Brendan Rodgers predicted this. In an ill-advised embedded documentary in the run-up to his first season at Anfield, he made the dramatic disclosure to his team that there would be three players who would let the club down, and that he had already placed their names in three envelopes. Shelvey… Shelvey… and Shelvey.
We’ll never know if the winner would have come without the stupidity of the Magpies’ captain (JonJo is their captain. Think of that simple fact and then decide for yourself just how long Rafa Benitez will last Tyneside), clearly trying to wind up Dele and thinking he could get away with a little foot stepping. But it matters not. Eriksen (A clear MOTM) delivered a beautiful ball and Dele (who I thought for a long time was Spur’s worst outfield player today. Wasteful again and again in possession) tapped it in, he then continued his resurgence with a nice ball that Davies cashed in, and but for Kane missing two golden opportunities, it was a nice rest of the afternoon.
Sissoko had a couple of good moments in the first half, but was anyone surprised that he was first off in favor of Son, and one wonders if he has played his last minutes for Spurs. Walker-Peters was fortunate that an inches offsides infraction avoided a clear penalty, but subsequently he settled in quite nicely on both sides of the ball. The rest was familiar. The defence coped with Newcastle’s counter strategy, Dembele directed the offense, and Eriksen was sublime per usual. Kane was largely invisible in the first half but came into the game in the second, particularly after Shelvey’s dismissal.
So we got a measure of revenge for the season-ending disaster in 2016, and again a man up, no less. Bigger fish are coming to fry at Wembley next weekend. If there were ever a chance to do what JonJo tried to do to Dele—stomp on Chelsea when they’re down—this is it. No Fabregas, no Costa, no Hazard, no Cahill, probably no Pedro or Moses. A Spurs win will for all purposes end their title defence. It removes one potential threat and given the state of defensive football at the Emirates and Anfield, might actually narrow down the race to just Spurs and the two Manchester XIs. It will go some distance to quiet all the Wembley wailing. And Danny can Google the standings Sunday night and see his team at or near the top. If in the meantime a Sanchez or a Barkley or someone else arrives, all the better. It’s all ahead of us—no reason not to be excited.
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