OPPONENTS Newcastle United
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 10th November 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane






With a win in their last game at home to Chelsea and with Fabricio Collocini and Chiek Tiote returning, Newcastle will arrive at White Hart Lane full of confidence, although their fans might arrive bleary-eyed with the ridiculous kick off time for their travelling support.  But they will meet a Spurs side who are also on a  good run, despite drawing 0-0 at Everton last week.

Alan Pardew's side have been steadily climbing up the table after a slow start and a defeat to Sunderland in the North-East derby.  The teams might be evenly matched despite the relative placing sin the table, but Spurs will have home advantage and must, make the most of that.

Tim Krul is a very good keeper, with a number of teams willing to take him on should he ever leave St. James' Park and the defence in front of him has performed well recently.  The return of Mike Williamson has steadied the ship, with newcomer Paul Dummett coming in and performing well, even chipping in with a goal against Liverpool.  With Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa also featuring in the back four, it has been strange that the line-up will now be changed with the return of centre half Collocini.  David Santon has been installed at left back and he might have a busy afternoon, with Andros Townsend's fresh legs raring to go. 

The midfield of the Magpies contains a fair amount of grafters, so the Spurs midfield five might find themselves with the Toon men in their faces, which is what they did to Chelsea to cut off the supply to their front men.  Tiote is a hard-running, hard-tackling player, as is Moussa issoko and Vurnon Anita.  Hatem Ben Arfa will run at defences to commit players and make space to either put balls into the box or have a shot, which is usually fairly accurate, while Jonas Guttierez works the line more traditionally.  Sylvain Marveuax and Gael Bigirimana are runners with the ball, who will cut inside, but Yohan Cabaye sits in front of the back four and makes forays forward when he gets the chance. 

In case you might have forgotten,  Demba Pappa Cisse is still at Newcastle, but his free-goal-scoring of last season has dried up, but the Ameobi brothers - Sammy and Shola - are both in reserve, although neither is prolific when it comes to hitting the back of the net.  One of the two more likely starters are Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy, with the latter probably having the firmest grip on a starting place.  Since leaving QPR on loan, the Frenchman has hit a good vein of scoring form and looks like a player who is able to lead the line whether holding the ball up or streaking away with pace on his own.  Gouffran scored here a couple of seasons ago, but has found himself getting into scoring positions now he gets a run out in the first team following a bad injury at the Lane.

Newcastle might be concentrating on Spurs so much that they forget their own game plan, which would allow Tottenham the opportunity to get behind them.  I think there will be two banks of four for Spurs to face, with Tiote sandwiched between them, leaving Remy on his own up top.   Again, Tottenham will have to work out how to break down the packed last third, with Holtby probably starting, with Townsend and Lennon to give pace up the flanks. 

It will be another game of patience, with Spurs eventually coming out on top and Soldado will get one of the goals, which probably won't be a penalty !!

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         Newcastle United    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Danny Rose (toe), Nacer Chadli (hamstring) and Sandro (hamstring) miss out for Spurs, who will have Lloris back and a number of players back who sat out the Europa League match against FC Sheriff on Thursday.  Emmanuel Adebayor is still not near being included in the squad.
Fabricio Collocini and Chiek Tiote are back after being injured, but Steven Taylor is still ruled out.  Defender Paul Dummett has a hamstring injury which will side-line him and Ryan Taylor is out with knee ligament damage for the long term. 

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Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)                                                                     Newcastle United  1 (1)
Premier League
Sunday 10th November 2013                                                                                                        Kick off 12:00
White Hart Lane
None Remy 13
Dawson (foul on Sissoko) 89


Debuchy (foul on Paulinho) 53
Sissoko (foul on Vertonghen)  61


Crowd :   36,042 Weather :  -
Referee :  Chris Foy (St. Helens) Assistant Referees :  Mr. A. Garratt; Mr. A. Holmes
Fourth Official :  Phil Dowd -
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Newcastle United : kit
24  Brad FRIEDEL

  2  Kyle WALKER
20  Michael DAWSON (c)
  6  Vlad CHIRICHES  (  4  Younes KABOUL 46)

19  Mousa DEMBELE  (30  SANDRO 46)

17  Andros TOWNSEND
23  Christian ERIKSEN
22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON  (18  Jermain DEFOE 69)

  9  Roberto SOLDADO

Unused subs: 
Heurelho GOMES
11  Erik LAMELA

    1  Tim KRUL

26  Mathieu DEBUCHY     
  3  David SANTON

  7  Moussa SISSOKO     
  4  Yohan CABAYE
  Chiek TIOTE
11  Yoan GOUFFRAN  (25  Gabriel OBERTAN 85)

23  Shola AMEOBI  (  8  Vurnon ANITA 60)
14  Loic REMY  (  9  Papiss Demba CISSE 75)

Unused subs: 
  2  Fabricio COLLOCINI
10  Hatem BEN ARFA
28  Sammy AMEOBI

Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas Manager :  Alan Pardew
Sponsor :   Hewlett Packard Shirt sponsor :  --
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Puma
Match report

While some boos rang out around the White Hart Lane stadium at the final whistle, it was ironic that Tottenham had produced an attacking second half performance which created more chances than they had in recent matches. However, it was only to be met by a very good goalkeeping display by Tim Krul and that ensured that Newcastle left the lane with three points having scored a single goal in the first half.

