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Premier League

Tuesday 28th December 2010

What with Christmas, matches and everything, I have not had too much time to do a full preview for this match, but the long awaited re-union with Chris Hughton has not materialised, with Mike Ashley giving him the sack ... probably so that the spotlight will be on him when Newcastle United come to White Hart Lane.

For all that, it is the on-field action that matters and with a defeat at home by Manchester City by 3-1 fresh in their memories, they will be keen to put that behind them, but with new manager Alan Pardew still finding his feet and the players getting to know him, there may be scope for Spurs to take advantage.  Newcastle should not be taken lightly though, as their away record is better than the one at St. James' Park and they are a good side on the break with the pace of Guttierez and the strength of Carroll up front.

They will be without captain Kevin Nolan after his fifth booking of the season on Boxing Day, so that will leave a gap in the midfield, along with the goals he has been contributing.  Joey Barton will be a tough tackler to get around and if Spurs can, then the defence has been a little porous, leaking goals and only their big win over Villa early in the season is keeping their goal difference acceptable.  With Tim Krul making a bad error in trying to pass the ball out on Sunday, his confidence could be rocky, although he had an outstanding game at Highbury.

With the assets available to the Magpies, they should be good enough to stay up this season, but this period of games will be crucial to their eventual league position and as Spurs are brimming with confidence, if they approach this game in the right way, then there is no reason why they could not go on to win well ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    4      Newcastle United    1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (out - groin); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Jamie O'Hara (out - back); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); William Gallas (out - hamstring); - (-); 

NEWCASTLE UNITED :  -  Kevin Nolan (out - suspended); Shola Ameobi (out - hamstring); Ryan Taylor (out - ankle); Hatem Ben Arfa (out - broken leg); Dan Gosling (out - knee); - (-); - (-); 


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 (live coverage)
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BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


Tottenham Hotspur   2    Newcastle United   0      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Tuesday 28th December 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,927
Referee :  Anthony Taylor (Manchester)
Newcastle kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Cold, light drizzle
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  2  Hutton
20  Dawson
32  Assou-Ekotto

  7  Lennon 
12  Palacios         (  8  Jenas 46)
14  Modric
  3  Bale 

11  van der Vaart  (15  Crouch 72)

  9  Pavlyuchenko   (19  Bassong 66)

Unused subs: 
37  Pletikosa

22  Corluka
21  Kranjcar
10  Keane

Newcastle United :

26  Krul

14  Perch
27  S. Taylor
  2  Colloccini

18  Gutierrez        (30  Ranger 67)
  7  Barton (c)
24  Tiote
         (11  Lovenkrands 79)
17  Smith

  9  Carroll     

Unused subs: 
  1  Harper
  6  Williamson
28  Kadar
19  Xisco
20  Best

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Newcastle United
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Lennon  57
Bale 81

Newcastle United


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Palacios (foul)  38 
Kaboul (foul)  51 


Kaboul (head-butt)  65

Newcastle United

Tiote (foul)  35
Smith (foul) 59
Guttierez (foul) 52
Carroll (foul) 82   


Match Report : -  
For the second game running, Spurs were reliant on ten men at the finish to take the points against a physical Newcastle United team and an incompetent officiating team at White hart Lane this afternoon.

Another red card, this time for Younes Kaboul for dipping his head into Newcastle's midfielder Tiote, who if referee Taylor had any gumption about him, would have had the backbone to send off some time earlier.  Not that Taylor possessed anything like that nor displayed any control of the game from the very kick-off.  He may be new to the list of Premier League referees, but I could do without ever seeing him take the whistle at a Spurs match ever again.

But even with a half hour of the game left and a 1-0 lead, it was Tottenham who looked like the team playing with the full complement, as they passed the ball and went on to score a fine solo goal from Gareth Bale to wrap up the points.  And they kept a clean sheet for the first time since the opening day of the season.

Tottenham were in control of the game from the kick off and although Newcastle tried to string passes together, they were not making much penetration nor were all their passes accurate, with many peppering the crowd or the advertising hoardings.   In comparison, the Spurs passing was crisp and it soon became obvious that the player shad to take evasive action to avoid injury from some of the challenges coming in.  Perch twice tried to slice Lennon down, but timed his tackles well, whereas Tiote made a long series of foul tackles (before and after being booked), which the referee (and I used the word loosely) chose to over-look.  Carroll continued to jump at Dawson rather than for the ball and was allowed to continue for most of the game, only being booked when he tried the same trick on Gomes with eight minutes left (when he also appeared to put his head onto the Spurs keeper ... without further punishment).  Conversely, when Palacios made his first foul of the match, he was cautioned straight away.  I do not believe that consistency is Mr. Taylor's middle name.

Spurs had a few half chances with Pav hitting a bouncing shot that Krul had to be alert to as it popped up off the wet turf and then  Rafael van der Vaart tested him with a free-kick that was going in under the bar until the keeper pushed it over.  In between Newcastle's only real threat of a goal came unsurprisingly form their one tactic of hitting high balls at Carroll, but he lifted a header onto the roof of the net, when meeting the ball without pressure on him.

