Newcastle was just the team and game Tottenham needed in 2-3 win

Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on October 17, 2021.. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, northeast England on October 17, 2021.. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

There were stark reminders of both Spurs’ quality and their fragility during the match, but in the end, Newcastle was just the team Tottenham Hotspur needed to face.

The final score was not necessarily indicative of just how in control Tottenham Hotspur was but the game all of its ebbs and flows – less the near-death experience – were exactly what they needed. From the off, this became the kind of win, that can build some confidence if you focus on the positives.

Newcastle energy overwhelms Spurs early

With the new ownership takeover complete and the Mike Ashley era finally over, the black flags were out and the energy was high. No matter what you think of the new ownership consortium the one thing that seems certain is that the purse strings that held Newcastle in limbo will likely be gone and the fans were behind it.

Less than two minutes into the match, the moment looked too big for Tottenham as Newcastle scored with ease and could have been prevented with more effort. Newcastle had moved the ball across the top of the box to isolate Allan Saint-Maximin on Sergio Reguilon.

Reguilon was doing his job standing up the speedy attacker but no one had run with right fullback Javier Manquillo who sprinted ahead in a classic overlap run. Saint-Maximin made the smart play sliding in Manquillo who hit a perfect cross to the near post where Callum Wilson had gotten between Eric Dier and Cristian Romero for the easy header home.

Just like that in a flash St. James Park had erupted and it was exactly the start the fans and new owners were looking for and Tottenham wanted to avoid.

Unfortunately for Newcastle, and fortunately for Spurs, it was probably good Newcastle scored first as it activated Tottenham from an early lull and the Lilywhites slowly took control of the match.

Had Tottenham scored first, likely they would have dropped too deep and then been fighting off a frantic fanbase the rest of the match. Instead, Newcastle seemed to shot their gun a bit too early, and Tottenham awoke to dominate possession and the match for most of the rest of the game.

Tottenham offense awakens long enough

Down 1-0, Tottenham got their act together. The first goal was a great team move, starting with a long ball from Eric Dier.

Dier hit the ball long and wide to Reguilon whose first touch set him up for success. Holding the ball and waiting for the runners, the Spaniard spotted Tanguy Ndombele flying up the pitch, playing a square ball to the Frenchman at the top of the box. Ndombele controlled the ball and then bent the ball into the far post tying the score at 1.

Just five minutes later, Spurs took total control no a play most people seemed to think did not happen.

Pierre Hojbjerg played a lovely long ball over the top of the Toon defense to Harry Kane. Kane was running diagonally between the lines and was beating everyone to the ball. As Karl Darlow came running out, Kane reached out his right foot and dinked the ball into the back of the net.

As Kane turned around he smiled, seeing the official blowing the whistle for offside as the flag had gone up. Shortly thereafter, the replay was shown and it was clear, the officials had gotten this one wrong and VAR was on it. Kane was deemed onside as Manquillo was slow coming out holding Kane on and suddenly Spurs were up 1-2 and Kane finally had his first Premier League goal of the season.

As Tottenham continued to dominate possession and not really create a lot, things changed and the game was suddenly at a standstill.

Continued…

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Sergio Reguilon of Tottenham Hotspur is fouled by Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle United, which leads to a red card being shown during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on October 17, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: Sergio Reguilon of Tottenham Hotspur is fouled by Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle United, which leads to a red card being shown during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on October 17, 2021, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

Spurs save day in more ways than one

As the game marched on heading toward a 1-2 halftime, suddenly the players were all reacting as if there was an emergency, and there was.

Sergio Reguilon notified Andre Marriner of an emergency in the stands as Oliver Skipp and Eric Dier went running into the tunnel to get the medics and a defibrillator. A fan had a cardiac event and fortunately for everyone, cool heads and prompt medical care seemed to save the day.

When the game resumed some 15 minutes or so later for seven minutes of extra time, Newcastle was sleepwalking and Tottenham was wide awake. Spurs seemed to be coming in waves and it was only a matter of time before a third came.

Ndombele got the ball to Lucas Moura in the middle of the park. Lucas beat a player – as he did most of the day – and then slid the ball into Harry Kane. The ball pushed Kane too wide to shoot, so Kane played the perfect square ball across the box and Son Heung-Min finished with aplomb to give Spurs the two-goal lead heading into halftime.

Late Own Goal reminds Tottenham how fragile things are

Following the cardiac event, it seemed both teams were relatively content to just play out the last 45 minutes as Newcastle failed to pressure Spurs into mistakes and Tottenham failed to finish a wounded animal.

While Jonjo Shelvey was not satisfied with the status quo and managed to get two yellow cards and be sent off in just 23 minutes. However, Tottenham never used the man advantage to finish the game and it almost cost them.

Newcastle had a free-kick and knocked it into the box. Romero just missed clearing the header leaving Dier wrong-footed as the Englishman kneed the ball into the net for an own goal. Suddenly 10-man Newcastle was back in a match and the echoes of last season’s collapse against Newcastle could be heard.

Fortunately, Spurs saw out the match and took away all three points moving up to fifth place in the league, behind fourth on goal difference. Falling behind, coming back, being reminded how fragile a lead can be, yet still winning on the road are all lessons that can help this team move forward, assuming they learned them.

For today, we will take the three points and enjoy!