Things were going against Spurs from before the start. Hugo Lloris was to sit out the game, with his head injury causing concern to the medical team, so Granddad Friedel came in and worries about our tactic of playing a high line came into mind. With Naughton out, Vertonghen slipped into the left back position, with Chiriches keeping his place in the middle of the back four with Michael Dawson. Dembele partnered Paulinho in front of the defence, while Sigurdsson kept his place, as did Eriksen, to provide the creative spark from midfield.
Newcastle lined up with a physically strong and tall side, dressed as Brazil 1970 and for a lot of the first half, Tottenham made it look like it was watching Brazil, such was the paucity of successful passes and lack of urgency on the ball, which led to them being dispossessed. Although Tottenham started at a good tempo, they failed to trouble the Toon defence too much. The only real chance came in this period came in the 10th minute, when Roberto Soldado rose highest to meet Christian Eriksen's corner but could not get over his header and it went over the bar.  Within a couple of minutes, Spurs could have been two behind, with Newcastle making incisive passes through the Tottenham back four.  The first saw Cabaye pick out Remy running to the left of centre into the box.  As he looked like he was about to hit a left foot shot to Friedel's left, where there was more of the goal showing, out of nowhere came Vlad Chiriches, who did enough to put the striker off and concede the corner.  From it, the ball came out to Mathieu Debuchy, who hit a shot that a Newcastle player (looking offside) stepped over, causing Brad to react late and push the ball wide to the right of his goal, as it looked like creeping inside the post.  The American keeper had to be up quickly, as Cabaye was on hand to have a shot that Friedel blocked at his near post.

It didn't take long until a similar move opened the way for what was to be the only goal of the game.  A short ball out to Dembele saw him in trouble as Newcastle were closing him and Paulinho a lot nearer our own goal than they were used to.  He managed to wriggle out of that but a ball to Paulinho saw him dally on it and Gouffran took it off him, playing a pass to Remy in the same position as previously.  This time, he shimmied to Friedel's right and slotted home before Chiriches across to block the shot.  It was a poor goal to concede, as there were few options available to take a pass from Paulinho, but he didn't have a great first half (and he was not alone), carelessly giving the ball away on a couple of other occasions.  Would Lloris have been further advanced if he had been in goal ?   I am not sure that with Remy's speed, he would have been able to do much more than Friedel.

Now Spurs had to face the rare situation of coming back from going a  goal behind.

Things weren't looking good in that respect when Cabaye played a free-kick in from their right wing, but Friedel came and got a good punch on it, but things did then brighten up.  Our crosses into the box, weren't great all game, often failing to beat the first man, but when Eriksen got away on the right wing, he put in a low ball across the six yard box, which only needed a touch, but neither Soldado nor Paulinho could get to.  When Townsend gathered speed down the right, he often found three or four men around him to stop him, but his team-mates were not making the most of the space their presence afforded them, to make an angle for a pass.

Vlad Chiriches was bringing the ball out of defence well and Jan Vertonghen was finding space on the left, on one occasion cutting inside to hit a low shot, but it had insufficient power to trouble Krul although a later free-kick missed the post by a foot with the keeper left standing.  However,  the goalie had top be more alert in the 30th minute, when a straight Eriksen free-kick was back-headed at goal by Soldado from 15 yards out and Krul took off to almost claw the ball from behind him and past the post.  From the corner, there might easily have been a penalty given another referee than Chris Foy (see our game at Stoke two seasons ago).  Soldado went for a header after Krul had cleared the corner, but Remy was all over him.  And Foy played on.

Eight minutes before the break Gylfi Sigurdsson fired in a snap-shop as the ball dropped for him and it was too hot for Krul to handle, then, five minutes later, a quick passing move between Soldado and Townsend set up a chance for Paulinho.  He hit it first time and it seemed to be curling into the top of the goal, but Krul dived to tip the ball over the top.  From Eriksen's corner, Dawson headed wide, but Chiriches had gone up for the ball too and came away with blood dripping from his nose and it proved to be his last involvement in the match as Tottenham finished the half with ten men and then brought on Kaboul for the Romanian after half-time.

Paralympic athlete Richard Whitehead was the half-time guest urging Spurs to a better second half, which, strangely saw them attacking the Park Lane goal.  Sandro came on in place of Dembele to firm up the defensive midfield and Spurs started to play quicker and were moving better at the start of the second period.