Gareth Bale had been quite quiet, having his crosses cut out, but just before half-time he got into a good position on the left and played a one-two with Benoit Assou-Ekotto, whose cross was headed wide on the other side of the box, but Aaron Lennon picked up the ball and knocked it back in to Pavlyuchenko's head.  His powerful header forced Krul to a full length save to his left and touching the ball onto the post, it then ran across the goalmouth and hit the other post, before rolling out and ending up in a goal kick, as van der Vaart's follow-up was played off him.

Having started the proceedings with a minute's applause for the recently departed Ralph Coates, half-time saw a few of his former team-mates telling tales about the little winger and Phil Beal, Martin Chivers, Alan Mullery, Pat Jennings and Martin Peters all regaled us with their memories of Coates, who was a warm, friendly individual, who always had time to chat.  It is not something that you think will be said of many modern day players once they have retired.

There was a spate of yellows with Kaboul going into the book for a foul on Barton, who should long have been the first name on the referee's list.  Giving him the captain's armband seemed akin to giving him Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility, because his incessant back-chat and the string of fouls and petty manhandling of the Spurs players went un-noticed by the muggle with the whistle.  But the Spurs team rose above the mediocrity of the visitors' long ball game to the head of Carroll to take the lead.

Kaboul played a through ball to Aaron Lennon and with a head of speed up, he ran at Perch, turning him inside out and getting to the right corner of the box to hit a low shot across goal that flicked off the full back's thigh and took the ball out of the keeper's reach into the opposite corner.  It was nothing that Spurs didn't deserve and it was a relief that the stultifying style of play employed by Newcastle had been un picked in the 57th minute.

Newcastle were taking a lead from their captain and were losing their discipline, with the highly ineffectual Alan Smith almost taking two players out (including another from his own side) before getting a yellow card and Spurs created a good passing move to present Modric with a shooting opportunity to force a diving save from Krul.  Then, in the 64th minute, Kaboul once more brought the ball out of defence in front of the West Stand, before Tiote flew into a tackle, which brought them face to face and Younes ducked his head into the Newcastle midfielder's head persuading the referee to send him off.  No further action was taking against Tiote, who seemed happy enough to get in Kaboul's face and even though both players were already on yellow cards, it was a straight red for the Spurs man.  In view of what had gone before ... such as Barton wiping out Pav from behind without so much as a sniff of a card and other blatant hauling down of players not even bringing a free-kick ... it was a little out of character for someone as lacking in charisma as the referee Taylor.

The dismissal brought an offensive change for Newcastle with Ranger coming on for Gutierez and Spurs had to shore up the back line by taking Pavyluchenko off and bringing Bassong on.  Newcastle upped the ratio of balls pumped high into the Spurs box, but many resulting from when Newcastle had been given soft free-kicks were over-hit by the achingly over-rated Barton and the crosses in from the wing by Routledge that eluded everyone brought back the memories as to why he had not made any sort of impact at the club while he was at White Hart Lane.

One such Routledge cross was the subject of an attempted overhead kick by Smith, but his timing was so poor he missed the ball completely and confused Andy Carroll so much, that he fell to the ground without anyone in his vicinity.  Routledge could have made a name for himself when the ball popped up in the Spurs box, but his volley went harmlessly across the face of goal.  Jermaine Jenas, who had replaced Wilson Palacios (who was on a booking) at half-time, ran half the length of the pitch to slip a pass out to the right wing for Lennon to run onto it and from a similar (but slightly wider position), he struck another shot across Krul, but dragged it wide of the far post this time, when maybe a driven ball across the six yard box might have hit someone and gone in.

But in the 81st minute, another sweeping move made it 2-0 to football.  Modric, who was at the heart of all things good about Tottenham's play, played the ball down the left for Gareth Bale, who went on a lung-busting run, before cutting inside the lumbering Steven Taylor and hitting a low ball across the keeper and in at the far post, as Crouch had closed in.  It looked a lucky goal, but on replay, Bale hit the ball with the outside of his foot and Krul had little chance of doing anything with it.

Just before the end of normal time, Gomes had to push away a Carroll header that he had actually won fairly for a change and into added time, Jenas once more used his pace to take him away from the tiring Newcastle midfield to .hit a shot from 25 yards out just wide of the goal.  There was time for Newcastle to launch one more stratospheric grazing ball into the box and when it came down, it earned them a corner.  The first was punched away to Lovenkrands, who lobbed a volley back at goal and Bale was there to head off the line, with Modric heading the ball away from the goalmouth when Smith played it back in.

Having managed to defend with ten men and done so very well, the final whistle brought only the second clean sheet of the season for Tottenham and Newcastle's basic techniques were underpinned by a physicality that I am sure had not come from Chris Hughton's teachings.  What Pardew can do for this side I don't know, but other clubs he has been at have played a bit of football and that is what had got Newcastle where they were so far this season.

