Article by Rory Thompson – Follow @rory4spurs
Once again Spurs left it late to grab three points and Son’s early return from the Asian Cup saves their season. Looking at the starting line-up, it was as strong as possible with the only exception being Rose, who arguably needed a rest. Spurs started with a 4-2-3-1 with Jan Vertonghen deputising fantastically at left back.
Spurs started the game with high tempo and they nearly took an early lead when Lucas squandered a great heading opportunity. Newcastle had 10 players behind the ball for large portions of the game and this made it more difficult for Spurs to find key passes, often having to play the ball wide and look for crosses, which suits Llorente, not Lucas.
Newcastle had some opportunities and Rondon showed fantastic hold up play and was unlucky to be on the losing side. As the half progressed, Spurs players took too many touches on the ball and this allowed the Newcastle players to get into defensive positions. A faster pace was needed. Spurs were unlucky to go in at half time without a lead.
With the amount of crosses Spurs were delivering it was a surprise that Llorente didn’t start the second half but as usual Pochettino kept the same team that started the game.
Spurs started the second half with high tempo play but Newcastle had the best chance when they hit the post. After the hour, Llorente came on and he gave Spurs the focal point they needed. Eriksen nearly give Spurs the lead when a corner was flicked on but Schar cleared off the line for Newcastle. However, Lloris then made a fantastic save from Perez after having very little to do for most of the game.
On the 77th minute, Danny Rose came on for Lamela and Spurs looked to move to a 3-4-2-1 formation. Six minutes later, Spurs finally got the break through when Llorente chested down a ball for Son to take and finish. Realistically, the goalkeeper should have done better but the goal was what Spurs deserved.
With two minutes to go, Spurs brought on Dier for Son, to secure the win and it allowed Son to get the standing ovation that he deserved.
This was the sort of game that two years ago, Spurs would have drawn but with these players, the team is more resilient and despite everything going against them, they are still within a long shot of the title.
Man of the Match:
Son: Despite just returning from an international tournament, Son ran the most sprints in the team and was a thorn in Newcastle’s side all afternoon. He has scored better goals but this was a goal he truly deserved.
Opposition Player of the Match:
Rondon. He held the ball well for his team, gaining them throw ins and free kicks in the opposition half and giving his defence brief rest bite.
Lloris: 7 – Not involved for large periods of the game but produced a fantastic stop when needed.
Trippier: 6.5 – A better performance that recent showings. Although, must improve his crossing.
Toby: 7 – Constantly looking for diagonal passes to start attacks and was defensively sound.
Sanchez: 7 – Brilliant defending and showed composure when needed to defend.
Vertonghen: 8 – Excellent at left back, delivered several great crosses and could have got a couple of assists.
Winks: 7 – Constant running in midfield, composed on the ball and always looking to start attacks.
Sissoko: 6.5 – Did what was needed, filling in for either full back when they attacked but could have done more in an attacking sense.
Eriksen: 7.5 – Constantly trying to get the ball to Son or Lucas, although he needs to improve his set piece delivery.
Lamela: 7 – Great at finding passes in tight spaces but needs to improve his right foot as this stopped him making some promising passes.
Son: 8 – Fantastic from beginning to end, always looking to shoot and got the goal he deserved.
Lucas: 6.5 – Never looked comfortable at centre-forward and should have scored early on in the game. Looks to be low on confidence.
Llorente: 7 – A good assist and is growing in confidence each game. Hopefully will start the next game.
Rose: 6.5 – Only given 15 minutes to make an impact and made several good runs forward.
Dier: 6.5 – Only came on to secure the win and did what he needed to do.