A expectedly ragged beginning for a Spurs side featuring no fewer than five players just returning from deep runs in the World Cup, but thanks to Lloris and woodwork, three points were gained. It won’t be the last time that the expression “World Cup winner” will accompany our captain, and certainly he made the difference in a second half where the home side became increasingly insistent on an equaliser. And as with last year Newcastle was left with 10 men at the end, only this time from an unfortunate injury to former Spur DeAndre Yedlin, not a JonJo Shelvey red card.
The good was the central defence, but for a curious inability to clear corners and crosses in the second half. Davinson Sanchez hasn’t missed a beat, also combining with his center half partner for the first goal. Vertonghen would trial only Lloris for my MOTM, scoring the first thanks to goal line technology (I am missing VAR already but in this case the existing system was enough) and then saving everything after Dier lost Rondon with a block that deflected a sure up and over Hugo and onto the crossbar.
Serge Aurier was a typical hot mess. Several rash fouls per usual, some confused ball-handling deep in Newcastle territory (he and Sissoko combined to produce a veritable offensive black hole in the first half), one horrible misjudgment when he abandoned his half of the pitch, allowing Kenedy in alone, denied by a shaky first touch and a fine scamper by Lloris. And yet his cross to Dele for the winner was sublime. Davies was fairly anonymous but solid. Dier was booked but the fault lay with Kane and Aurier for losing possession, and but for the final miscue allowing Rondon his chance played well. Sissoko did what Sissoko does—largely occupy space—but almost scored on a sweet left footed chance in fron of goal stopped by Dubravka.
Upfront Dele was fine and made a classic far corner run for the winning header. He and Eriksen missed a couple of opportunities which can be blamed on rust. Lucas also was rather quiet and failed to combine with his forward mates. And the less that can be said about Kane the better—one felt it might have been better to give him another week off—I would expect better and that long missing August goal next week at Wembley v Fulham.
No signings, but still a deep squad. Dembele, Son and the debutante Luke Amos saw the game out. Three points were deserved, but just barely. Onward and upward.
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