned more points in the Premier League than Spurs (39).
Spurs have scored 30 goals in the PL in 2022 more than any other team. Liverpool are second with 27.
This game marked three years since the first Tottenham match at their new stadium and in that time only Manchester City and Liverpool have won more points on their own patch.
Eddie Howe lost all six Premier League away games as manager versus Spurs (five for Bournemouth) by an aggregate score of 21-3.
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