Spurs smash five past Newcastle to go fourth

Tottenham moved up to fourth in the Premier League table and pile the pressure on rivals Arsenal

Sunday, 3rd April — By Dan Carrier at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Tottenham Spurs Stadium

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Premier League

TOTTENHAM 5 (Davies 43, Doherty 48, Son 54, Royal 63, Bergwijn 83)
NEWCASTLE 1 (Schar 39)

TOTTENHAM’S Champions League credentials were on display this afternoon (Sunday) as they brushed aside Newcastle by five goals to one with a performance Antonio Conte described as “patient, calm and resilient.”

The Spurs boss added, after seeing his side leapfrog Arsenal into fourth, that the remaining Premier League games were all now vital.

“We have eight games, eight finals for us,” said Conte. “It is very important to get points and dream we can finish in the Champions League places.”

Tottenham moved up to fourth after a comprehensive, confidence boosting home win that saw goals come from unlikely places. Defenders Ben Davies, Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal added to strikes from Heung-Min Son and Steven Bergwijn to put another vital three points on the table.

After the match, Conte said he was pleased that his squad had not come back from the international break sluggish.

He said: “What I said to my players was we finished in a fantastic way before the break, and we have to start again in a similar way. We were enjoying playing football before the international break and today I am very happy.

“I have seen a strong team despite the difficulty of playing against Newcastle. Their plan to defend deep was very clear and they tried to exploit their players like [Allan] Saint-Maximin and [Ryan] Fraser on the counter.

“We were one-nil down and it’s a positive thing I have seen. I have seen my team focus with patience and calm and resilience.

“We got back to one-all and in the second half we scored the second, forcing Newcastle to come out and concede space. To score five goals is good for us. We created many, many chances to score.

“I enjoy seeing my team play this way. I am seeing great improvement in many aspects – tactical, technical and in mentality. We have to continue in this way. When you work hard you want to see the result. I think the players are enjoying it.”

For once, it wasn’t going to have to be the Harry Kane show to earn the victory. While Kane played at his usual high level, he didn’t need to score himself – though he did have moments to add to his season’s tally.

On 10 minutes the England striker could have opened the scoring but he did not get proper control of a bobbling ball and instead sent his effort narrowly wide. Moments later Son scuffed a shot that was eagerly gathered by Martin Dubravka in the Magpies goal.

While no clear-cut chances were forged early on, Spurs were pressing but found Newcastle massing their defence. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg headed over on 33 after just about reaching Dejan Kulusevski’s well-placed cross.

Newcastle’s best chance from open play in the first half saw Joe Willock juggle his way past Davies and Eric Dier and then unleash a shot that was going in – until the exceptional Cristian Romero popped up and blocked.

The visitors then took the lead on 37 minutes, but it was not going to be the start of Spurs playing with a degree of introspection, as has happened when they have gone a goal down before this term. Instead, Newcastle had merely tweaked the tail of the Tottenham tiger.

The Magpies goal came when Son conceded a foul on the edge of the box with a mistimed attempt to nick the ball off the feet of Jonjo Shelvey. Full-back Fabian Schar placed his low shot around the wall and into Hugo Lloris’s far corner.

There was a moment when VAR looked at a possible handball, and whether or not Newcastle defender Dan Burn – who played the role of pantomime villain with a range of off-the-ball fouls – was also in an offside position. However, the pitch side referee failed to note either infringement and Eddie Howe’s side were a goal to the good.

Tottenham were aggrieved. They’d had the best chances and enjoyed possession. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, though, they found a renewed vigour and the visitors lead lasted a paltry four minutes.

Son set off on a rampage down the length of the pitch and ended up in the Newcastle box after zig-zagging past defenders. As he went to shoot, a final tackle saw the ball nudged out from underneath him and out of play.

From the resulting corner Son sent a cross over, and Romero’s header was blocked. The ball fell to Son again, and this time his cross was perfect. Davies ran across his marker and met the ball, his glancing header perfectly executed and leaving Dubravka with no chance.

On 47 minutes Kane skipped past Burn’s challenge and sent over a devilish cross that Son should have got. But instead the ball spun across the face of goal and Doherty, ghosting in at the back, launched at it, scoring a scruffy diving header.

Son soon added a third with his ninth goal in his last nine home games, before Tottenham found the back of the net again thanks to another defender – this time Royal poking in from close range. Substitute Bergwijn then rounded things off, skipping on to a pass from Lucas Moura and firing home.

The win takes Tottenham temporarily up to fourth on goal-difference, above Arsenal, who have two games in hand.

Tottenham: Lloris Doherty, Davies, Dier, Romero, Royal (Bergwijn, 80), Hojbjerg, Kulusevski (Moura, 75), Bentancur (Winks, 75), Son, Kane
Substitutes not used: Gollini, Sanchez, Rodon, White, Scarlett, Bowdon

Newcastle: Dubravka, Schar, Burn, Joelinton (Murphy, 58), Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Targett, Manquillo (Guimaraes, 58), Wood (Lascelles, 69), Fraser, Willock
Substitutes not used: Darlow, Dummett, Ritchie, Krafth, Gayle, Longstaff

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