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Opinion

Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2 – For a change, a match I didn’t hate watching

4 months ago
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I must admit, I was shocked to see an actual change in the line-up before kickoff, maybe someone locked Bruce in the toilets before the line-ups were decided?

It’s a little depressing that even a formation change is viewed as a positive game changer.

Murphy and Ritchie as wing-backs and Sean Longstaff replacing the footballing ghost that is Jeff Hendrick (prayers answered on that account) could only be an improvement, I thought before kick-off.

In a gameweek where Sheffield United frustrated a dominant Leeds and were hugely unlucky not to nick a point, and Big Sam’s Baggies (trademark pending) thoroughly demolished Tuchel’s previously unbeaten Chelsea, maybe another upset could be on the cards?

A shot on target from Joelinton in the first two minutes? Certainly more promising than last time’s anonymous display.

I found the initial parts of the game quite scrappy, with neither team really having many clear cut efforts, the best chance coming from a truly phenomenal double save by Lloris from a Gayle header.

Joelinton, always good at running the channels but always loses his head in the box? Think again!

Of course Krafth immediately ruined his celebrations by inexplicably leaving the ball for Kane to score, thanks mate. Just to add insult to what was a relatively close match, Kane then went on quickly to score an absolute belter to take the lead.

The second half was equally scrappy and contested, with Willock winning a goalmouth scramble to draw things level in what I viewed as a thoroughly deserved draw.

All in all, a reasonably positive game (although anything would be a positive compared to the shambles last time out). If only we were more clinical in front of goal, Newcastle may have walked away with more than a last gasp draw!

Sloppy defending

Four words. What was Krafth thinking?

Clinical forward in the opposition team? Check.

Dangerous ball coming across goal? Check.

What to do? Fake a touch and give him a clear run on goal. Of course.

Why he was starting over Clark or Fernandez boggles the mind, especially given that if Krafth had the awareness we may well have nicked a winner and not an equaliser.

Two up top going forwards?

Obviously an attacking change had to be made after only one goals in the previous three games and Gayle / Joelinton had a surprising number of chances.

After ASM came on and changed the dynamic, the extra player in the box caused Spurs all sorts of problems that led to Willock’s equaliser. Maybe, just maybe, this is a combination worth trying again against Burnley, especially if Wilson is fit to start next week.

Effort, effort and more effort

All of the workrate and positivity that was absent from the Brighton game made a dramatic return this week, with players running the channels and chasing down long balls.

Almiron in particular seemed to be everywhere, from making a goal line clearance to deny a Spurs winner, to contesting the ball and assisting Willock’s goal at the other end. If the players continue to work this hard, in spite of the current manager / owner / tactics, we may just scrape through another season yet.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2 – Sunday 4 April 2.05pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Joelinton 28, Willock 85

Tottenham:

Kane 30, 34

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Spurs 59% (58%) Newcastle 41% (42%)

Total shots were Spurs 11 (4)  Newcastle 22 (11)

Shots on target were Spurs 5 (3) Newcastle 6 (4)

Corners were Spurs 3 (1) Newcastle 7 (4)

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Murphy (Manquillo 83), Krafth (Willock 79), Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Gayle (Saint-Maximin 71), Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Matt Longstaff, Lewis, Hendrick, Anderson

Crowd: 00,000

(Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s draw – Read HERE)

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