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Opinion

Newcastle United sail into perfect storm

1 month ago
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One thing that I have come to accept with Newcastle United for sure.

The fans who go way over the top with their reaction to when the team gets good results, are the exact same group of people who go way over the top when NUFC are on the end of bad results.

The reaction tending to be based entirely on the scoreline.

If Newcastle United have won then the team have been great, if it is a defeat they have been rubbish.

You could almost say it is childlike…or at the very least, suggests these are Newcastle United fans who very likely haven’t ever kicked a ball in anger themselves.

The thing that makes football so great and often so painful, is the unpredictability of it. That you can play so well and yet lose, the same the other way. An inspired goalkeeper and any number of other factors can mean so often the best team doesn’t win in a football match despite dominating pretty much throughout, this very very rarely happens in other team sports.

I remember a home match against Fulham back in November 2004, it was an astonishing game. It followed on from a remarkable match only two weeks earlier when Kevin Keegan was on the wrong end of a 4-3 result with all seven goals coming in the second-half, KK’s Man City beaten by Graeme Souness’ Newcastle United.

So Fulham rolled into town, hardly had a kick, didn’t have a single corner, Newcastle peppered their goal with shots, only for Mark Crossley to have the game of his life in the visitors’ goal and Fulham scoring each of the four times they crossed the halfway line. Craig Bellamy scoring the final goal which was anything but a consolation in a 1-4 scoreline.

Nobody would claim that by the final whistle Newcastle United deserved anything but a defeat at Tottenham. However, this wasn’t a simple story of one team dominating the other for 90 minutes and the result never in doubt. I know for the simpletons out there it is a little bit painful to actually think about what they have just watched and not just react to the final scoreline and what the journalists are wanting you to think.

The first half gave absolutely no indication of the perfect storm that was to follow. Newcastle having defended well and restricted the home side to one shot on target, before NUFC then scored themselves from a soft free-kick that Lloris should have saved. That would have very much have been the story of the first half if not for the fact that Spurs then went up the other end and when a corner was cleared, Son put in a killer cross that meant any touch from a Tottenham player would give Dubravka little / no chance, which Davies did with his headed equaliser.

Nothing though suggested what was to follow as Newcastle United sailed directly into a perfect storm that was largely of their own making.

When analysing the pure stats (see below), it once again shows that football is such a stand alone sport, so different to any other. Tottenham didn’t have a single corner in the second-half, had only four shots on target, yet 1-1 became 5-1,

My mind flicked back to November 2013 and Loic Remy winning the match at White Hart Lane with the only goal of the game. Well, it actually was Tim Krul who was man of the match, creating a Premier League record of 14 saves in a match as he kept a clean sheet. Yet yesterday Martin Dubravka saves only one of the six shots he faces on target and ends up losing 5-1.

So what was this perfect storm that capsized Newcastle United on Sunday?

A ‘perfect storm’ is one usually described as a particularly violent one (storm) that comes about due to a rare combination of adverse factors. Which I think pretty much sums up events after the break at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium…

This is what I saw as the ‘rare combination of adverse factors’ that capsized Eddie Howe’s team…

Newcastle go behind almost straight after after the break.

Newcastle United immediately chase the game.

The pitch gets stretched and the Newcastle players up front and in advanced midfield positions fail to protect the ball and on numerous occasions lose possession.

Spurs are the best counter-attacking team in the country.

In Kane, Son and now Kulusevski as well, they have an attacking trio who can destroy you.

The vast acres of pitch that were opened up by Newcastle chasing the game and having a number of players in advanced positions, then gifting possession time after time.

The sight of Jonjo (The Tortoise) Shelvey repeatedly trying and failing to run after Spurs players dribbling the ball upfield in these big spaces left in the middle of the pitch, was particularly embarrassing.

With Shelvey and others failing to give the defence any kind of decent protection, that then had a knock on effect, as the defence which has performed so well (only six goals conceded in their last nine Premier League matches) as a unit, suddenly became a ragged collection of individuals and opened up the gaps between them that the likes of Kane and Son were never going to fail to take advantage of, as they threaded passes and crosses through into dangerous areas.

Kane and Son are undoubtedly the best attacking PL combination around, maybe even the best at linking up since Peter Beardsley and Andy Cole in their Newcastle days.

So once Newcastle United did what they did after half-time, it was pretty much inevitable that Tottenham would then do what they did.

I just checked up and in the 144 Premier League matches since the 2018/19 season kicked off, Kane and Son have racked up a quite incredible 182 direct goal involvements between the pair of them. The duo scoring 124 goals and getting 58 assists.

They needed little assistance from Newcastle United to do their stuff but that perfect storm described above, gave them the perfect conditions and ‘rare combination of adverse factors (for NUFC)’ that ensured disaster for the visitors.

A very bad day (second-half) at the office for Newcastle United and one that they will surely learn so many valuable lessons from, plus thankfully not many other teams have got anything like the quality of Kane and Son to punish you so comprehensively.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Sunday 3 April 4.30pm

Goals:

Tottenham:

Davies 43, Doherty 48, Son 54, Emerson 63, Bergwijn 83

Newcastle:

Schar 39

Half-time stats in brackets.

Possession was Tottenham 62% (65%) Newcastle 38% (35%)

Total shots were Tottenham 19 (8) Newcastle 8 (4)

Shots on target were Tottenham 6 (2) Newcastle 1 (1)

Corners were Tottenham 2 (2) Newcastle 3 (1)

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquillo (Guimaraes 59), Schar, Burn, Targett, Shelvey, Willock, , Joelinton (Murphy 59), Fraser, Saint-Maximin, Wood (Lascelles 70)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Dummett, Gayle, Longstaff, Ritchie, Krafth

(Eddie Howe wonders how Newcastle go from 6 goals conceded in 900 minutes to 3 in 11 – Read HERE)

(Antonio Conte sees brilliance as he reflects on Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(This is embarrassing over the top reaction to Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to Sunday’s hammering – Read HERE)

(Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

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