“For Newcastle United, this was a day to forget – started poorly, defended poorly, played poorly” Those words uttered by Sir Alan Shearer just about summed up this game for us. To be fair, Alan equally poured lavish praise on the performance of Tottenham Hotspur, who started well, attacked incisively with pace and skill, and pretty much outplayed us in every department.
We can have no complaints. This was not a game where the score flattered to deceive, in fact it could have been a lot worse. Yes it might have been different if Tiote had been sitting in front of the defence, if Cabaye had been available to manufacture some bullets for our Senegal strike force to fire, if Ryan Taylor had been there to put the free kick over the wall, if Steven Taylor had been in defence.
Sadly, that’s all ifs and buts. The truth is that the 11 men we sent out to play this game just weren’t at the races. Alan Pardew took the blame for getting his formation wrong, but how many of us before the game didn’t want to see both Ba and Cisse up front in our favoured 4-4-2 formation? Personally I expected Tottenham to score, especially against the defence we had out and without Tiote to protect it. So in my book we needed some potency up front. And looking at the players actually available to Pardew, there wasn’t a great deal of scope to change things in a way which would have produced an improvement.
Sir Kevin Keegan, a pundit on ESPN these days hit the nail on the head. “This Newcastle team reminds me of my own team when I was manager……but it’s dangerous to go to Spurs gung-ho”. That wasn’t hindsight, by the way, that was Kevin speaking before the game.
Just one of those games really, best forgotten. Our passing was largely abysmal and we didn’t press the ball the way we normally do – we gave them the space to play in and they took full advantage of it.
Positives we can take from the game? Well, Cabaye, Tiote and Ryan Taylor will be back for the next game. And even after this defeat we’re still incredibly only one point off fourth place with everything to play for. But I suppose the biggest plus is that we won’t have to play a side every week in the form that Spurs showed here. Oh yes – and we must be improving, as we only lost the second half 1-0! Man of the Match? We didn’t have one.
Tottenham Hotspur: Brad Friedel (G), Kyle Walker, Matt Dwason, Ledley King (Nelson 74), Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar, Scott Parker, Luca Modric, Gareth Bale (Lennon 67), Louis Saha (Defoe 67), Adebayor
Subs: Cudicini, Lennon, Defoe, Rose, Livermore, Nelsen, Khumalo
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Collocini, Davide Santon, Gabriel Obertan (Ferguson 46), James Perch, Danny Guthrie (Lovenkrands 86), Jonas Gutierrez, Demba Ba, Papiss Demba Cisse (Gosling 67)
Subs: Rob Elliot, Hatem Ben Arfa, Peter Lovenkrands, Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling, Shola Ameobi, Shane Ferguson.
Yellow Cards: Parker, Walker, Gosling
Red Cards: None