Tottenham Hotspur went north to Newcastle knowing that they needed a draw to clinch second place in the Premier League and finish ahead of Arsenal for the first time since 1995. Instead, they accomplished neither, getting hammered 5-1 by a ten-man Toon behind a brace from Georginio Wijnaldum. Erik Lamela scored the only goal for Spurs.
Spurs' lineup was virtually unchanged from last week's loss to Southampton. Ryan Mason again started in the pivot beside Eric Dier, and Ben Davies came in for Danny Rose, who apparently was recovering from a knock. Andros Townsend, as expected, started the match for Newcastle against his old club
The match started, and Newcastle dominated almost from the initial kick. Spurs looked lackadaisical in attack, and looked like they'd rather be on the beach at Ibiza than playing in the north of England. Spurs were leaky in defense, and their midfield press was practically non-existent.
And Newcastle made them pay twice. The first goal came in the 19th minute. Some passing interplay around the box resulted in Georginio Winjnaldum firing a well-placed ball into the bottom right corner just past the outstretched hand of Hugo Lloris.
20 minutes later, Spurs conceded another goal, this time due to poor defense. Aleksandar Mitrovic got a step on Kyle Walker and was able to meet Moussa Sissoko's cross from the right hand side. Toby Alderweireld, who should've been on Mitrovic, was nowhere to be found. It was a good header past Hugo, but an uncharacteristically terrible spot of defending from Spurs.
Spurs' best chance of the half came from Christian Eriksen just before halftime, who fired a shot from a very acute angle on the right, but Toon keeper Karl Darlow was there to save.
Spurs looked completely unlike the Tottenham we've seen all season, and limped to the locker room at halftime down 2-0.
Mauricio Pochettino recognized that there were major issues, and responded emphatically, making a rare halftime double substitution. Tom Carroll and Son Heung-Min made way for Tom Carroll and Josh Onomah.
The highlight for Spurs came on the 59th minute, after Eric Dier put in a nice throughball for Erik Lamela, who fired past Darlow from an extremely acute angle to cut the lead to 2-1. For a few minutes after that, Spurs looked like the team that soared to second in the table, pushing forward with authority.
Then a few minutes later, things looked even better for Spurs as Mitrovic was issued a straight red for a horror tackle against Kyle Walker, and Spurs found themselves up a man. Pochettino took off Kyle Walker soon after for Nacer Chadli, and Spurs decided to go for it.
Then the wheels fell off.
In the 73rd minute, Moussa Sissoko went down in the box and match official Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot. Replays showed that Sissoko wasn't touched by either Spurs defender around him, but it mattered little. Wijnaldum slotted home for his second, and that was just the beginning.
After that, with Spurs playing three at the back, Newcastle countered at will. Rolando Aarons scored on a put-back after Andros Townsend rifled a shot off the woodwork, and Darryl Janmaat twisted the knife, scoring on the counter again.
There's nothing really to say at this point. The match ended 5-1. Arsenal defeated Aston Villa 4-0, so Spurs finished the season in third place, behind Leicester and Arsenal.
- I will have rational and calm analysis of this season later, but for now I'm too furious to really respond to this match in any rational manner. Spurs were historically bad. It was an absolute s**t peformance. End of.
- "Happy" St. Totteringham's Day.