OPPONENTS Newcastle United
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 11th February 2012
VENUE White Hart Lane






Newcastle are having a very commendable season as the campaign almost enters the last third and under Alan Pardew, they have become a tight unit who are well organised and difficult to break down.  They also have a collective responsibility in the team that makes them competitive and well organised.

With some shrewd buys, Pardew has made the Magpies a team who work hard and deny opposition space, while trying to open them up with wide players getting the ball into their physically strong strikers.  Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are both tall, well-built specimens and they have proved to be a stronger pairing than Ameobi and Ranger, who are both out injured at the moment.  They possess good leaping ability and are good on the floor too, with Ba having a prolific season and Cisse scoring on his debut last week against Aston Villa.

The midfield is the area of the team that Pardew had changed around, with Danny Guthrie replacing Joey Barton and he has a better range of passing than the now departed QPR man.  Not quite the enforcer in midfield that Barton was, Guthrie gets about the midfield well and is not afraid to tackle, although sometimes, his timing can be a bit off.  With Chiek Tiote missing in the Ivory Coast side at the African Cup of Nations, James Perch has been playing the last few matches, as an energetic presence in midfield, but he had a tough start in the Premier League, breaking Edgar Davis' record for the number of games booked in at the  start of his PL career.  Wide man Jonas Gutierrez provides pace on the flank and he is a tricky dribbler and a good crosser of the ball.  He will need to be watched carefully by Kyle Walker, as he managed to get in behind him in the away game earlier this season.
Hatem Ben Arfa seems to have resolved some of his differences with the management, as he was not playing, but now often comes on from the bench and is a good runner with the ball and the possessor of a fierce shot.  He was very impressive before a bad leg break and while he has come back, he has not achieved his previous consistency.
Ex-Manchester United showman Gabriel Obertan often gets a run out to try an d occupy the opposition back four, as he runs and shows off his tricks.  There is not always the end product to his meandering runs, which may be why Alex Ferguson let him leave.  Another option for a battler in midfield would be Dan Gosling, the player Newcastle picked up on the cheap from Everton, who had forgotten to offer him a new deal as a youngster, but his time in the black and white stripes has been chequered.  He has had injuries and a sending off, so he is not a regular starter but could come on to do a specific job for Pardew.

Tim Krul is a highly regarded keeper, who Spurs are keeping an eye on, but he ahs made the gloves his own at St. James' Park, with a series of solid performances, which were in stark contrast to his early appearances as a teenager, when he looked very shaky.  Now he has bulked up and is more aware of his angles, he is a difficult keeper to beat.

The defence in front of him is one of the tightest in the top flight and with the absence of Steven Taylor being compensated for by the returning Mike Williamson, who is an old fashioned centre half.  With David Santon coming in from Internazionale and Danny Simpson on the other flank, they have two full backs who like to push on and while this works at home, sometimes away from Newcastle, they lose their shape and can get found out. 

Spurs will be more balanced if Aaron Lennon plays and with van der Vaart still out, he could quite easily fit into a midfield with Bale, Parker and Modric.  The key to victory would be their movement and they will need to destroy the set-up of the Newcastle side by pulling their players out of position to make holes to fill with our players.

Newcastle have not been as good away from home and they might be a bit over-ken to put that right, allowing Walker and BAE to use the wide positions to get the ball into the forwards.  With it being a late kick off, the cold evening air will suit the hardy Northerners, so it will need a performance where Spurs roll their sleeves up (metaphorically) and get a sweat on to keep the Magpies on the back foot, then it might end up with three points added to our total with a narrow win.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         Newcastle United    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs welcome back Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe from their hamstring injuries, while Ledley King could feature after training on Friday having put in a full shift at Anfield on Monday.  Younes Kaboul (knee) and Sandro (calf) are both highly doubtful to be fit for the match, while Tom Huddlestone (ankle) and William Gallas (calf) are both making progress in their comebacks.  Rafael van der Vaart's calf muscle strain rules him out and David Bentley's knee injury will keep him out of the side.
Newcastle will be missing bruised and swollen ankle victim Ryan Taylor and Leon Best (knee ligaments), who were both carried off in last Sunday's match, while Yohan Cabaye is suspended and long term injuries to Shola Ameobi (knee), Nile Ranger (ankle), Steven Taylor (Achilles) and Sylvain Marveaux (groin) are all unavailable.  Chiek Tiote is unavailable as he is on international duty with Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations.

