Looking Forward

 

NEWCASTLE UNITED (HOME)

Premier League

Wednesday 30th January 2002

With the FA Cup played on Sunday for the Toon, Spurs will have had an extra few days rest, as their Cup tie was postponed because of the heavy rain in London on Saturday.  However, it will be an advantage for the Magpies to have had a game under their belt and a win will boost their confidence too.

They do have some key injuries, mainly in midfield, but their squad is pretty similar to ours in depth; not a lot of money swashing around the club's coffers and a reliance on younger reserves.  Therefore, I think it will be a tight game, but there will be goals.  

Spurs will be hard pushed to reproduce another semi-final performance, so the match will probably end all square ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham 2   Newcastle United  2

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

 

 

Tottenham  1   Newcastle United   3                             (Half time score: 1-0)
PREMIER LEAGUE
Wednesday 30th January 2002
Kick Off : 7.45 p.m.
Weather : -  Cold, rainy
Crowd : -   35,798
Referee : -   Mr. M. Dean (The Wirral)

Scorers : -  Tottenham   -   Iversen 16
                  Newcastle United  -  Acuna 67, Shearer 69, Bellamy 78

CARDS

Spurs :  Richards (foul) 39

Newcastle United :   Distin (foul) 30

TEAMS 

Spurs :  Sullivan; Perry, Richards, King; Taricco, Poyet (Leonhardsen 87), Anderton, Sherwood, Davies (Etherington 70); Iversen, Sheringham (Rebrov 87) 
Unused Subs : -  G. Kelly, Thelwell

Newcastle United : Given; Distin, Dabizas, O'Brien, Elliott (Robert 46); A. Hughes, McClen, Solano, Acuna; Bellamy, Shearer.
Unused Subs : - Harper, Barton, Kerr, Ameobi

COLOURS

Tottenham :  White shirts, Navy shorts, navy socks.

Newcastle United :  Blue shirts, blue shorts, white socks

It is funny how one incident can change a match.  Unfortunately, this time it is one that has become a bit familiar.  It is the one where Spurs don't make their first half dominance pay and then get hit in the second half and the moment it all went wrong was when the ball dropped in the six yard box following a corner kick.  A white shirt was there, but Dean Richards filled it and as he swung at the ball, it ballooned over the bar with the goal gaping.  If (and it was a big if) the ball had gone in, at 2-0, Spurs would have gone on to win the match.  At 1-0, they were ripe for the picking.

That happened because Newcastle introduced Robert after the break and his free role produced gaps in the Spurs rearguard, because nobody knew who should tackle him.  Consequently, he ran at them will great glee.  And with Bellamy's killer pace, Spurs were left chasing shadows and went down in the end.

It had all started so brightly, with Sullivan only needing to react smartly to Richards poor headed back pass to deny Bellamy in a quiet first period for him.  The Spurs centre half had produced a more telling header earlier, when he sensibly nodded a bobbling ball to his left, where Iversen volleyed straight into an empty net.  Spurs were looking good at this stage and Poyet and Sheringham were linking up with fancy flicks and good running off the ball.  Few direct chances were created from all this artistry though.  Deano and Iversen both failed to capitalise on good balls into the box, by not getting decent contact.  Davies had a low shot saved and Iversen failed to reach a far post cross from the Welshman, but it looked as though Spurs would be able to maintain their superiority into the second half.

That seemed as though it could happen, as a cross field ball from Anderton was unable to be controlled by Iversen, when he could have been through and crosses into the box failed to finds their targets.  Sheringham looked a little out of sorts tonight.  His flicks increasingly found denim blue shirts and his understanding faded as the rain washed the Newcastle shirts out.  Indeed, the whole team began ceding possession and that made the Magpies job easier.  When their first goal arrived, it had been coming.  Bellamy had been greedy in lashing a shot well wide, with a player unmarked in the middle and then when he did put a hard and low cross in, Robert just missed getting an important touch on it.  The goal that started their comeback was from a free-kick, conceded by Richards for a tug on Bellamy (a similar offence which had earned him a yellow card earlier).  From the right wing, it was floated in and with most players drawn to the near post, Acuna was left with a free header into the goal.  Gus and Teddy were both close, but had not gone with the Chilean.  

