Tottenham Hotspur were just behind Newcastle United at home after Fabian Schar fired a free-kick home, but a second-half riot gave Antonio Conte’s men the win
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Tottenham Hotspur went into the Premier League game with Newcastle United knowing they could capitalize Manchester United’s blip on Saturday and step up their European push, and they did so despite a brief moment of shock in the first half.
A lot had changed since Spurs and newcastle last met in October. On that occasion, Nuno Espirito Santo and Steve Bruce were in the dugouts for a 3-2 Tottenham win, but Antonio Conte and Eddie Howe have since joined the group and provided an upward trend in their respective teams’ results.
Conte’s side started the day in fifth place, with United drawing at home leicester As a result, Ralf Rangnick’s team stayed behind despite one game west ham United passed the North London side before kick-off on goal difference. Spurs arguably overshadowed the first half, with neither side looking particularly dangerous, but the visitors took the lead when Fabian Schar’s free-kick beat Hugo Lloris.
Spurs weren’t far behind, however, as Ben Davies headed them level from a Son Heung-min cross, which they took advantage of after the break. Matt Doherty put the hosts in front for the first time in the game and headed in at the back post before Son added another.
Emerson Royal secured the result with Spurs’ fourth place before making way for Steven Bergwijn, who was fifth in the closing stages. Here are Mirror Football’s talking points as the Londoners kept their top four hopes very much alive despite some jittery moments.
action pics via Reuters)
A game of two halves for Spurs full-backs
Much of Tottenham’s best attacking play in recent weeks has come from flying full-backs, with Matt Doherty popping up under Conte and either Ryan Sessegnon or Sergio Reguilon on the opposite flank. However, when Reguilon joined Sessegnon on the treatment table, that balance was lost in the opening 45 minutes.
Not only did Spurs lose the balance that right and left footed offered, but Doherty’s move to left – with Emerson Royal at the other end – lessened the Irishman’s influence. This meant the hosts had to find different attacking avenues, not always the easiest with the more conservative midfield pairing of Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
That changed quickly after the break, however, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Conte told the two to turn up the heat. Both full-backs put themselves on the scoresheet and both did so after falling into forward positions they didn’t really occupy before the break.
It might have been tempting for the manager to switch to a back four and bring creativity to midfield. Instead, however, Spurs found a way to make their Plan A more effective, with devastating results.
Llori’s worries over
Hugo Lloris’ afternoon was almost over to It was quiet just before the break, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for failing to save Schar’s free-kick. So did the France goalkeeper, who appeared to be as furious with himself as everyone else after his hand wasn’t strong enough to force the ball wide.
The club captain has been important to Spurs throughout his time in north London but is not averse to the occasional blunder. And this was certainly one of those.
There was another nervous moment in the second half as the keeper rushed out of his box to intercept a long ball but lost to Joelinton. He could ultimately have been saved by an offside flag on that occasion, but Spurs should still be concerned about how quickly calm can turn into panic.
Bruno Guimaraes was not considered ready for 90 minutes as he was in South America during the international break. The Brazilian was involved in both of his country’s World Cup qualifiers, scored his first international goal in a win against Bolivia but started off the bench at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Newcastle looked like a more solid side with the former Lyonnais in the middle of the park and for a while there were signs they could show the same solidity without him. However, Spurs’ third goal was the proof the visitors needed that they needed their January signing on the pitch.
Allan Saint-Maximin showed some impressive early touches for the visitors, but even he looked like he was trying to overdo it at times. Both men will be key in ensuring Eddie Howe’s team finish as well as they can and the manager will be thankful the last international break is over.
action pics via Reuters)
Kane the Creator once more
When Harry Kane gave Spurs the lead in the second half of the season, it was his first First League goal of the campaign. He’s since moved into double digits for league strikes, but the creative talent we’ve seen last season had dissipated.
Nobody had more assists in the Premier League than Kane’s 14 last season, but he only had one before the turn of the year – including against Newcastle. Since then, however, the one before Sunday’s game had become a five, and he also dropped low to provide the cross for Doherty’s opener.
The England captain could have added another assist later, sending Son on target with a superb pass from his own half. Ultimately, however, the South Korean international failed to capitalize on the chance.
action pics via Reuters)
The race for the top 4 is still alive
Losing to Newcastle would have been a huge blow to Spurs but instead they have things very much in their own hands. The timing of Davies’ equalizer is crucial in that regard because who knows how they would have coped if a half-time deficit had been compounded by the pressure of the larger task that awaited them.
Conte’s side were in ninth place when the Italian took over after losing five of his first ten games. However, as we approach the business end of the season, they are very active in the race for fourth place.
The pressure is there now arsenalthe travels crystal palace on Monday night in hopes of maintaining their own momentum. If they don’t get three points at Selhurst Park, the rearranged North London Derby could become even more important.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/tottenham-newcastle-lloris-kane-son-26624322 Tottenham 5-1 Newcastle: Spurs smash five to make top 4 statement - 5 talking points