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Tottenham Hotspur  5 (4)                          Newcastle United  0 (0)
Premier League
Saturday 11th February 2012                                               Kick off 17:30
White Hart Lane
Assou-Ekotto 4
Saha 6
Saha 20
Kranjcar 34
Adebayor 64
Parker (foul) 25
Walker (foul) 39  


Gosling (foul) 70   


Crowd :   36,176 Weather :  Dry but very cold
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Ledger; Ms. S. Massey
Fourth Official :  Lee Probert Match Delegate :  Simon Morgan
Professional Game Match Observer :  W. J. Norbury
Newcastle United kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Newcastle United : kit
24  Friedel

28  Walker     
26  King (c) (33  Nelsen 75)
20  Dawson
32  Assou-Ekotto 

21  Kranjcar 
  8  Parker     
14  Modric
  Bale (  7  Lennon 67)

15  Saha       (18  Defoe 67)

Unused subs: 
36  Khumalo
25  Rose
29  Livermore

  26  Krul

  5  Simpson
  6  Williamson
  2  Collocini
  3  Santon

18  Gutierrez
  8  Guthrie (11 Lovenkrands 86)
14  Perch
25  Obertan (31  Ferguson 46)

19  P. Cisse
  9  Ba (15  Gosling 68     )

Unused subs: 
35  Elliott
13  Abeid
10  Ben Arfa
23  Shola Ameobi

Manager :  Harry Redknapp Manager :  Alan Pardew
Sponsor :   Aurasma Shirt sponsor :  Virgin Money
Kit Supplier :  Puma Kit Supplier :   Puma
Match report

What, on paper, looked a tough match, with Newcastle firing on all cylinders recently, ended with a convincing 5-0 win over a poor Magpies side thanks to a devastating first half display by Harry Redknapp's Tottenham.  3-0 up by the 20 minute mark put the game effectively beyond Newcastle's reach and it was nothing more than Spurs deserved for their quick start.

With Redknapp leaving both Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe on the bench after recovering from their hamstring troubles, he paired Emmanuel Adebayor with Louis Saha for the first time from the start and kept faith with Niko Kranjcar on the right side of midfield.  As for Newcastle, missing two of their main midfielders in Tiote and Cabaye, they went with two up top with Obertan on the right and Gutierrez on the left, with Guthrie and Perch as the middle men.  But the Tottenham midfield grabbed the game by the throat from the start and the Newcastle men were chasing shadows for most of the game ... and in some cases not even chasing them.

Newcastle worked the ball from the kick off and a cross from Gutierrez was knocked away by Bale and then Spurs opened up with a move down the right side inside the box between Gareth and Adebayor, resulting in the Togo striker turning his man and playing a low ball across the six yard box.  Defenders and Krul failed to cut it out and coming in just beyond the far post, Benoit Assou-Ekotto ran in to shoot left footed high into the next from a couple of yards out.  A 1-0 lead with just four minutes on the clock, Spurs could not have asked for a better start and Newcastle were shocked.

Not as shocked as they were two minutes later, when another move down the right, with Kranjcar releasing Manu down the line, ended with a second goal.  He moved the ball to give himself a yard of space and put a cross into the area between the penalty spot and the edge of the six yard box and Louis Saha ran in to expertly convert the chance with his left foot at waist level with Simpson trailing a couple of yards off him.  Krul was not out to close him down, so had little chance of stopping the shot.

Spurs were on the rampage now and Newcastle were struggling to cope.  I noticed that Collocini wasn't mentioned in the preview ... was that because he was forgotten about or because he might as well not have been there in the Toon's defence ?

