Tottenham v Newcastle United – Match Report

FabricioColoccini36Saturday 9 February
Tottenham 2 Newcastle United 1 (Gouffran 24)

It is a hard call but when Newcastle went a goal down after a few minutes, would I have then settled fr a final scoreline of 2-1 to the home side? Possibly.

To me the performance mattered just as much as the result today and we again had evidence that some of the play we have seen against Villa and Chelsea isn’t going to be short-lived.

The way the players picked themselves up after that early blow was very reassuring. Some of the interplay between the likes of Sissoko, Cabaye, Gouffran and Cisse was excellent, while the way the full-backs added to the attacking play hinted at exciting times ahead.

With that collection of creative/intelligent players Jonas was then in his element helping to block Bale down the wing and also getting around the rest of the pitch to pressurise the opposition and break up play.

As for Perch, he did alright but I think the experiment of keeping him in the team at the expense of Tiote will be a short-lived one.

Newcastle’s defending contributed to the killer second goal but overall they contained a dangerous Tottenham side well. I suppose though the question is whetehr Mapou would help take it onto another level. On Thursday we should see our first proper look at him against FC Metalist in the Europa League match.

This was always going to be a tough match against fourth placed Spurs and when Bale put a Ronaldo-esque free-kick over the wall from twenty five yards plus, United could have easily gone to pieces.

Coloccini sold himself to give away the free-kick and Perch could have jumped like Jonas did in the wall but you have to accept that a free-kick like that deserves a goal.

A few weeks ago I reckon we would have headed for the break at least two or three down but the recent transformation has been astonishing. Though when you have half a team of quality players added to your starting eleven; Taylor, Cabaye, Debuchy, Sissoko, Gouffran, maybe it gives you a bit of a clue.

There was no panic, the players picked themselves up and got on with the match.

There reward was weathering the storm, playing themselves back into the game and equalising!

A flowing move ended with Sissoko pulling the ball back for Gouffran who smashed it into the net via a deflection, game on after twenty four minutes.

The rest of the half saw United continue their form and just edge the half. Jonas and Gouffran massive factors in ensuring Bale and Lennon had little joy.

Layout 1Second half saw little change as the two sides cancelled each other out but possibly the crucial blow was a bad looking injury to Gouffran after an hour. Given oxygen on the pitch replays showed it may have been accidental but nevertheless crushing for Newcastle.

A great shame as Gouffran was having his best game so far and on top of his goal he was showing some really clever play as United kept possession well, whilst at the same time pressurised the home team when not having possession.

Tottenham made changes to try and grab the win and in a roundabout way it paid off, changes meant Bale went through the middle and a long clearance saw both Perch and Coloccini hesitate which invited Bale to nip in and accelerate away with the ball. Game over.

Tiote came on but our shortage of attacking options to change matches was highlighted once again, with both Marveaux and Shola anonymous, although a deflection in injury time put in Shola but Lloris was quick off his line and blocked well.

As much as a defeat can be uplifting this was it, last week we edged out a very good team and this week Newcastle were the ones edged out. If we keep playing like this we’ll be OK.

The points return may be the same but there is a world of difference between today and the tame surrender we’ve seen at places like Southampton and home to Reading.

Onwards and upwards.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto 75), Parker, Dembele (Livermore 90), Lennon, Holtby (Adebayor 69), Bale, Dempsey

Newcastle United: Krul, Debuchy, Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Cabaye, Perch (Tiote 82), Gutierrez (Shola 86), Sissoko, Gouffran (Marveaux 59), Cisse

Unused Subs: Harper, Mapou, Anita, Obertan

Ref: Phil Dowd

Crowd: 36,244

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The Mag, Issue 289, 5 April 2014, Newcastle United Magazine, NUFC

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