Finally a thrashing we were on the right end of. A moment of catharsis after a frustrating season. Four goals and a win away to blow away the gloom. Something all of us Spurs fans can enjoy. We needed that.
So, to the game. I think I’m going to stop trying to select a team before the kickoff, all previous discussion was rendered academic as Sherwood surprised us all. Much talk before the game had centred on where best to play Eriksen (he didn’t even make the XI) and whether Bentaleb or Capoue should play (everyone was happy, they both did). People on twitter were confused, was it 4-3-3, 4-5-1 or 4-1-4-1? Lennon was on the left wing and Dembele on the right!
For me the most impressive decision was the move away from the honest, British passion of Dawson to the more accomplished skill of Kaboul who excelled on his return from yet another injury. Another clever move was sitting Capoue in front of the defence (the dreaded defensive midfielder) releasing Bentaleb, Paulinho and Dembele to get forward, support Adebayor and create chances. Even putting Naughton at left back, widely mocked in previous outings, turned out ok. Before the game it looked strange, but in the end it all worked.
To be fair Newcastle aren’t much of a team at the moment. This was their third defeat on the bounce, five in a row at home; it can’t be much fun to be a member of the Toon Army just now. The loss of Cabaye coupled with a three game suspension for Loic Remy has shorn the team of its talisman and its goal scorer.
The first three goals all came from “assists” from Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal. Spurs travelling support didn’t have to wait long, the deadlock was broken in the 19th minute. Bentaleb crossed from the left, Krul could only palm the ball into the path of Adebayor – who else – and the man of the moment calmly tapped in.
The second was made and finished by Paulinho, looking like the box-to-box midfielder we hope he can be. Out of our group of central midfielders, he should always be given licence to go forward. He’s the most dynamic and has an eye for goal. He showed it here, first setting up Adebayor with a lovely backheel, then rifling in the rebound as the target man’s shot was blocked by the unfortunate Newcastle keeper.
The third was yet another for Adebayor. Townsend shot, Krul saved again, and Adebayor bundled the ball into the back of the net. He really has been a revelation since returning to the side. As good as any on his day, the big question was never over his talent but his temperament. Can it last? Probably not but we may as well enjoy it while it lasts.
The best was saved for last. Sherwood sent on Chadli who has looked extremely low on confidence in his brief appearances of late. Receiving the ball on the edge of the area he looked up, then curled a beautiful shot into the top corner. This time Krul could only watch as the ball sailed past him. The Belgian winger needed a boost and this will hopefully ignite his Spurs career. Spoilt for choice in central midfield we have recently lacked options out wide as injuries and poor form have taken their toll.
It wasn’t all great. Newcastle had a number of chances and Lloris distinguished himself again with some fine saves. Ben Arfa caused us problems when he came on – why wasn’t he in their starting XI? But on a night such as this it would be churlish to dwell on the negatives.
So a great win for Sherwood. I have to admit I’m not his biggest fan but credit where credit’s due. He made some bold selections and they worked out. Most importantly, finally there’s a thrashing we can all be proud of.
Please leave your thoughts on the match in the comments section below.