|DATE||Sunday 16th October 2011|
|VENUE||St. James Park|
With Newcastle having had a fine start to the season, Tottenham make one of their least favourite journeys at a time when they are stricken by injury and have an important Europa League match coming up on Thursday.
With Alan Pardew having won over the Toon Army, his side have performed well, despite losing some key players over the last two transfer windows. Andy Carroll, Joey Barton, Jose Enrique, Wayne Routledge, Xisco and Kevin Nolan have all departed the black and white shirts and in have come Demba Ba, Leon Best, Yohan Cabaye, Hatem ben Arfa, Mehdi Abeid and David Santon. Santon has been hit by injury straight away and some of the others have been out for a few games, but the squad appears to have pulled together to be more solid and with more of a purpose despite some off the field distractions.
Nile Ranger seems to be signing his warrant out of the club with troubles away from the game and the on-going distrust of owner Mike Ashley means that things are not always as bright as they may appear through the black and white glasses. However, on the field, they have gone on a good run and sit fourth without a defeat in the league so far this campaign.
If Spurs are to change that situation, they will have to cope with the side that goes forward well, but has a little trouble defending ... much like Tottenham on occasion. With Cabaye having more influence on their passing and attacking with each game, Spurs need to close down that supply line and on the Magpies' team, Chiek Tiote will be trying to do the same for them. His role and that of Scott Parker could be crucial in the outcome of the match. With Parker returning to Newcastle, where he previously played, it will be an interesting game for him.
Without Adebayor, should he not recover from a hamstring injury, Spurs may revert to the 4-4-1-1 formation with van der Vaart behind Defoe, leaving it hard for the ball to stick up front. However, with Bale and Walker on either flank, it will give the Newcastle midfield and defence something to think about.
Despite the international break, Spurs should be confident after their recent run of four wins in the league and they have the ability to go to Newcastle and win, but the belief might be dented when they step out in front of a hostile Geordie crowd. But I believe this team is tougher than some of those in the past who have folded in the North-East and while it may be that they have to soak up periods of pressure from the home side, I think they are good enough to bring back at least a point from their travels.
|PREDICTION||Newcastle United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , history, etc.|
UNITED TEAM NEWS :
Centre-half Mike Williamson is out with a broken arm and Haris Vucikic joins him with a hand break. Also missing is Alan Smith, who is hamstrung. Doubtful ahead of the meeting is another hamstring victim, Sammy Ameobi and a groin injury may rule out Danny Guthrie.
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Tottenham's injury woes continue with Vedran Corluka (foot), Niko Kranjcar (thigh) and Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring), Sandro (calf) and Aaron Lennon (groin) all out or the subject of late decision about their likelihood to play. William Gallas (calf), Tom Huddlestone (ankle) and Michael Dawson (Achilles) are all definitely ruled out.
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Newcastle United 2 (0)
Sunday 16th October 2011
Venue : St. James Park
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1)
Kick off 16:00
Shola Ameobi 86
van der Vaart (p) 40
|Crowd : 46,420||Weather : Warm, dry|
|Referee : Lee Probert (Wiltshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. P. Kirkup; Mr. A. Watts|
|Fourth Official : Lee Mason||-|
|Newcastle United kicked off and played towards the Sir John Hall Stand in the first half.|
|Newcastle United :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
3 Santon 77)
Shola Ameobi 71
11 van der Vaart (18 Defoe 65 )
10 Adebayor ( 9 Pavlyuchenko 89)
|Manager : Alan Pardew||Manager : Harry Redknapp|
|Sponsor : Northern Rock||Shirt sponsor : Aurasma|
|Kit Supplier : Puma||Kit Supplier : Puma|
A game which started slowly burst into life in the second half to produce an open game that ended 2-2 with a late equaliser coming from the home team.
Spurs had twice led the game, but had failed to kill off the game, as a determined Newcastle side fought back to earn a point with two equalisers. It was a game that was there for the winning, as the home team started cautiously, with Spurs starting with Emmanuel Adebayor up front and with Rafael van der Vaart in the hole behind him, trying to counter the midfield of Newcastle, which has been their strong area this season. Early forays into the Newcastle box ended with interception or over-hit delivery. van der Vaart almost got on the end of a ball from Benoit Assou-Ekotto that Adebayor stepped over, but a defender got to the ball first. Maintaining a good passing ethic in the opening stages, Spurs gradually got the ascendancy, with chances being created for Scott Parker and Jake Livermore, but one was blocked and the other went off target.
Brad Friedel had to be on his toes in the 13th minute when Ryan Taylor had Newcastle's first go at goal and his low, whipped-in free-kick had Friedel carefully watching it as Leon Best tried to put him off with a run across him. It took another ten minutes for their next effort on target, with Demba Ba heading a cross straight at the Spurs keeper, but Newcastle were gaining confidence and were building a period of possession and when Ledley King had to limp off with a groin injury after half an hour, it meant that Sebastien Bassong's entry was during a time of pressure on the defence.