And the Spurs crowd good voice in chanting Redknapp's name, urging him to stay and promising to "Pay All Your Taxes" !!  In return he clapped the fans in appreciation and looked over-joyed with each goal as they went in.  Relief that he was at liberty or that he was back doing what he loves best on a day to day basis ?  We'll find out eventually.

Anyway, the game settled down a bit, although Marriner was letting a few tasty tackles go in Newcastle's favour. A good shooting chance from the edge of the box was blazed over by Kranjcar, before Spurs moved the ball nicely on the left wing.  Luka Modric took the ball from Benny and took it away form the defenders who didn't track him, leaving him to cross it left footed into the box low to Adebayor.  With his back to goal, he could not get a shot away, so laid it back with a touch of his left foot to Saha, who was behind him and he drilled the ball low through some legs to beat an unsighted Krul to the keeper's right for 3-0.  This was superb.

Spurs had left the Toon Army silenced in their lower corner seating, although they were standing and some showed how much they were enjoying the balmy Southern temperatures of -4 degrees by taking off their shirts (not a pretty sight).  And while they were restricted to singing songs about Harry Redknapp's freedom and the riots, they were over-looking the fact that their team was being torn apart.

Manu shot wide from a central position just inside the box, while Scott Parker, who put in so much effort tonight, got a booking for a foul from behind on Demba Ba.  It handed Newcastle a good opportunity, being just on the edge of the D, but from the free kick, Ba smashed the ball just wide of Friedel's left hand post, although it looked like the keeper did get a touch on the ball.  25 minutes before their first real threat and three goals behind for the club who were in sixth place before kick off.  But Newcastle were stringing a few more passes together now and were looking like they might get back into the game.

Unfortunately for them, an attack was broken up on the edge of the Tottenham box when Parker dispossessed Guthrie ad gave the ball to Luka.  He played it to Saha on the left and coming inside as he ran into the Newcastle half, he played a ball to Gareth Bale who was making a run from right to left across the middle of the 18 yard line.  Only the ball wasn't for Bale, as it went behind him, aiming for Adebayor in space behind the defence.  His poked shot was kept out by Krul, but it went back to Ade and he managed to hold off a defender and nudge it to his right, where Niko Kranjcar ran in to thump the ball into the net from 12 yards out.

34 minutes gone and Newcastle were beaten all ends up, but they had a short rally with a cross coming in from the left that had to be headed behind by Ledley King, with Ba poised behind him to head in if he had missed it, while Gutierrez shot way over from inside the area with a poor effort when he should have hit the target.  And Spurs kept shooting on the Newcastle goal, with Saha going wide with one effort, Adebayor heading one a yard wide from a  corner, and then BAE shot well over form a free-kick right on the edge of the box, when Parker was fouled by Williamson, who didn't get booked.

To be four up and playing such flowing football was a triumph, against a side as poor as I have seen at the Lane this season was fantastic.

A half-time appearance by Teddy Sheringham was a surprise, as he hasn't been back much since he left, but he made all the right noises about playing for the club he followed as a kid (even though it is rumoured that was West Ham) and got a good round of applause with it being muffled by the fans' gloves as the temperature was dropping.

After the Lord Mayor's Parade, the second half became a bit of a training ground practice match, as Spurs kept possession showed off some fancy tricks and generally attacked at will.  Benny flicked the ball up off his chest and then his knee to head back to Brad, Parker was dragging the ball back as tackles came in and Luka was playing outrageous drag-arounds as Spurs eased through the second half and Newcastle emulated Aston Villa in playing for a damage limitation defeat at the Lane this season.

