OPPONENTS Newcastle United
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Wednesday 12th February 2014
VENUE St. James Park






Having won against Everton, albeit unconvincingly, Tottenham have all the pressure on them, as they seek to keep up with Liverpool in fourth place.   An away trip to Newcastle on what might be a blowy and wet night is not the traditional comfort zone for Spurs, while the home fans will no doubt have their shirts off !!

Without the recently departed Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle are a little less threatening in midfield and with the destructive Chiek Tiote out injured,
right back Davide Santon may once more fill in as a midfielder, such is the depth of the Newcastle injury list. Having let Jonas Guttierez go out to Norwich City on loan, they are also a wide man short, but Hatem Ben Arfa should be fit to play and Gabriel Obertan will have a late fitness test to see if he can take part. Gael Bigirimana is also missing with an ankle injury, so, the midfield will be an odd mix. However, Vurnon Anita and Moussa Sissoko can add industry and a willingness to get forward to support the forwards. Also available is Sylvain Marveuax, but he does not command a regular place in the team any longer.

Up front, Papiss Cisse has declared himself fit to play if chosen. With Yoan Gouffran struggling with calf injury and Loic Remy suspended, the Toon are lacking firepower in attack. The loan deal to bring Luuk de Jong to Tyneside from Borussia Moenchengladbach was one that needed to happen, to ensure there was some back up to the Ameobi brothers in attack. Both of the brothers, one an English and one a Nigerian international, score the odd goal, but are not prolific and lack the reputation to strike fear into defenders’ hearts.

The home defence will be without Fabricio Collocini, who is a long term casualty and Mathieu Debuchy, who picked up an injury against Chelsea in their match on Saturday. Ryan Taylor is out for the season with a knee ligament injury, so Paul Dummett has been picked at full back, as has Massaido Haidara. Haphazard central defenders Steven Taylor and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa are both available, but Alan Pardew is unlikely to play both, possibly putting Mike Williamson alongside Taylor to give height to their defence and at set-pieces at the opposite end of the pitch.

Tim Krul had a stormer of a game at the Lane, stopping shot after shot before Remy broke away to snatch the winner, but he has made a few  mistakes since then, so another testing performance might find a way past him. We have to hope that there is some truth in the old saying that lightning doesn’t strike twice.

Having lost their last two matches 0-3, it would be nice to think Spurs could make it three in a row, but with three games without a goal, Pardew will be looking to intimidate the Spurs defence to get a home goal to win over the St. James’ Park crowd. It will be down to Tottenham to dominate the tempo of the game, to make the movement and find them with penetrative passes. Finishing does not seem a problem for Emmanuel Adebayor at the moment, but others need to back him up with goals, as I am sure that Newcastle will have cooked up a plan to counter his threat. More of a quicker start would also help provide a platform for pressing the Magpies back into their own box.

A tight game will be decided by the odd goal in three and the first goal will be important (as it is in most games).  I'm backing Spurs to get it and to continue their good away form.

PREDICTION Newcastle United    1         Tottenham Hotspur    2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Tottenham travel north without Vlad Chiriches and Erik Lamela, both back injury victims, while Gylfi Sigurdsson faces a late test on a hamstring injury.  Sandro's calf injury keeps him out.
Loic Remy is suspended for getting sent off against Norwich City, while there are injuries to Chiek Tiote (hamstring), Gael Bigirmana (ankle), Mathieu Debuchy (calf), Fabricio Collocini (knee) and Ryan Taylor (knee).  Yoan Gouffran will have a late test on a muscle injury.

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Newcastle United   0  (0)                                                                        Tottenham Hotspur  4  (1)
Premier League
Wednesday 12th February 2014                                                                                                          Kick off 17:45
St, James Park
Adebayor 18
Paulinho 53
Adebayor 82
Chadli 88





Crowd :   48,264 Weather :  Wet
Referee :  Neil Swarbrick (Bolton) Assistant Referees :  Mr. L. Betts; Mr. J. Brooks
Fourth Official :  Mike Dean -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Gallowgate end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
Newcastle United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Tim KRUL

  3  Davide SANTON  (36  Paul DUMMETT 46)
27  Steven TAYLOR
26  Mathieu DEBUCHY

  7  Moussa SISSOKO
8  Vurnon ANITA
28  Sammy AMEOBI  (22  Sylvain MARVEAUX71)

18  Luuk de JONG  (10  Hatem BEN ARFA 63)
  8  Papiss CISSE

Unused subs: 
21  Rob ELLIOT
23  Shola AMEOBI

  25  Hugo LLORIS

  2  Kyle WALKER
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN (c)
  4  Younes KABOUL

15  Etienne CAPOUE
42  Nabil BENTALEB
19  Mousa DEMBELE  (17  Andros TOWNSEND 64)
  7  Aaron LENNON  (21  Nacer CHADLI 75  )

