December 11, 2023

Newcastle United demonstrated their top-four credentials in this very arena last season with an outstanding victory. But after a 4-1 loss on Sunday, the Magpies’ most recent trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium served as a reminder of the difficulty these broken players must overcome to remain there. It makes sense why a fatigued Fabian Schar collapsed to his haunches during the game.


At that point, Callum Wilson had made a comeback and was still standing tall, having given Guglielmo Vicario a hard time after the Spurs goalkeeper “pulled faces.” The visitors had been annoyed by the actions of a victorious opposition goalkeeper for the second straight game. It alluded to their annoyance following the firing of Spurs players Destiny Udogie, Richarlison (two), and Son Heung-min.Joelinton’s late goal was hardly a comfort on an evening when Heung-min led Spurs to a convincing victory.


With so many injuries, this team’s past two weeks have undoubtedly been different. Following their victories over Chelsea and Manchester United, and only losing to PSG due to a contentious penalty in the 98th minute, the black and whites have since suffered crushing losses at Everton and Spurs.


In actuality, Spurs had four times as many attempts on goal and 23 shots than Newcastle on Sunday, so the score could have been even worse. Brennan Johnson even managed to hit the bar’s interior. Wilson was the first, Wilson was the first to acknowledge: “In our opinion, there are no justifications. It was deemed inadequate by all.


Even though Eddie Howe seemed composed in front of the cameras, that didn’t always tell the whole story. The Newcastle manager told reporters, “There’s always anger in me when we lose and that will never change.” “If it does, that’s a worry for me.”


In preparation for Wednesday night’s crucial Champions League matchup against AC Milan, Howe must move swiftly to get his team back into shape. How the Newcastle manager must wish he could capture the spirit of those resilient Geordies who, for some reason, ignored train delays to get to the capital in time for kickoff and who continued to twirl their scarves and jumping up and down to the sound of ‘Freed From Desire’ long after full-time.

Their wait to celebrate a result on the road goes on, but the outcome of this game was not a foregone conclusion. After all, Ange Postecoglou’s side had not won since October and were fresh from making history for all the wrong reasons after becoming the first Premier League team to ever score first in five successive games and win none of them. Spurs were also the first club to lose three successive home matches in the competition having scored first in all three.


No other Premier League side had thrown away more points from winning positions (16) than Spurs, but a comeback was never on the cards as Newcastle suffered yet another defeat away from home. Remarkably, only Luton Town and Sheffield United have now picked up fewer points on the road than Howe’s team (five).


As strong as Newcastle have been at St James’, that ability to eke out results up and down the country was crucial to the black-and-whites finishing in the top four last season. Newcastle even went unbeaten in London and the visitors need to become better travellers – even if injuries continue to wreak havoc with 10 players absent.


After Trippier unintentionally headed a cross-field ball onto Son, the South Korean forward danced past the Newcastle defender inside the box with lightning-fast feet and returned it to Richarlison. It was too late for Bruno Guimaraes to rally and challenge; Richarlison had an easy time finishing it off to make it 2-0.


After the break, things for Newcastle only got worse. After sixty minutes, Pedro Porro had an abundance of space to shoot a cross into the box from slightly inside the visitors’ half. With his gaze fixed on the ball’s trajectory rather than Richarlison, Jamaal Lascelles of Spurs moved to place himself between the Newcastle captain and Kieran Trippier in a tentative move Martin Dubravka was caught in no-man’s land after initially rushing out before backpedalling. Richarlison took a touch before slotting home his second and Spurs’ third.


There was still time for Spurs to add a fourth after Son converted a penalty following a foul by Dubravka on the Spurs captain, but Newcastle did pull one back right at the death after Wilson unselfishly teed up Joelinton. It was scant consolation.



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