José Mourinho rolled out the 4-4-2 again, featuring Harry Kane and Carlos Vinicius up top. The back four had notable changes as Joe Rodon lined up alongside Davinson Sanchez at center back. Sergio Reguilón and Japhet Tanganga took their spots at fullback to round out the back four.
With a lot on the line in these final nine matches for both clubs, the pace to start the day was quick. Both sides had early opportunities including a Lucas Moura free kick that managed to go through a crowd of players and almost finding the side netting.
Possession wasn’t much of a thing as Spurs and Toon pushed for the opening goal. While Spurs had a few chances that never came to fruition, the best opportunity in the first twenty minutes came in the 19th minute for Newcastle. A chipped ball into the center of the box to Dwight Gayle was headed toward the net, forcing a diving save by Hugo Lloris. Gayle got a follow up that Hugo managed to get to, bounce it off the post, and come back to him.
Spurs recovered and thought they had a breakthrough in the 23rd minute on a through ball to Vinicius but he was well offside. Newcastle responded in the 29th minute with the breakthrough. Sanchez gave the ball away in the corner attempting to feed the midfield. Two passes later, Joelinton had the ball all alone on the far side of the box and blasted a low shot home.
The lead would be short-lived for the home side. Spurs exploded forward just 90 seconds later, carving up Toon. The final ball into the penalty area took a fortunate bounce off of a defender and landed right at the feet of Kane. One kick later and Spurs were level at 1-1.
The goal woke Spurs up. They maintained possession after the restart and worked the ball into midfield. Tanguy Ndombele played an absolutely perfect ball to Kane who blasted it home. Kane had a brace and Spurs had the lead, 2-1.
Mourinho freshened up the squad for the second half, bringing on Son Heung-Min for Carlos Vinicius. An early misplayed header by Sanchez led to a chance for Newcastle, forcing Hugo to get a touch to a curling effort and sending it out for a corner kick.
Neither team settled into a solid possession for the next fifteen minutes. Newcastle managed to string a few passes together until an inevitable deflection or clearance would stop them. Spurs tried to counter but always seemed to find the wrong color kit after the second or third pass.
Spurs had a huge chance to go up two goals in the 67th minute on a corner kick. The initial ball in was cleared out by Dubravka but no defenders could follow up to clear it. Tanganga timed a run and hit a powerful header that looked headed for the net, but was cleared off the line at the last second.
The third goal continued to be elusive for Spurs even though they had a few chances at it. Sonny missed an opportunity at another assist when Giovani Lo Celso found him in the box as Kane was streaking in from the opposite side. A better pass and Kane bags his hat trick, but Son’s touch was misplaced and easily cleared out.
Spurs blew a golden opportunity on a counter-attack in the 85th minute after a clearance on a Newcastle set piece. Lamela led the charge with Son and Kane flanking him. Lamela almost biffed it but he found Kane, who tried to blast it while falling down only to find the woodwork.
That missed chance proved to be crucial as Newcastle returned fire the other direction just a minute later. The hosts managed to get the ball deep in Spurs’ box and crossed it back in. A miscommunication between defenders and Joe Willock had an open opportunity. He went top shelf off the crossbar to tie the match with just a few minutes to play. Neither side put together a chance before the final whistle.
Thoughts on the Match
- Not a good performance, to say the least. Despite that, Spurs had a few chances to put this match away and couldn’t do it.
- Kane was Kane with two goals, though the first one was an absolute gift. That being said, can we find anyone else to take free kicks? I love the man, but that’s not his thing.
- The defense remains a problem no matter who is in the back line. That second goal was comical.
- There wasn’t really a spell where Spurs controlled this match. Bad turnovers, disjointed movement, failed passes...stop me if you’ve heard all of this before.
- There’s eight matches left in the league and Spurs are two points out of top four. The run-in isn’t great but that doesn’t even matter given how this team is playing.
- Spurs have a week to prepare for their next match, a crucial fixture against second place Manchester United.