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR      (  9  Roberto SOLDADO84)

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL

  3  Danny ROSE
20  Michael DAWSON
18  Jermain DEFOE

Manager :  Alan Pardew Manager :  Tim Sherwood
Sponsor :   - Shirt sponsor :  Hewlett Packard
Kit Supplier :  puma Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Tottenham eased through to a comfortable victory against Newcastle United at St. James Park, but not without some fine finishing and some determined defending.  There were changes to the side, with Danny Rose missing injured and Michael Dawson left out as Younes Kaboul came in and Sherwood opted to go with Emmanuel Adebayor up front, with a five man midfield.

The terrible weather that had ruled out games in Manchester and Liverpool failed to stop this one and rain fell more or less throughout the match.  It made for a slick surface and obviously, that played into Tottenham's hands on the night.  A long kick out by Lloris in the 5th minute gave Mousa Dembele a chance to run at Santon  and shrug him off the ball on our right wing.  Pulling the ball back to Emmanuel Adebayor, the striker hit a low shot that flicked off a heel to go wide.  A minute later Kaboul was robbing Santon of the ball on his own dead ball line, then feeding Paulinho.  Tim Krul had to show strong wrists at his near post to beat the shot from a narrow angle out for a corner.

Newcastle got their first attack going and in the seventh minute, Cisse had a chance to put them ahead from about six yards out, but his shot gave Lloris too much of a chance to get behind the effort and then grab it at the second attempt.  Luuk de Jong had set it up with a towering header above Kyle Walker and this was a worry for Tottenham and I assume that was why Kaboul was included, but letting Walker get isolated with the Dutchman isn't the way to cope with his height.

Vertongthen got on the end of Walker's free-kick from the right, but he put his far post header wide, but it took until the 18th minute until the scoring was opened.  A neat move of passing triangles between Lennon, Naughton and Paulinho opened up the left wing space for Bentaleb to go away and shrug off Sissoko.  Having the presence of mind to put a low ball into the six yard box and with it missing the first man, Krul dived out to palm the ball out, but didn't get enough on it, leaving Adebayor the simple task of tapping in from five yards out.  All the chances we had in the home match and Krul gives us the opening to score.  How ironic.

It gave the home crowd reason to moan and the Spurs fans the chance to made themselves heard above the Geordie snores.  Newcastle tried to hit back straight away, with Sammy Ameobi trying to take Kaboul on after picking off Naughton's ball across the back four, but Younes blocked his shot for a throw in.  But Spurs were slicing the home defence apart.  Lennon's pass inside Santon put Walker in and his low ball back across the box found Lennon coming in and Adebayor nearly getting on the loose ball when Williamson intercepted, but the defender hooked it o0ut for a corner while laying on the floor.  Newcastle weren't going without a fight and Ameobi's through ball was reached by Cisse and as Lloris came to the edge of his box, the Senegal striker lobbed him.  However, Vertonghen was back to see the ball go wide of the goal.

The post saved Newcastle on the half hour, when Adebayor played the ball left to Lennon, who came inside and struck a low shot between Debuchy's legs and Krul got a touch on it to push the ball onto the foot of his right hand upright.  Spurs were moving the ball quicker and were moving better to stretch United, but Gouffran got away on our left, but Kyle Naughton got back to slide in and tackle him at the expense of a corner.  From it, Tottenham broke well, but Kaboul couldn't pick out a blue shirt when he overlapped on the right and crossed.  At the other end, Sissoko and de Jong linked up on the edge of the Spurs area, with the midfielder hitting a strong shot at goal, but it was over the top.

With five minutes to go, Spurs again put together some nice triangles, but it ended with Paulinho and Bentaleb wanting to shoot and colliding with each other.  But it wasn't just going forward that Spurs were working off the ball, Lennon was showing good defensive nous by tracking back when Newcastle players ran beyond the Spurs defenders.  Right on 45 minutes, a cleared corner fell to Santon, who hit a low shot, but it went low and straight at Lloris, without too much power.  So, when Swarbrick put his whistle to his lips to bow for half time, Spurs took a one goal advantage into the break and the players went off for a well-earned breather.

Half time was hardly absorbing entertainment, as there was a race between two zorb balls.  Lucky it wasn't as windy as the North-West !!  Much talk was about whether Spurs could keep up the work-rate and take any more chances they could create.

That was exactly what they did in the 53rd minute, when Paulinho made it 2-0.  Bentaleb played the ball into the Brazilian, who dragged the ball back behind him for Adebayor to strike a low shot at goal and Krul once more could only parry the ball out, with Paulinho continuing his run to knock the ball past the keeper to double the lead. 

