Newcastle were unlucky not to win a point from this highly competitive season opener at St James’s Park. Spurs dominated possession against Newcastle and pressed high which meant we were pinned back and that was the story for most of the game but Newcastle were given the chance to show all their capabilities against this well organised Spurs side.
The first 15 minutes of the game is where Newcastle produced their best football of the match.
Both teams were putting in dangerous crosses, Newcastle handled the pressure from Spurs well, until Davinson Sanchez flicked a header onto Jan Vertonghen who then headed the ball onto the cross bar and went over the line by 9mm (confirmed by goal line technology)to put Spurs 1-0 ahead.
2 short minutes later Newcastle equalised from nice build up play, the ball goes out wide to Matt Ritchie, he delivers a beautiful curling left footed cross onto the head of Joselu and he places the ball over the line and into the bottom corner.
From that point on the fans were chanting and cheering on the lads to go on and win this game and bantering the Spurs fans chanting “who are ya, who are ya!”
Newcastle took to new measures to stop an equaliser by adapting their shape to the way Spurs press, switching to a flat 4-4-2 when trying to win the ball back and quickly switching to a 4-3-3 when starting a counter attack.
Unfortunately the disorganization from the defence cost Newcastle a second goal, a cross whipped in to the back post by Eriksen miraculously dropped over the head of both Lascelles and Yedlin to fall kindly to the head of Dele Alli.
For the rest of the first half Newcastle were digging deep to get their deserved equaliser. There was a moment of great skill from Kenedy who dribbled past two defenders which opened up a 3 on 3 attacking chance but the lack of focus disconnected that chance.
The second half Newcastle came out strong, Mo Diame had a good chance on goal and was saved well by Hugo Lloris. From that point on Spurs got back into their rhythm and took control of possession and began to press well again.
The pressure was a real test on Newcastle’s defensive organisation and in the space of 1 minute Martin Dubravka pulled off 2 quality saves: one stop against the highly unpopular Moussa Sissoko.
For the remainder of the game Newcastle struggled to break down Spurs’s defence and the fans in the stadium grew more and more frustrated at the lack of accurate passes and the lack of innovation, but Vertonghen and Sanchez both marked tight and didn’t give much breathing space for the attackers.
Salomon Rondon came close to netting his first Newcastle goal on his debut, just hitting the cross bar from a deflected shot.
Overview: The scoreline of this game doesn’t reflect how well Newcastle played and match highlights probably won’t highlight the amount of chances that came to nothing because of misplaced passes but Newcastle were unlucky not to draw. But, we didn’t make it easy for the away team to leave with three points and if we show the same level of fight and determination then Newcastle won’t be worrying about a relegation battle.