Alan Pardew, who the Spurs fans called to be installed as the new England manager, brought on a mascot in place of Obertan at half-time, with the Frenchman being less than ineffectual in the first period.  But it made little difference as the diminutive midfielder could not contend with Kyle Walker's pace or power.  Five minutes into the second half, Bale played a sublime scooped pass over the defence and Adebayor must have been surprised to find the ball coming his way as he ran into the box, but it fell a little behind him and there was not the chance to get a proper shot away.  Manu then hit a shot wide when Walker played the ball in from the right, but in the 64th minute, a ball from Bale on the right to Assou-Ekotto on the left found the full back in space and his cross to the far post picked out Louis Saha.  18 yards out, he headed the ball forward into the middle of the goal and Adebayor met it on the volley as a challenge came in from Williamson, but it was too late and the ball flashed past Krul to make it 5-0 and give the maker of the first four goals a well-deserved one of his own.

it was the signal for Harry to rest some of the players and Bale and Saha went off with Lennon and Defoe replacing them, while Newcastle made the adventurous change of taking Papiss off and bringing Gosling on.  it took the former Everton player all of two minutes to get booked for a late challenge on Lennon and the only other contribution to the match that he made came in the in 77th minute when Guthrie played the ball in from the left and Ba got a header on the ball.  Friedel was covering the path of the ball and had to dive back to his left to get a hand to the ball to keep it out, but it dropped in front of goal and Gosling thundered it over the bar from five yards out with a gaping goal in front of him.

By then Ledley had gone off, with Ryan Nelsen coming on to make his debut and he did OK in a nice introduction to his Spurs career and he must have wondered what was happening at the end of the match when the home crowd cheered after playing for Blackburn. 

Adebayor missed another couple of chances - one narrowly wide and the other over the top - before Defoe went down under challenge from Coloccini in the area, but it wasn't given and Newcastle were happy to get out of the game without Spurs hitting double figures.  And the "One Harry Redknapp" chants filled the air again.

So, the Spurs boss started the week with the prospect of prison, was found not guilty, becomes no.1 choice for England from being HMRC's Public Enemy No.1 and ends it with Spurs not behind Ba's goals, but leaving Newcastle on the end of a five goal defeat that stretched our unbeaten run to four games since losing to City.

Who said it's a funny old game ?

Paul Prentice


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What you thought
Barry Levington Just after the fourth goal, did anyone spot what happened when the ball went out of play near the tunnel ?

Alan Pardew kicked it away !!

Brilliant.  0-4 down and still it is in-built that he tries to waste time.




Other scores during this week :
Blackburn Rovers 3 Queens Park Rangers 2 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 1 Wigan Athletic 2 Saturday
Everton 2 Chelsea 0 Saturday
Fulham 2 Stoke City 1 Saturday
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1 Saturday
Sunderland 1 Arsenal 2 Saturday
Swansea City 2 Norwich City 3 Saturday
Aston Villa 0 Manchester City 1 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 West Bromwich Albion 5 Sunday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 25 18 3 3 64 19 60 +45
2 Manchester United 25 18 4 3 61 25 58 +36
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 25 16 5 4 49 25 53 +24
4 Chelsea 25 12 7 6 44 32 43 +12
5 Newcastle United 25 12 6 7 36 36 42 0
6 Arsenal 25 13 4 8 48 35 43 +13
7 Liverpool 25 10 9 6 29 23 39 +6
8 Norwich City 25 9 8 8 37 41 35 -4
9 Sunderland 25 9 6 10 34 26 33 +8
10 Everton 25 9 6 10 26 27 33 -1
11 Swansea City 25 7 9 9 30 34 30 -4
12 Fulham 25 7 9 9 31 36 30 -5
13 Stoke City 25 8 6 11 24 38 30 -14
14 West Bromwich Albion 25 8 5 13 29 35 29 -16
15 Aston Villa 25 6 10 9 29 34 28 -5
16 Queens Park Rangers 25 5 6 14 27 44 21 -17
17 Blackburn Rovers 25 5 6 14 37 56 21 -19
18 Wolverhampton Wanderers 25 5 6 13 28 49 21 -21
19 Bolton Wanderers 25 6 2 17 29 51 20 -22
20 Wigan Athletic 25 4 7 14 23 50 19 -27


Position before match :  3rd
Position after match :  3rd
Position after the weekend :  3rd


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