A cross form Townsend found Christian Eriksen and his low effort from inside the box was kept out somehow by Krul's boot, then a Gylfi free-kick was deflected and Krul dived low to get a hand to it an then he denied Kaboul from point blank range.  Soldado had a shot wide, before Newcastle broke to the other end, with Sissoko's lung-busting run ending with a shot that Friedel had to turn aside.  Newcastle were sitting back a bit, but the difference as that Spurs were finding space and Sigurdsson's effort from outside the box flew over to abuse from some Tottenham fans.  They weren't complaining when a similar effort flew in against Hull.

Andros had not been getting a lot of joy coming inside, as his shots were being blocked or he ran into a mass of bodies, but one time he did get a shot away and Krul could only punch it into the air and when it came down to the right of his goal, Soldado was under it, but it was difficult to gain enough power to trouble the Newcastle goalie.  Another effort by the winger with 20 minutes left saw the keeper get a hand to it, but the ball went just behind Roberto, who would have been odds on to score had it dropped in front of him.

Even though Newcastle were battening down the hatches, they could still have grabbed another goal, as a long ball from the halfway line, played diagonally to the left hand corner of the Tottenham box, found Papiss Cisse, who hit it first time on the volley and it flew a foot or so over the opposite angle of crossbar and post.  While he has not been as prolific this season as last, he is still capable of scoring outrageous goals.

Krul was once more using all of his body parts to stop Spurs, as the game entered the last ten minutes.  A low ball in from Townsend was teed up by Defoe and Paulinho drove an effort at goal, but the Dutch keeper stopped it with his legs again.  When Spurs finally did beat him, Vertonghen's header from a corner came crashing back off the crossbar and then you just knew it wasn't going to be our day.  There was a vain shout for a penalty as the ball pinged around the Newcastle box and when the ball was cleared Michael Dawson, who had been commandeered as an auxiliary forward, was back to put in an agricultural challenge on Sissoko that deserved a booking. But by then the game was up. 

Paulinho had a weak downward header straight at the goalkeeper and ours had to rush out to volley the ball away as Cisse closed in on a long through ball.

A disappointing day as we could have gone third with a win, but as always seems to be the case when that is on offer, we fail under the expectancy.  And it is that expectancy that might be weighing heavy on the team.  Spurs have no right to walk over teams in this League.  They have to earn the right to boss games and we did not boss the midfield at all, even when we were on top.  You can say, "blah di blah, there are no easy games", but even what are supposedly the easy games can be made difficult if you don't concentrate and work hard.  Even Barcelona work incredibly hard to be able to play their taki-taka football.

Once more, we are left with an international break before we can get back into league action, so the players who remain will be worked with and the others will have to try and gel into the team formation on their return.

Unlike the West Ham game, where we failed to make too many chances, here we did and were met with an unbeatable keeper on the day.  We lost the game in the first half, when we were too slow on the ball, when they were quick to close down any space or player on the ball, thus meaning the pressure was on our back four before they knew it.

Kirk Hammerton


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 2 Cardiff City 0 Saturday
Chelsea 2 West Bromwich Albion 2 Saturday
Crystal Palace 0 Everton 0 Saturday
Liverpool 4 Fulham 0 Saturday
Norwich City 3 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Southampton 4 Hull City 1 Saturday
Manchester United 1 Arsenal 0 Sunday
Sunderland 1 Manchester City 0 Sunday
Swansea City 3 Stoke City 3 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 11 8 1 2 22 10 25 +12
2 Liverpool 11 7 2 2 21 10 23 +11
3 Southampton 11 6 4 1 15 4 22 +11
4 Chelsea 11 6 3 2 18 10 21 +8
5 Everton 11 5 5 1 14 10 20 +4
6 Manchester United 11 6 2 3 18 13 20 +5
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 11 6 2 3 9 6 20 +3
8 Manchester City 11 6 1 4 28 12 19 +16
9 Newcastle United 11 5 2 4 15 16 17 -1
10 West Bromwich Albion 11 3 5 3 12 12 14 0
11 Aston Villa 11 4 2 5 11 12 14 -1
12 Hull City 11 4 2 5 9 14 14 -5
13 Cardiff City 11 3 3 5 9 15 12 -6
14 Swansea City 11 3 3 5 15 15 12 0
15 Norwich City 11 3 2 6 9 21 11 -12
16 West Ham United 11 2 4 5 9 11 10 -2
17 Stoke City 11 2 4 5 9 12 10 -3
18 Fulham 11 3 1 7 10 19 10 -9
19 Sunderland 11 2 1 8 8 22 7 -14
20 Crystal Palace 11 1 1 9 6 21 4 -15


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  6th
Position after the weekend :  7th

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