In what was easily the most consistently entertaining and attacking performance in perhaps two seasons, Spurs made mince-meat out of a Newcastle side that seemed to be looking forward to the Tyne-Wear Derby this weekend. It wasn’t perfect—Vlad gave a ball or two away; Danny was beaten badly a couple of times; Vorm was forced to make a few pretty tough stops when a better placed ball might have found the netting. But what it also unmistakably was—for the first time this season– was a Pochettino side playing Pochettino football.
Christian Eriksen in the middle of the field is simply splendid—easily the Man of the Match—and I would think Poch has now seen enough of Harry Kane up front to revert to the 4-2-3-1 formation he’s wanted all along. We are watching a possible long-term star grow before our every eyes. Andros Townsend had purpose tonight—not simply cutting from an inverted wing and launching 30 yard bombs with little hope of finding the target. The minute I was typing a note that the difference between Spurs and Chelsea was that they have finishers, Nacer Chadli showed that we are not entirely bereft on that score.
And while as a Sunderland mate of mine happily observed, the Magpie midfield was simply non-existent tonight, the pairing of Bentaleb and Stambouli was, in a word, dynamic. The effort was there but so was the skill: the ball kept pinballing around the field—from one Spur foot to another—and when we surrendered possession—someone—midfield, wing, or even center back—were quick to insert themselves in the way of any Newcastle counter. And barring a transfer move, the pairing of Fazio and Vertonghen is as good as it is going to get for this squad—we could do a lot worse.
It was more reminiscent of the Redknapp years than anything since—but the real excitement lies in the pairing of Eriksen and Kane. For the first time since Bale departed, Spurs fans can watch a defense getting broken down—in this case by a combination of two players as to the world-class singular presence of Number 11—but imposing nonetheless. And for once they did it at the Lane—against a team most would consider practically an equal. (Sorry, ‘Arry. Your lot don’t compare)
We face Sheffield United in the semis and have a great chance of silverware. COYS!
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