Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Newcastle United
Brian Jeeves reporting from Wembley Stadium
Turning the clock back to February 2, 2019, and a dramatic late winner for Spurs at Wembley against a dogged Magpies outfit…
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR provided their second Premier League ‘late show’ inside four days as Heung-min Son’s goal seven minutes from time saw off a stubborn Newcastle United side in an otherwise scrappy encounter at Wembley Stadium.
Two goals in the final ten minutes against Watford on Wednesday evening had closed the gap on the top two to just two points. As a result Spurs boss, Mauricio Pochettino focused, on the positives as talk of a title challenge were whispered amongst the Lillywhites faithful. Nevertheless, the Spurs chief was mindful that a stellar week at Newcastle has also risen expectation in the North-East: “In reality? If you see the table, of course, we are there,” the Spurs chief explained.
“There’s a lot of games to play and then it’s about if we are going to achieve that or if we work for that.
“Sometimes you can see a side that won the Premier League and one that is fighting for the relegation and there isn’t too much difference. And that may happen tomorrow but we will make sure we will compete in the best.
The problems facing Rafa Benitez made those recently fronting the Lillywhites chief seem somewhat insignificant. Nevertheless, having dusted off the chequebook, the Magpies hierarchy had handed the Spaniard an opportunity to bolster his ranks with the record signing of Paraguayan international Miguel Almirón – albeit subject to a work permit – coupled with Monaco defender, Antonio Barreca, on loan until the end of the season.
And having dispatched champions, Manchester City, by the odd goal in three during the week, there was an air of confidence surrounding the Geordie fans as they arrived at the home of football. Their optimism should perhaps have been dented when Lucas Moura arrived unmarked, only to nod wide after Erik Lamela had expertly picked him out. Then, Lamela headed against the face of the bar after Jan Vertonghen had centred.
Salomon Rondon was blocked, while Matt Ritchie fired over as Newcastle finally offered a meaningful threat of their own. Meanwhile, Martin Dubravka pushed out Moussa Sissoko’s attempt against his former employers, this after Christian Eriksen’s flag-kick had found its way right across goal.
DeAndre Yedlin snubbed out the busy Son, while Davinson Sanchez headed wide as Spurs continued to look the more likely immediately after the break. However, the home side were almost undone when Rondon headed Yedlin’s pinpoint centre against the foot of an upright.
Frustration was notably rising amongst the home crowd as a stubborn Newcastle rearguard rebuffed their side’s toil. Fabian Schar somehow hooked off the line from Eriksen. Meanwhile, Hugo Lloris – who had spent much of the game as a mere spectator – produced a superb save to keep out a speculative attempt from Ayoze Perez.
Ritchie knocked off the line from Eriksen to increase Tottenham’s anguish, but with time running out the talismanic Son broke the deadlock.
Magpies goalkeeper, Dubravka, certainly should have done better, but that was of little concern to Spurs as the South Korean profited by firing through the Slovakian stoppers desperate dive after Fernando Llorente had teed him up.
This victory carried Tottenham above Manchester City into second place, four points behind leaders, Liverpool, who play at West Ham United on Monday night.
Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action on Sunday, February 10 when Leicester City are the visitors to Wembley Stadium (1:30pm).
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris (Capt), Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez, Heung-min Son (Eric Dier 89’), Harry Winks, Erik Lamela (Danny Rose 78’), Moussa Sissoko, Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura (Fernando Llorente 60’) Subs not used: Paulo Gazzaniga (GK), Victor Wanyama, Kyle Walker-Peters, Juan Foyth
Goals: Heung-min Son 83’
Newcastle United: Martin Dubravka, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles (Capt), Salomon Rondon, Matt Ritchie (Antonio Barraca 86’), Isaac Hayden, Ayoze Perez, Florian Lejeune, DeAndre Yedlin, Christian Atsu (Kenedy 82’), Sean Longstaff Subs not used: Freddie Woodman (GK), Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez, Javier Manquillo
Booked: DeAndre Yedlin (foul)
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Simon Long and Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official: Lee Probert
Reaction to follow…..