Newcastle United are in big trouble.
This was their fifth home defeat in a row. That’s now 10 goals shipped in their past three games.
And given how small the squad is, and with so many players chronically out of form, it begs the question what can Alan Pardew do to turn things around.
The fans have had enough. Again. Even a good season, which is what this was until Christmas, has deteriorated into nothing.
Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice and set up one for Spurs. What Pardew would give for such anin-form striker.
Papiss Cisse began his first Premier League game since October 5 to partner Luuk de Jong, who has had almost as little first-team action.
Neither looked sharp. Cisse missed two good chances. His Dutch team-mate never really looked like scoring.
Newcastle have now lost six out of their last eight games, a dismal run that saw their slim Champions League dream disappear and the FA Cup campaign ended. At this rate, they will do well to finish in the top 10.
The Londonders were by some distance the better side. Not only were they better on the ball, they were quicker, stronger and bigger.
Newcastle only really started playing when two goals down – and still lost another two.
It was a long night for the Toon Army, which began with a protest against Mike Ashley before the game. Nobody came out to speak up for the owner. Inside the ground, it was similarly one-sided.
Spurs could and should have been ahead after only five minutes. Davide Santon, who had a difficult night, was robbed on the touchline by Mousa Demble, who crossed for Adebayor and his shot skidded wide via a deflection.
A minute later saw Santon again in trouble when he didn’t clear inside his own box, the ball fell into the path of Paulinho and Tim Krul did well to pull off a save.
However, Newcastle came so close to an opener after eight minutes.
From a Santon free-kick, De Jong climbed high at the back post and got his header back across goal for Cisse, whose first-time effort from a few yards out was improbably kept out by Hugo Lloris.
Bad miss or great save? It really depended on your point of view. Had Cisse not been as rusty then maybe he would have taken the chance.
Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb is a giant of a man with an angel’s touch. Newcastle never got to grips with him.
And on 19 minutes he made Moussa Sissoko look foolish as he shrugged off one challenge and then skipped past an attempted tackle by the Newcastle midfielder.
From a wide position on the left, he sent in a low cross that made its way to Adebayor, who had the simple task of tapping home.
You got the feeling there and then the match was only going to finish with an away win.
Every time Newcastle got forward, and to be fair Sammy Ameobi had some intelligent moments, Younes Kaboul got in their way.
It was almost 2-0 on 24 minutes when Kyle Walker crossed from the right, and only a Mike Williamson tackle at the last second stopped Aaron Lennon getting to the ball at the back post. Cisse was in again on 28 minutes, as he raced onto a fine Ameobi pass.
Lloris rushed from his goal, the Senegalese lobbed him, but his effort was always going wide. Again, it seems to be the case of a centre-forward indesperate need of confidence.
Lennon was a constant thorn, never more so than on 31 minutes when he cut in from the left, cut on to his right foot and his shot was kept out by Krul and the woodwork. Newcastle’s best move of the half came five minutes before the break.
Sissoko moved quickly with the ball towards goal, played a one-two with de Jong, and whilethe end result was not great, at least the intention was there.
And in injury time, from a Sissoko corner, the ball was cleared to the edge of the box and Santon’s volley was at least on target.
So Newcastle had something to build on. Sadly, the points were all-but sealed eight minutes after therestart.
Adebayor was allowed way too much room at the edge of the boxes to line up his shot, which Krul got hands to, but couldn’t hold. The impressive Paulinho followed in to mop up and make it 2-0.
It was an odd night in many ways because after this, United had their chances to get back in it and played some good stuff.
Substitute Paul Dummett shot across goal on 70 minutes. Then moments later, Gouffran tried his luck with a dipping shot from distance which Lloris did well to push away. And from a Hatem Ben Arfa 75th-minute cross, Mathieu Debuchy sent a header into the top corner, or so he thought, only for Lloris to produce a stunning save.
Then Debuchy crossed, Cisse headered and Lloris saved as he fell backwards.
Tottenham were to get a third. Krul did well to keep out Andros Townsend, the ball fell to Adebayor whose effort bounced over Krul.
The agony wasn’t over and with two minutes to go, Nacer Chadli curled a superb effort into the top corner for a fourth.
There weren’t many fans left by then. Those who did hang around, booed, but it was half-hearted.Apathy abounds.