Gone in Twenty Minutes: Tottenham 5 Newcastle 0
by Absolute Thai Football
Gone In Twenty Minutes
Tottenham 5 Newcastle 0
The lineups were the same, with both teams playing a four four two formation using two wide players, a brave but foolish move by the visitors. Bale and Kranjcar’s domination over the fast but inefficient Obertan and the lumbering converted defender Guttierrez bordered on embarrassing at times. However, the real engine of Newcastle’s destruction was the performance of Walker and Assou – Ekotto in the Spurs defence. Their constant harrying of the Newcastle defenders and disciplined positional play stopped the Geordies feeding their Senegalese strike force with anything meaningful. Spurs’ 676 passes not only dwarfed the 347 of Newcastle, but their completion rate of 89% compared to Newcastle’s 78% was telling.
The most glaring contrast was between Ekotto and Gutierrez. The Spurs man’s constant, structured passing contrasted hugely with the Spaniard’s search for possession. If a fan new to the game analysed Gutierrez’s dashboard below they could think he was a right midfielder or a particularly ineffective centre forward.
The story wasn’t any better for Newcastle on the right side. Comparing Kyle Walker and Danny Simpson throughout the game shows an even bigger inequality of effectiveness.Walker creates huge intensity of attacking options, with only one, successful, cross field pass. Simpson’s play is ragged, often forced to defend against the swashbuckling Spurs man and forced into long, hopeful and often incomplete clearances.
The Killer Twenty Minutes.
Spurs destroyed Newcastle with highly accurate and probing passing allied to exceptional movement off the ball. Fifty more passes than your opponents in twenty minutes is breath taking at this level and, again allied with the level of pass completion and pitch coverage of the passes, it created carnage. Whilst Spurs looked to group passes wide left and right in the Magpie’s half, Newcastle tried unsuccessfully to pass centrally: no passes even approached the Spurs’ penalty box.
What else could Pardew do?
Perhaps the super charged Prince Harry Redknapp atmosphere undid Newcastle as they became their own worst enemies. Trying to fight fire with fire they were outdone particularly by the movement of Adebayor. They clearly tried to play a narrow game which could have helped dissipate the atmosphere, but why choose that tactic whilst selecting two wide men? Taking off Obertan in the 46th minute for the more workmanlike Ferguson shut the stable door after the horse had bolted and the introduction of Gosling and Lovenkrands, two relatively limited but hard working players, could have kept things tighter at the start. Cisse’s great goal last week and Ba’s excellent form made it tough for Pardew to drop them, but a brave manager would have quenched the cry of Harry for Saint George with a goal less first half and brought on more threat in the second.