Tottenham Hotspur 0 Newcastle United 1: Stuart Rayner's match analysis

With a deadly striker and a brilliant goalkeeper, the improbable suddenly becomes very possible. No wonder a Newcastle United team featuring Loic Remy and Tim Krul are specialising in it this season

Loic Remy in action for Newcastle against Spurs
Loic Remy in action for Newcastle against Spurs

With a deadly striker and a brilliant goalkeeper, the improbable suddenly becomes very possible. No wonder a Newcastle United team featuring Loic Remy and Tim Krul are specialising in it this season.

The team which managed to lose to Hull City and Sunderland has now beaten Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the space of eight days.

Such is the inconsistency of this season’s Magpies.

“How s*** must you be, we’re winning away!” sang the away fans disgracefully asked to travel to London in time for a noon kick-off which suited the only people who matter, the television companies.

However, Newcastle have won more league matches away than at home this season, just as they have more victories on their travels than in the whole of 2012-13.

When it comes to this infuriating and exhilarating team, logic need not apply.

This was a win to be proud of, but not one Newcastle deserved.

Spurs had 31 shots but it was Remy who scored the game’s only goal, his seventh in nine Newcastle appearances.

That the hosts failed to add to a dismal tally of nine goals in what is now 11 Premier League games was down to a bit of bad luck, a smidgeon of poor shooting and good defending. More than anything, though, it was down to Krul’s 14 saves.

Goalkeepers of the Dutchman’s quality can stop you losing games you ought to. Strikers of Remy’s calibre can win matches you should not. Both together were a demoralising combination for a Spurs team still to find exactly the right chemistry after their post-Gareth Bale overhaul.

In the opening half-hour Newcastle were dangerous on the counter-attack, the sharp Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy combining for a 14th-minute goal.

However, once Tottenham got a foothold in the game shortly after, it turned into them versus Krul. The Dutchman won.

Roberto Soldado gave Newcastle a warning in the tenth minute when he pulled away at a corner and headed over the bar. It spurred the visitors into the decisive spell of the match.

Davide Santon played a ball down the line to Remy. The French striker over-ran the ball slightly as he approached the goal, allowing Vlad Chiriches to make a crucial tackle.

From the corner the ball came out to Mathieu Debuchy and his shot was saved by Brad Friedel – deputising for Hugo Lloris, still not fully recovered from the concussion he suffered at Goodison Park the previous weekend. The American was unsighted by Gouffran, who did well to get out of the way of the path of the ball from his offside position.

Gouffran has a liking for White Hart Lane and did brilliantly to create Remy’s opening goal after 14 minutes.

He had come in off the left-hand side of Newcastle’s midfield four to rob Paulino of the ball, then threaded a lovely pass to the on-loan striker. Remy rounded Friedel and put the ball into the net.

Gradually Spurs felt their way into the game, but Mike Williamson and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa justified the decision to leave Fabricio Coloccini on the bench, where the club captain stayed. When they were breached, Krul was in fine form.

Playing in the hole, Christian Eriksen was the game’s biggest creative influence but when he flashed a ball across the six-yard box after 19 minutes, there was no one there to provide a finishing touch.

When Mousa Dembele outmuscled Cheick Tiote and fed Jan Vertonghen, the left-back’s right-footed shot was weak. He made a much better contact from a free-kick two minutes later, but the ball passed just the wrong side of Krul’s post.

The Newcastle goalkeeper’s two best saves, both at full-stretch, came in the first half. If they were of the highest quality, his second-half work was notable for the sheer quantity.

When Eriksen whipped a 30th-minute free-kick at goal, Soldado’s flick with his head was clever but, like Paulinho’s shot 12 minutes later, it was tipped around the post.

Neither the interval nor two Spurs substitutions brought any relief.

They started the second half camped in Newcastle territory.

Paulinho played in Andros Townsend – anonymous in the first half, much more influential in the second - and when the England winger picked out Soldado, Krul saved with his left foot.

He reacted brilliantly when Gylfi Sigurdsson’s shot deflected off the defensive wall and so did Yanga-Mbiwa, pouncing on the rebound before anyone in white could.

Debuchy was booked for a foul on Paulinho, ruling the right-back out of the visit of Norwich City.

With the inconsistency Newcastle have shown this season, that game could be their most dangerous and least productive of the month.

Vurnon Anita was introduced in place of Shola Ameobi as Pardew tried to take some semblance of midfield control but it made no difference. Tottenham went the other way, throwing on Jermain Defoe in place of midfielder Sigurdsson, and still bossed the game.

Moussa Sissoko did at least force a save from Friedel from a tight angle. Gouffran miskicked from the corner.

Krul’s next save, after Paulinho released Townsend, was his least convincing and demanded another, from Soldado.

He had earned some luck. When the goalkeeper denied Townsend again, the ball flew just wide of the Spanish striker. Even Krul had to grin when Vertonghen headed onto the crossbar from an 84th-minute corner, well and truly confirming it was not going to be Tottenham’s day.

In between, Gouffran played a terrific ball to the recently-introduced Papiss Cisse.

The striker of 2011 would have volleyed it straight in, the 2013 version put a difficult chance wide.

Anita and Tiote threw themselves in front of late shots while Sissoko, Santon and Gabriel Obertan did their best to ensure Spurs had something else to think about.

On form, on confidence, on the balance of play it was ridiculously unpredictable.

Those two words may eventually sum up Newcastle’s season.

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David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer