Tottenham Win, I Guess


Sometimes winning feels like losing. While I love seeing Tottenham win matches, this 3-1 win Sunday over an imploding Newcastle feels three weeks too late. Given the results both in and out of Spurs control, it’s becoming more apparent that Spurs are going on a (minor) European tour next season. Wonderful.

With a less than capacity crowd, due to Newcastle fans protesting their owner, it was obvious from the kick off that the traveling Spurs fans would be the noisier group of people at the match. Pochettino went with an older squad, with the return of Vertonghen and Fazio to anchor the back line. With Eric Dier replacing Vlad at right back, my favorite back line was playing today. I’m a big Oh Danny Boy, SexJan, Sir Eric Dier, and Waka Flaka Fazio back line fan. The “issue” that I hope Spurs address this summer, is the midfield. With Bentaleb and Paulinho in the midfield, Spurs would be in trouble against a competent team. Lucky, for Spurs, Newcastle is not a competent team at the moment.

For some reason, the one player that I would drop first from the team, Nacer Chadli, got the match going with a lucky and decent goal at the 30 minute mark. Given a lot of space and Newcastle backing off to cut off any obvious pass to his teammates, Slow Racer Chadli decided to say “Screw it, I’ll have a hit.” Just like any coach will tell his players, Chadli put a shot on goal and the due to the positioning of both teams, Tim Krul didn’t see the ball until it was too late and the ball was in the back of the net.
I would be a bad observer to not mention that Sunderland fans have up the troll game. Having a banner being pulled by a plane saying “5 in a row- 5underlan” was some Grade A trolling.  I’m glad there weren’t a lot of Newcastle fans in the crowd to see it, or the work day in the Northeast of England could get a wee bit tenser. To get the banner to be seen right after Tottenham scores, priceless. Troll hard, Sunderland.

After the goal, was when the match decided it wanted to hit the snooze button. Both teams had potential attacks snuffed out because a player either tried to do too much or wasn’t good enough to do the right thing. For Spurs, that player was Lamela. He tried to do some street Argentina soccer while his teammates wanted to play safe suburban ball. Neither one is wrong, they just don’t mesh well.

More from Hotspur HQ

For Lamela, that caused him to press, annoy, and search for ball without his teammates being in the right position to take advantage of Lamela’s hard work. Spurs were lucky towards the end of the first half, when Lamela put in a late challenge, that in a more hostile affair, could have been a red card. Luckily for Lamela, it was only a yellow and a stern talking to.

I don’t know what the halftime team talk in the Newcastle dressing room was, but maybe if the coaching staff would do it at the beginning of matches, they would be in a better position in the table. Just like the match at White Hart Lane, Newcastle came out of the half and immediately scored. I’m in the minority of Tottenham fans, but a draw and no injuries right there would have been okay with me. Spurs would have been out of Europe, and could focus on the title and FA Cup next season. We could have pulled a Liverpool (or Harry Redknapp’s first full season at Spurs).

Unfortunately for me, Spurs have an Eriksen and Kane. Eriksen scored a lucky free kick goal around the 52 minute. Lucky, in the fact that the Assistant Referee didn’t (rightfully) call for offside on Bentaleb and Paulinho as they ran in to get on the end of Eriksen’s free kick. To me, it looks like Bentaleb got a touch of the head on the ball, and should have been called offside, but the AR saw it differently. Krul didn’t seem to claim offside, and Bentaleb went to Eriksen to celebrate, indicating that he didn’t think he scored it. Whatever, Spurs are winning. Yeah Go Spurs, Go.

From that moment on, it was the Kane show. Kane was sitting at 29 goals for the season and seemed like he wanted that 30th goal more than anything. Finally, in the 90th minute, Kane got what he was looking for. With Newcastle half-heartedly looking for an equalizer, Ryan Mason broke up an attack and released Lamela. With a 3 on 2 break, Lamela placed a through ball from the half way line to an onside Kane who took a few touches and bang! Spurs win 3-1 and now Spurs fan (me) have more weeks of what-ifs to look forward to.

Couple of takeaways:

  • Spurs need a destroyer and anchor in the midfield to shield the back four in the middle, so we can let Bentaleb be that box-to-box midfielder that Spurs bought Paulinho to be.
  • Don’t leave us Kane; just stop being so focused on scoring. It’s a weird request, but sometimes a pass or a hesitation before shooting would put Spurs in a better position to score if he misses.
  • Newcastle is a mess and they deserve better, but I’m not sure what better would look like. Maybe an academy kid or two would help the fans get off the owners back.
  • I hate not wanting Spurs to win. I’m a bad fan.
  • I like Spurs playing academy kids off the bench. That’s kinda cool and fun.
  • Come on you Villans. FOYG