Spurs get it right as Newcastle feel the full force

Brian Jeeves

Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Report

Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Newcastle United

If you don’t succeed the first time, try, try again… and at the sixth attempt, Ange Posecoglou’s Spurs forged ahead, held their nerve and didn’t look back, returning to winning ways with a resounding 4-1 Premier League triumph over Newcastle United at an upbeat Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It has been a frustrating few weeks for injury-hit Spurs, their manager, and most importantly, the supporters. They know something is there. The football, at times, has been sparkling. Tottenham’s application under Postecoglou is not up for question. Delivering the plan, perhaps not so? Facing Eddie Howes’ Newcastle, a side plagued by similarly frustrating issues, offered an opportunity for solace.

The Spurs boss kept it simple: “I guess from our perspective, again, what’s important is that we impose ourselves on the game, which we have done for the most part, but not just impose ourselves, also make sure we have that cutting edge to take advantage of the dominance we’ve had in games, which we haven’t done up until now, particularly in recent games, and especially against a team like Newcastle, because they are always a goal threat. So, if we are dominant in periods, we need to take advantage of that.

“We want to set our standards in terms of the way we want to play, and we’re not going to waver on that. I’m sure the players are as determined as anyone to turn things around in terms of the result process but, at the same time, not wavering from the football we want to play.”

Postecoglou made two changes to the side that slipped to defeat at the hands of West Ham, with Pape Matar Sarr and Richarlison replacing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Giovani Lo Celso, both named amongst the substitutes.

Once again, the North Londoners started with vigour. Cristian Romero’s goalbound header was hacked clear by Miguel Almiron, meanwhile, Richarlison was a whisker away from connecting with Heung-min Son’s driven centre. But midway through the opening period, the hosts forged ahead. Son did superbly well on the left before delivering, near post, to Destiny Udogie to net his first goal in a Spurs shirt. It was no more than the home side deserved.

Sarr passed up a glorious opportunity to swiftly add a second, scuffing wide after Brennan Johnson had fashioned an opening. But the Spurs were to double their lead. A relieved Richarlison broke his duck after some more superb wing play from Son.

Johnson was agonisingly close to a third when his angled, right-footed strike clipped the outside of an upright. 

Postecoglou didn’t mince his words following the loss to West Ham. Surely, with that in mind, his charges wouldn’t squander lead and prove to be so careless? On this occasion, they weren’t.

Richarlison’s first touch appeared heavy after reacting to Pedro Porro’s measured pass. However, his second, steering the ball beyond Martin Dubravka, was greeted with delight as the Spurs extended their advantage further. The Brazilian provided the proverbial ‘London Busses’ mommet. You wait ages for one, then two come along at once.

The unlucky Johnson again hit the frame of the goal, while Dubravka clung to Dejan Kulusevski and Porro’s speculative attempts. But when the Newcastle stopper upended Son, the South Korean picked himself up, dusted himself off, and rolled home Tottenham’s fourth from the resulting spot-kick.

Dubravka blocked from substitute Oliver Skipp, while Son was also agonisingly close to extending the advantage.

But Spurs reminded Postecoglou and the fans that they are far from the finished article when Callum Wilson teed up Joelinton to reduce the arrears following some woefully hesitant defending.

Back on track? I’d whisper that in these parts. Spurs consolidated fifth place, three points off the Champions League berths. They return to Premier League action on Friday, December 15, when they face Nottingham Forest at the City Ground (8pm).

Tottenham Hotspur: Vicario, Pedro Porro, Romero, Davies, Udogie, Bissouma, Sarr (Hojbjerg 73′), Kulusevski, Johnson (Skipp 86′), Son (Capt) (Donley 90′), Richarlison (Lo Celso 73′) Subs not used: Forster (GK), Royal, Dorrington, Bryan, Veliz

Booked: Romero (foul)

Goals: Udogie 26′, Richalison 37′, 60′, Son (penalty) 86′

Newcastle United: Dubravka, Trippier (Krafth 84′), Lascelles (Capt), Schar, Livramento (Hall 64′), Guimaraes, Miley, Joelinton, Almiron (Longstaff 64′), Gordon (Richie 64′), Isak (Wilson 64′) Subs not used: Karius (GK), Gillespie (GK), Dummett, A Muprhy

Booked: Lascelles (foul), Joelinton (foul), Trippier (foul)

Goals: Joelinton 90+2′

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Assistants: Simon Bennett and Dan Robathan

Fourth Official: Tom Bramall

VAR: Peter Bankes

Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard

Attendance: 61,171

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk