Gareth Bale was the Tottenham star as Spurs defeated Newcastle United 2 – 1 at White Hart Lane in the Premier League. Bale scored twice, one in each half, but Tottenham can thank Hugo Lloris and Michael Dawson for their timely interventions during nine minutes of added time at the end of the second half .
Tottenham’s win is their fourth consecutive home success over Newcastle and the three points moved Tottenham temporarily above Chelsea until the final whistle in the afternoon kick-offs.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Newcastle United 1
Scorers: Bale (2) Gouffran
Team: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto); Lennon, Parker, Dembele (Livermore), Bale; Holtby (Adebayor); Dempsey Subs: (unused) Friedel, Vertonghen, Gallas, Sigurdsson
Andre Villas-Boas decided that Emmanuel Adebayor, following his late return from the Africa Cup of Nations, was not ready to start against Newcastle so Clint Dempsey played as striker with Lewis Holtby making his first start, playing in the role behind Dempsey. In defence Steven Caulker and Kyle Naughton replaced Jan Vertonghen and Benoit Assou-Ehotto who had both played in the midweek internationals.
Tottenham started brightly and made the early running as Holtby looked to make an good impression. He linked well in the first minuteswith Bale whose cross was just ahead of Dempsey. A foul on Dempsey earned spurs a free-kick and Bale took full advantage, lifting the ball over a static defensive wall and with it dipping to bounce in front of the diving goalkeeper, Tim Krul’s dive was pointless, after 5 minutes.
Spurs continued in a positive manner playing quick passing football with Holtby shooting over. Tottenham pressed Newcastle and were working hard as a team. Newcastle showed intent to get forward but from a corner Scott Parker cleared and Caulker carried the ball forward on the break. After a one – two with Dempsey the central defender laid the ball off for a shot from Holtby but it was blocked. Newcastle showed their threat as Cisse headed past the post when he got away from Caulker. Two minutes later it was Holtby again with a shot over after a beautiful cross-field pass from left to right from Naughton to Lennon. The winger pulled the ball back to Holtby but the shot was too high.
After an encouraging start by the home team, Newcastle started to show a greater threat and from a break on the right, the ball was pulled back to Gouffran, unmarked on the edge of the area. His powerful shot deflected off Dawson who was trying to close him down, and went to Lloris’ left as the goalkeeper dived to his right, after 24 minutes.
Spurs responded immediately with a break by Lennon but it was blocked for a corner. Naughton sent Bale away on the left and his cross went towards Dempsey, Lennon and Holtby, but no-one could make contact. Newcastle were working hard and going forward were troubling Spurs with their attacking threat. Cabaye had a shot blocked by Dawson and Lloris was alert as he gathered the ball when Cabaye tried to break into the area. in the final minutes of the half, Dempsey shot wide from distance
Tottenham had started the better but Newcastle had come into the game and were displaying a new found confidence following their recent signings and success.
An early mistake by Naughton almost presented Newcastle with the start they’d been hoping for after the interval but Dawson cleared the danger. Spurs threatened through Bale and Lennon but no-one was on the end of the winger’s cross. Intricate play on the edge of the Newcastle area, from Bale and Dempsey resulted in a snap shot from Holtby but it was blocked and went through to the goalkeeper. Lloris held a shot following a Newcastle corner and then Dempsey shot wide.
An injury to Gouffran, delayed the match by five minutes, and reduced Newcastle’s attacking threat as they sat deeper to frustrate Tottenham. The game developed into a midfield battle with both sides looking capable of going on for the win but neither showing the touch to make the breakthrough. Newcastle worked very hard, recovering quickly to thwart Spurs when they broke from defence.
With 20 minutes to play, Adebayor replaced Holtby and Spurs began to spread the play wider. It was from a defensive position which Tottenham went on to score their second after 77 minutes. A high ball forward towards Adebayor caused a moment’s hesitation in the Newcastle defence which allowed the ball to drop to Bale who got through on goal, taking it on to score past Krul.
Spurs had the advantage they’d been searching for and while Newcastle pushed forward, it provided more space for Bale and Lennon to attack. Adebayor broke through the middle but delayed his pass to Lennon. Krul missed an attempted punch to a cross from a corner but Caulker put his header wide. Bale broke clear but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper.
With 9 minutes of additional time, both teams could have scored – the game going from end to end. Lloris had to make a good save in the 93rd minute when a pass deflected off Assou-Ekotto into the path of the Newcastle player. A minute later, Adebayor broke through the middle and linked with Bale who crossed to Livermore but his shot was blocked. Three minutes on, a chance fell to Bale but he ballooned the ball over. A minute later and Dawson came to the rescue with a fearsome block on the edge of his penalty area. The ball fell to Adebayor who fed Bale but Krul again denied him his hat-trick with a save low to his left.
After today’s results, it’s as you where in the Premier League table. Tottenham achieved their goal of maintaining their position in the battle for a top-4 finish and so remain in 4th position, a point behind Chelsea who defeated Wigan, while Arsenal are 4 points behind after winning at Sunderland. Everton play at Old Trafford on Sunday.