Two minutes on and the second goal for Newcastle was scored by Shearer.  Staying tight to the line, Bellamy got past Perry and as he crosses, Shearer had pulled away from King to find space at the far post, where he stretched to put the ball in.  Despite a good break down the right that saw Gus flick the ball through to Teddy and his low shot proved to be too near Given, goal number  three for the visitors followed ten minutes later, as Tottenham struggled to keep the ball away from their goal.  This time, it was Hughes who got away on the right and his low cross was met by Bellamy, who got across the front of Perry as he tried to close him down.

There was little comfort to take from this game, apart from the fact that United deserved to win for their second half performance.  Spurs looked out of it in the second period and the crisp passing was missing.  Taricco was lucky not to get booked for some early rash challenges, while Richards did some good things, but equaled them out by some poor examples of defending.  Sullivan had little to do apart from the goals and a couple of straightforward saves.  Iversen showed that his poor touch lets him down, when it is most needed and Rebrov did show a little urgency when he came on, setting up Taricco, who failed to get in a shot.  Anderton had a decent enough game, but man of the match for me was Chris Perry.  Perhaps he should have got a tackle in when Bellamy was wide for the second goal and he was outmaneouvered for the third by the same player, but his interceptions had kept the Newcastle attack at bay for quite a while and he even produced s bit of skill to take the ball away from Shearer.

In the end, too many players underperformed in the second half.  It's happened before this season, but let's hope that it can be addressed before too long.  And, for once, some credit must go to the ref, who officiated sensibly in difficult conditions, producing a good game.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  CHRIS PERRY

Pete Stachio

 

0-3 IN 12 MINUTES

 

With defeats like this, our chances of a UEFA Cup place through our league position is fading fast.  The matches against our closest rivals for these places have failed to recoup many points and our record against the top sides is not brilliant, so that makes these sorts of losses all the harder to bear.

While Hoddle talks of consistency, it is difficult to see it developing, even within a match.  The Jeckyl and Hyde performances of the first and second halves confound even the greatest thinkers.  Is it something they put in the half time cuppa ??  Or is it simply that the old legs of the old lags aren't up to ninety minutes ??  Whatever it is, I hope that something can be done, as it is costing us dear.

Credit to the Newcastle side for their second half showing, but by then the Toon should have had their chips and we should have had it wrapped up .  Iversen was sharp to finish well to give Spurs the lead, but Richards not so, when he bluntly "converted" for three points, but if he had played football instead of rugby with it, that is what Tottenham might have had come the final whistle.  It is pleasing that he is getting in the box for set pieces, but unless he finishes them off, we will continue to shed points.  In truth, he produced a good interception in the first half, but the cup tied omission from the Chelsea game left him looking out of place in the side tonight.  Sheringham did play against Chelsea and did very well, but tonight he was off message.  The first half went well for Ted, but the second fell apart as we continually gifted the ball to Newcastle. 

For them, it was great.  Lots of possession and able to run at our defence with space left in midfield.  A perfect recipe for disaster.  There was a bit of fight by Spurs, as both Gus and teddy made sure Dabizas knew how they felt about him during a couple of run-ins late in the game, but for a player who looked so poor in the first half, Tottenham made Distin look like a world beater in the second.  He was a rock and stopped any progress down the Spurs right wing.  The reliance on Bellamy's pace was well played upon and Tottenham rarely had an answer to it.  I don't like him, as he appears to be the sort of flashy player who really could get up an opponent's nose (he's small enough after all), but his pace is lightening fast and there was little the Tottenham players could do to stop him after the break.  Robert also contributed with some intelligent play, with Shearer showing all his experience in backing off King to give himself the space to tuck away the chance when it arrived.

With games still being played at the rate of two a week, Tottenham will have to get used to it, especially if they go further in the FA Cup, but most of all, the paucity of the squad was shown up again.  More players are still needed, but even the ones on the bench aren't getting a look in early enough.  Hod gets paid to make those decisions and he may have to make some important ones soon.

Ted Maul

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