A couple of corners and a free-kick were dealt with and Cabaye shot way too high, but Spurs were dealing with the attacks the Magpies threw at us. Then Spurs started to move the ball upfield. Modric was stopped from releasing Adebayor by Coloccini's touch and then, when Cabaye lingered in possession, Livermore nicked the ball away from him to the Togo striker and as he took a touch, Steven Taylor put in a typically clumsy and heavy challenge that took Adebayor's leg and brought him down in the box. After a little thought, referee Probert pointes to the spot despite the protestations of the Toon players.
Up stepped Rafa in the 40th minute to send Krul the wrong way and the ball heading for the inside of the side netting on the right of the goal to give Tottenham the lead, when it looked like Newcastle might be the ones to open the scoring. The home side stepped up the pace in the remaining few minutes of the half and slung balls into the area, but again, they were well defended by Tottenham.
However, the same could not be said three minutes into the second half, when Gutierrez evaded two weak challenges from Modric and Walker to cross for Demba Ba to slide in at the far post and squeeze the ball past Friedel. It was not the start to the half that Tottenham needed, with a 15 minute spell without too much to threaten our goal the recipe to quell the crowd and cause the Magpies a panic in how they were going to get back into the game. But at 1-1, the support was once more vocal, after being silent for much of the first half and the team were boosted by a gift of an equaliser.
The game got a little strung out, with Adebayor going close at one end and Obertan at the other, before Modric hit a tame shot straight at Krul with better options open to him in Adebayor and van der Vaart. Injuries to Walker and Tiote prefaced Harry deciding to replace van der Vaart with Jermain Defoe. Within five minutes, the move had paid off. Luka Modric moved the ball to Parker, who played it in to Adebayor, but the striker flicked it on to Defoe who was behind him on the edge of the box. Taking one touch, he turned Taylor and with his second set the ball up for his third to power it past Krul before he had time to react and the ball was past his left hand, low into the net. It was a piece of finishing of the highest quality from a player full of confidence.
Defoe was almost in shortly after, when he was released by Modric, but with Coloccini for company, he could only hit the side netting, as he was pushed wide. The Newcastle front two were replaced by Ameobi and Ben Arfa, with Santon coming on for Simpson. However, with the home team trying to re-organise, Walker almost hit the target from long-range, but his shot dipped too late and went over the bar. A build-up from right to left and then to the right again, saw Obertan lay the ball into the path of Tiote, who hit a powerful shot but it was straight at Friedel, who could jump up to push it over the top and then a couple of minutes later, the keeper was sharp enough to dive to his left to keep the ball out, as Ryan Taylor bent a free kick from 20 yards out around the wall to Brad's left.
Spurs had a few chances to put the game out of Newcastle's reach, with Adebayor deciding to go alone through the middle and was robbed of the ball and then Kyle Walker won the ball on the right touch-line halfway inside his own half and then set off on a run that saw players try to bring him down, but he kept going until he got to the edge of the Newcastle area, but instead of releasing it to Adebayor inside him, he tried to go outside Coloccini, who used his body to take the ball off the tired full-back.
Two minutes later Spurs paid for not making the most of the openings and a headed clearance went to the edge of the box, where Livermore and Taylor went for the ball, which squirted out to Ameobi on the left and he went past Walker to fire a low shot across Friedel and past the goalie's left hand to nestle the ball in the bottom corner of the net. It was a very good finish, but one which was sloppy from Tottenham's point of view and the three points slipped out of view, with the need to hang onto the one becoming more important as time was left for the home team to mount a grandstand finish.
Defoe got away on the right channel in the box, with his first shot being blocked and then Krul beating away his follow-up drive, then the little striker was in space on the left, but it was Newcastle who could have won it in added time. A foul by Modric earned him a yellow card and more importantly gave the Magpies a chance to put the ball into the box from the left wing. As it came into the far post, Coloccini met it low down with his foot, but instead of putting the ball goal-wards, he knocked it square and Ameobi was there to shoot at goal, but his shot was blocked out to Coloccini again, but this time he got the ball in the right direction, but could not wrap his foot around it enough to get it on target. Still there was time for the ball to be worked on the Spurs left and Gutierrez hit a low cross shot that Friedel should have taken cleanly, but had to have a second go at after almost letting it slip from his grasp.
So, a point apiece and another game unbeaten for both sides. For Newcastle, they still have to lose this season, while Tottenham are on a five game unbeaten run and sit three pints behind Newcastle with a game in hand. It was another example of how Spurs have to improve to challenge at the top or to get into the top four. The ability to seal wins when leading needs to be ingrained in the players and the soft goals we give away do cost us points. Admittedly, it was at a time when we had lost Ledley King, who looks like he might be out for a while with a groin pull, but the defence have to cope without the captain at times and that defending starts before the ball gets to the back four.
A point would have been acceptable before the game, but having lead twice it feels like points lost.
Let's hope there is a return to winning ways next week.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Manchester City||4||Aston Villa||1||Saturday|
|Norwich City||3||Swansea City||1||Saturday|
|Queens Park Rangers||1||Blackburn Rovers||1||Saturday|
|Wigan Athletic||1||Bolton Wanderers||3||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||2||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||Sunday|
|12||Queens Park Rangers||8||2||3||3||6||14||9||-8|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||8||2||2||4||7||10||8||-3|
Position before match :
Position after match : 6th
Position after the weekend : 6th
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