Spurs up to second after Newcastle win
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Newcastle United 0
Tottenham kept their Premier League title hopes alive with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Newcastle at Wembley today.
Heung-min Son’s 83rd minute goal, which squirmed under the body of hapless Geordie goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, secured Spurs’ second late Wembley win of the week, following the 2-1 comeback success against Watford on Wednesday.
The victory moves Spurs up into second place, a point above Manchester City ahead of the champions’ game against Arsenal tomorrow - and four points behind Liverpool.
The pattern of the game was set early on at a freezing Wembley. Newcastle’s 5-4-1 formation – minus record £20m signing Miguel Almiron - made no bones about the away side’s intention to frustrate, but Spurs are late show specialists, as was shown on Wednesday.
In the first half Spurs were the stronger of the two sides. Indeed it took until halfway through the first period for Newcastle to fashion even a half chance. And the greatest threat during most of the first 20 minutes came from the snow, great chunks of which fell from the roof of Wembley – most threatening the health of Spurs right-back Kieran Trippier.
The first real chance for either side came when Lucas Moura, alone in acres of space, somehow managed to head wide following a cross from the inventive Erik Lamela after a Spurs free-kick.
Soon after that Lamela himself went close, thudding a header against the bar following a cross from Jan Vertonghen, who was encouraged into several marauding runs down the Spurs’ left in the first period thanks to the Geordies’ defensive mindset.
The first sign of real threat from Newcastle came when they won two corners in quick succession on the half-hour, the second of which, taken from the lively Matt Ritchie on the right in front of the travelling Geordies, led to chance for Isaac Hayden, who was well tackled by the impressive Harry Winks before Hayden’s follow-up shot was fired over.
But truth be told the first-half was a rather flat affair, as the starts of these early kick-offs can be. Both the two sets of players and the fans, who numbered marginally more than the 30,000 who watched Spurs beat Watford here in midweek, were quiet.
If Newcastle continued to defend as deep as they did in the first 20 minutes there was no way they would have even stayed in the game as long as they did, and it was the away side who created the better chances early in the second period, most notably when Solomon Rondon’s header struck the right upright following a cross from Deandre Yedlin.
But Spurs continued to dominate the majority of possession. They introduced Fernando Llorente on the hour mark, who immediately posed Newcastle more of a problem in the air.
The Spurs fans became more vociferous and, after 65 minutes, Lamela’s left-wing cross took a flick off Eriksen’s boot and was cleared off the line from Fabian Schar.
Immediately Newcastle broke up the other end, where Ayoze Perez’s shot was pushed wide of the post by Hugo Lloris.
As the game moved into the final 20 minutes more space opened up, with chances at both ends. The creative Eriksen played a beautiful ball from the right side into substitute Llorente, who was free but could only float his header over the top of the bar, with the Spaniard complaining about the sun in his eyes as he made contact.
After 80 minutes Matt Ritchie cleared off the line following another Spurs corner, but Son, as he so often is, was Spurs’ hero. All Newcastle’s good work was thrown away in a moment of horror for Geordie goalkeeper Dubravka, who spilled Son’s shot through his arms, and with it a much-needed point for a side which remains just five points clear of safety.
So Spurs have moved up to second in the Premier League. They’re now in the rather unusual position of hoping their north London rivals Arsenal can do them a favour against champions Manchester City tomorrow so they can stay there.
Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Lamela (Rose, 78), Winks, Sissoko, Eriksen, Son (Dier, 88), Moura (Llorente, 60): Subs Gazzaniga, Rose, Wanyama, Dier, Walker-Peters, Llorente, Foyth
Newcastle: Dubravka, Yedlin (YELLOW), Lejeune, Schar, Lasceles, Ritchie (Barreca, 86), Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu (Kennedy,82), Perez, Rondon: Subs Wodman, Clark, Kenedy, Fernandez, Maquillo, Joselu, Barreca