But for Spurs to pitch up, lose a man and over-come the sort of soporific football that the visitors brought to the Lane, was yet another step forward in the learning process as they moved into fourth place in the table albeit only for 24 hours should Chelsea win their game in hand ... or the way the Pensioners have been playing ... maybe not.

Burton Coggles


Fan Reaction : -



It is becoming a bit of a habit like the one about Spurs winning games after being behind, but to win games with only ten men on the pitch is a little more damaging to the games we have to play in the near future.

For the second game running, it has been left to the passing and breakaway goals for Spurs to seal the points.  Once more, Gareth Bale was hugely influential in the second and winning goal.  His pace left Newcastle reeling and Steven Taylor - another obnoxious member of a toxic side - was left not knowing what day it was (well more than most of us do over Christmas), as the Welsh wizard turned him this way and that.  His finish from a narrow angle looked like a routine save for Krul, but to be kind to him, the precision in the execution left him with no chance.

It was the first time that Rafael van der Vaart had not scored at White Hart Lane when he has played, but Aaron Lennon performed a similar run to Bale on the other flank to confuse Perch and hit a shot that took a deflection off the defender on the way in.

But the win came at the loss of Younes Kaboul's impetuous head-butt on Chieke Tiote, another player who epitomised Pardew's rough and ready approach to the game.  Perhaps Kaboul's action could be understood, as the referee was doing little to control the game and it was only the athleticism of Luka Modric that saved him from serious injury, while Roman Pavyluchenko was lucky to walk away from being hacked down from behind by Barton.  When Defoe was sent off at Villa, it was for a fairly innocuous incident compared to some of the thuggery that was going on here. 

It's another example of how far Tottenham have come in a relatively short time and what good football we are playing compared to some of the tripe served up by Premier League teams.

Stan Chun

Another promoted team and another side who came to terrorise us into submission.

With Stoke City trying to play a bit of football, it is now Newcastle United's ascendancy to the mantle of cloggers of the Premier League that was reasonably shocking.  I trust that this has only been the case since Chris Hughton had departed.

The reprehensible Joey Barton was back to his worst trying to wind up the players and crowd alike and perhaps his insistence in baiting people was turning his inner demons in on himself, as everything he tried failed to come off and he showed himself to be nothing more than a decidedly average footballer in the mould of Robbie Savage.

With Spurs being linked with a 20 million move for Magpies striker Andy Carroll, I would hope that on this evidence, his price will drop a 0 off the fee, as his battering ram approach saw him rarely win headers and only concede a string of free-kicks, which he was only booked for near the end.  Along with Tiote, Smith and Barton, they could all have been dismissed by a more competent referee, but unfortunately, we didn't have one of those today.  Instead, the red card was shown to Younes Kaboul, who was daft to nut Tiote when we were only 1-0 ahead.  He should have just told him the score and smiled, as the Newcastle midfielder was heading for a sending off soon and there was little chance of them coming back at Tottenham.

But it was another well won three points and another display that gives hope for 2011 ... as everyone is saying, a year that ends in a '1'.

Mike Lines




Other scores this Bank Holiday Tuesday/midweek matches :
Manchester City 4 Aston Villa 0 Tuesday
Manchester United 1 Birmingham City 1 Tuesday
Stoke City 0 Fulham 2 Tuesday
Sunderland 0 Blackpool 2 Tuesday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Blackburn Rovers 2 Tuesday
West Ham United 1 Everton 1 Tuesday
Chelsea - Bolton Wanderers - Wednesday
Liverpool - Wolverhampton Wanderers - Wednesday
Wigan Athletic - Arsenal - Wednesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 18 10 8 0 41 19 38 +22
2 Manchester City 20 11 5 4 32 16 38 +16
3 Arsenal 19 11 3 5 39 22 36 +17
4 Chelsea 19 10 4 5 33 15 34 +18
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 19 9 6 4 30 24 33 +6
6 Bolton Wanderers 20 7 8 5 32 26 29 +6
7 Sunderland 20 6 9 5 21 22 27 -1
8 Blackpool 17 7 4 6 26 29 25 -3
9 Blackburn Rovers 20 7 4 9 26 31 25 -5
10 Stoke City 19 7 3 9 23 24 24 -3
11 Newcastle United 19 6 4 9 28 31 22 -1
12 Everton 19 4 10 5 21 22 22 -1
13 Liverpool 18 6 4 9 21 23 22 -2
14 West Bromwich Albion 19 6 4 9 25 34 22 -9
15 Aston Villa 19 5 5 9 20 34 20 -14
16 Wigan Athletic 19 4 9 6 17 31 20 -14
17 Birmingham City 18 3 10 5 18 21 19 -3
18 Fulham 19 3 10 6 19 23 19 -4
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 19 5 3 11 20 32 18 -12
20 West Ham United 20 3 8 9 20 34 17 -14


Position before the match :  5th
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the round of matches :  5th


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