A trip to Wembley used to be a big thing but Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0 made a mockery…
Following the incredible win on Tuesday night, this was a game I started to look forward to, rather than one that only seemed to be an impending doomed defeat.
Having jacked in my season ticket, and made the pledge to myself not to go to anymore games at SJP until Ashley has gone, away games are my only option to see us play now. So what better than a trip to Wembley… after all it’s only a 10 minute tube ride for me.
A trip to Wembley used to be a big thing, but Saturday’s game made a mockery out of the fact Spurs are still playing football there this season, even if they are second in the league (at the time I write this).
Once again fans had been mugged off by an early kick off.
Anyway, regardless of the result, it was always set to be a good day with football and rugby accompanying drinks from dawn til dusk.
We were under the cosh from the first minute, with Rafa setting us up very defensively as per usual. That is obviously how you would expect to set up away to Spurs, but when the atmosphere is flat, in an empty stadium, in the freezing cold, it makes for a pretty depressing 90 minutes.
Spurs did have quite a few chances in the first half and should have gone 1-0 up a few times with chances for Lucas and Sissoko. The big French donkey has become a laughing stock in recent years, but I have to be honest, every time I have seen him play this season for Spurs he seems to be doing really well. Must be a guy in a costume.
Newcastle just looked so slow on the counter attack. When you play five at the back, the transition from defence to attack has to be so quick if you are going to have any effect on the game. This is arguably where Perez and Atsu let us down most, as although they aren’t the slowest, they lack that ability to turn on the ball in the middle of the park and really set us away. This was something Ben Arfa was a genius at doing, and I suspect that added pace on the ball is a part of Rafa’s logic in signing Almiron.
Saying that, Perez and Atsu didn’t do too bad! Atsu did his best to create things down the left hand side and at times looked dangerous. Whereas Perez had one of those days in which he seemed to do the hard work and wriggle out of seemingly impossible situations, but when it came to the easy stuff of a simple pass or cross into the box, he fell apart.
A prime example being that Perez should have buried our only chance of the first half, which came from good work by him originally, but he scuffed his shot when it should have hit the back of the net.
The second half was more of the same with Tottenham putting us under pressure but in truth, Newcastle did look comfortable and weren’t exactly hanging on. We should have been 1-0 up as Rondon’s early second half header was whiskers away as it hit the post.
Spurs had two chances of their own with Schar clearing off the line and Llorente floating a header over the bar. Perez then had a half-chance to score as he forced a good save from Lloris when arguably the better option was to play Ritchie through on goal.
Alas, Tottenham finally broke the deadlock with 10 minutes to go, Son’s strike went straight through Dubravka’s hands in to the back of the net. A bit of a clanger in truth!
A big few days for the manager but now attention will divert back to what he can do with his team on the pitch.
We all know the facts and the context, but if we get players to full strength and Almiron comes into the side, then the pressure will be on Rafa, especially from the national media, to start picking up results.
3,200 fans made the trip to Wembley which is all the more remarkable given the early kick off time.
I am sure that every one of the 3,200 will admit that playing in front of a half empty stadium, with home support as quiet as Tottenham’s, completely killed the atmosphere. Throw in the less than exciting football on show and the freezing weather conditions, it didn’t make for much of a spectacle.
Now I know the new stadium has been badly handled by Spurs, and their fans have a right not to be happy, but if only 41,000 can turn up to Wembley on a Saturday early kick off (with 3,200 being Toon fans) then how are they going to fill their new stadium? I am sure at first the novelty of the stadium will sell its own seats, but a few bad results and if they sell some of their better players, we may be looking at a stadium with 20,000 empty seats for a long time.
A difficult run of fixtures is coming to an end once we play away to Wolves. With the wins over Man City, and Cardiff, I think we have done well to be sitting outside of the relegation zone right now. By the time the Huddersfield game comes around on the 23rd, with the two new signings available, plus the likes of Ki, Muto, Shelvey and Diame back to fitness, you would expect us to pick up some results that will see us safe.
Also, when was the last time Newcastle won a game at Wembley… must be the 1950s!?
Stats from BBC Sport:
Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Tottenham: Son 83
Possession was Tottenham 72% Newcastle 28%
Total shots were Tottenham 21 Newcastle 8
Shots on target were Tottenham 4 Newcastle 2
Corners were Tottenham 6 Newcastle 3
Referee: Andre Marriner
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie (Barreca 86), Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu (Kenedy 82), Perez, Rondon
Woodman, Clark, Joselu, Manquillo Fernandez
Crowd: 41,219 (Newcastle 3,200)
(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Wembley defeat HERE)
(Please send us your NUFC player ratings v Tottenham HERE)
(Mauricio Pochettino reacts to the win over Newcastle HERE)
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