Archive for February 2, 2019

Saturday 2nd February 2019

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 2, 2019 by bishshat


Spurs 1 Newcastle 0

The Premier League table screams with possibility for Spurs . For so long, this had looked like being one of those days when the ball would not go in for them. Erik Lamela had hit the post; Christian Eriksen, almost implausibly, had seen two efforts cleared off the line and other chances went begging.

Yet they refused to accept that dropped points were a part of the script and, thanks to Son Heung-min’s dramatic late winner, they have clambered up above Manchester City into second place and now sit only four points behind the leaders, Liverpool – albeit having played a game more.


Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that his team are not equipped to win the title. With trips to Anfield and the Etihad still to come, they remain a tantalising outside bet.

Son’s goal was a personal disaster for the Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. The South Korea forward had shifted the ball smartly onto his right foot on the edge of the area, throwing a couple of Newcastle defenders in the process, and the shot was well struck. But it was pretty much straight at Dubravka and not swerving with any menace.

Dubravka, however, allowed the ball to squirm under his gloves and, in a heartbeat, Newcastle’s stout resistance was punctured. With the owner, Mike Ashley, in attendance, they had created some decent openings and hit the post through Salomón Rondón. The late concession was a bitter pill.


Rafael Benítez massed men behind the ball in his 5-4-1 system, demanding unstinting work rate from each of them, and the pattern was established at the outset. Spurs pushed; Newcastle resisted while punching on the counterattack.

The home team had to fight for their openings and they had a couple inside the opening quarter only for a combination of poor finishing and bad luck to deny them. The former came from Lucas Moura and it was certainly a horrible miss from him on 17 minutes.

Lamela stood up a cross after Eriksen’s free-kick had been half-cleared and, with Fabian Schär playing everybody onside, Lucas was afforded the freedom of the penalty area. He got the header all wrong, mistiming the leap and directing it well wide. Cue a cutaway to Fernando Llorente, who was among the substitutes. Would he have done better?

It was Lamela who suffered the ill fortune. Jan Vertonghen, who played at left-back, whipped over a dangerous cross and, when the ball bounced up after Lucas could not reach the half-volley, Lamela reacted to guide a header at goal. It came back off the crossbar.


The Newcastle support had travelled in good heart and they enjoyed some nice moments. Matt Ritchie was a threat from left wing-back with his curving crosses while Ayoze Pérez showed his twinkle-toes, not least when he got away from Toby Alderweireld inside the area in the 43rd minute. He could not find an end product.

Newcastle’s big first-half chance came on the half hour, after Pérez had jinked and found Ritchie, whose cross sparked panic. Pérez arrived into the area and it begged a clean first-time hit but he could not oblige. Rondón’s follow-up effort was blocked.

Pochettino started with Lucas at centre-forward but he tried Son up top for the second half of the first period while he eventually introduced Llorente for Lucas. There were other tweaks; Lamela, for example, played in central midfield and off the right. Pochettino tried everything.

Spurs needed to move the ball more quickly, despite Harry Winks’s best efforts, and they were denied towards the end of the first-half following an Eriksen corner. Moussa Sissoko connected with a side-footed volley only for Dubravka to save smartly.


Newcastle struck to their , with Rondón working effectively at the sharp end of the formation. He was inches from giving them the lead on 51 minutes, after working the ball wide to DeAndre Yedlin and sprinting into the area for the wing-back’s cross. Having got in between Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier, Rondón’s header hit the post.

The margins were painfully fine and one moment of brilliance or composure stood to be decisive. Eriksen thought he had supplied it when he flicked goalwards following Son’s diving header from a corner. Dubravka was beaten but Schär, stretching backwards, hooked the ball up and away from exactly on the goalline.


Pérez extended Hugo Lloris from the edge of the area after fine work from Rondón while Llorente, with the sun in his eyes, blew a looping header from Eriksen’s cross. Spurs thought the Fates were against them when Eriksen directed another flick at goal after Llorente had headed on a corner and, this time, it was Ritchie that cleared off the line. Son, with the help of Dubravka, would force the issue.

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