Spurs didn't seem to want to stop there, with Dembele starting a move on halfway, then finishing it with a shot that was deflected over the bar from 18 yards out.  Then Spurs decided to sit back.  Whether that was tiredness or by design, Newcastle were happy to pass the ball better and get into Tottenham's last third.  Luckily, there was much over-hit passing when it came to the final ball, but then, out of nothing, Gouffran made some space on the Toon left and hit a low shot that Lloris had to push wide.  Then, a short while after, substitute Haten Ben Arfa's cross from the left was met powerfully buy Debuchy about six yards out, requiring Hugo to fling up a left hand to palm the ball over the bar with a superb reflex save.   Five minutes later, he made an equally good stop when Cisse for on the end of a cross form the right, with the defenders hoping for offside against Ameobi, but the header went downwards, making our French stopper have to kick the ball out with his feet to stop the home team getting back into the match.

WHen SPurs did break, they failed to make much of their opportunities.  Townsend dallie dover one and then Bentaleb hit a speculative shot over the bar.  But they made the nost of the obne that came along in the 83rd mionute.  The ball was worked wide ot sub Chadli on the left, he played it across the box via Adebayor and Paulinho for Townsend to crack a shot at goal that Krul blocked out to about 12 yards out.  Unfortunately for him, everything he touched tonight turned to dust and Adebayor was there to hit a volley into the ground, which the keeper dived under and the ball nestle din the corner of the net as it bounced over him.

Four minutes form the end, Lloris rushed wide right of his box to close down Sissoko, who had to turn away, but he laid it back for Gouffran, whose effort was blocked.  It allowed Spurs to break away and the ball went out to the left to Nacer Chadli.  Coming inside, he looked up and curled a right foot shot way beyond Krul's dive to make it 4-0 with a fine goal. 

It should have been five in added time, when Chadli played a square ball across the 18 yard line, but Townsend hit his shot straight at a defender and it went off for a corner. 

As the barcode shirts turned into barcode empty seats, the only noise you could hear was from the Spurs crowd, as the fantastic Newcastle support dissolved away into the night.  Three home defeats on the trot and they were reduced to a League Cup crowd with ten minutes to go and those who stayed were only there to boo the manager, who prior to the game had said how good they had been to him.  Having lost Yohan Cabaye in the transfer window, Newcastle now have real problems, as there looks like little creativity and little cutting edge up front.  Cisse should have scored when it was 0-0, but apart from that, they only came into the game when Spurs were having a breather.

For Tottenham, the key was Adebayor, but also the tempo we played at.  Sharp passing, movement off the ball and a high work-rate in chasing back.  With four goals from eight shots on target, with three of the others being the ones that Krul set up our goals from, it shows the value of finishing.  Also, the value of having one of the best keepers in the league showed, with Lloris keeping out the few efforts Newcastle could muster.  He really does win points for the team.  And Chadli's was sublime.  Helped by having a defence in front of him with Steven Taylor in it, surely one of the most over-rated players ever, but beating Krul with a precision bending shot demonstrates exactly what he is capable of.  Hopefully, he is finding his feet in the team at just the right time, when we need everyone to bring something to the game. 

Our first win at St. James Park for a long time and the biggest in living memory there.  A fine three points and a performance that hints that we might be able to push on.  Tougher games are ahead, but then they might be for others too.

Burton Bradstock


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




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 26 17 6 3 48 21 57 +27
2 Arsenal 26 17 5 4 48 26 56 +22
3 Manchester City 25 17 3 5 68 27 54 +41
4 Liverpool 26 16 5 5 66 32 53 +34
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 26 15 5 6 36 32 50 +4
6 Everton 25 12 9 4 37 26 45 +11
7 Manchester United 26 12 6 8 41 31 42 +10
8 Southampton 26 10 9 7 37 28 39 +7
9 Newcastle United 26 11 4 11 32 38 37 -6
10 West Ham United 26 7 7 12 28 33 28 -5
11 Aston Villa 26 7 7 12 27 36 28 -9
12 Swansea City 26 7 7 12 33 36 28 -3
13 Hull City 26 7 6 13 25 31 27 -6
14 Stoke City 26 6 8 12 26 38 27 -12
15 Crystal Palace 25 8 2 15 18 36 26 -16
16 Norwich City 26 6 7 13 19 39 25 -20
17 West Bromwich Albion 26 4 12 10 30 38 24 -8
18 Sunderland 25 6 6 13 25 38 24 -13
19 Cardiff City 26 5 7 14 19 44 22 -25
20 Fulham 26 6 2 18 26 58 20 -32


Position before match :  5th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the mid-week : 5th

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