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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Player ratings as Spurs emphatically return to winning ways –

FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – Tottenham ended a run of five games without a win with a convincing 4-1 victory at home to Newcastle United.

Spurs finally put a barren run behind them to keep hold of fifth-place in the Premier League standings, while the Magpies were consigned to their second three-goal loss in a week.

How the game unfolded

Newcastle went close to taking a ninth-minute lead when Joelinton’s ball over the top of the Tottenham backline found Anthony Gordon, whose low cross into Alexander Isak was first deflected on by Ben Davies and the Swede was unable to convert from close range.

In what was nearly a repeat of his goal on Thursday against West Ham United, Cristian Romero rose highest to meet a Pedro Porro corner, but his effort was cleared off the line by Miguel Almiron.

Tottenham broke the deadlock midway through the first-half. Son Heung-min – starting on the wing with Richarlison through the middle – managed to twist and turn his way past former teammate Kieran Trippier, and he delivered a low cross for the unmarked Destiny Udogie to tap in at the near post.

Minutes later, they nearly doubled that lead, this time with Brennan Johnson providing a great cross for Pape Matar Sarr on the penalty spot, though he was unable to strike the ball cleanly and Newcastle were let off the hook.

Newcastle were then gifted a route to goal when Pedro Porro passed the ball straight into the path of Isak, who in turn found Miguel Almiron sprinting beyond Udogie, but his strike was tame and easily collected by Guglielmo Vicario.

And the Magpies were made to pay when Spurs added their second goal soon after. Son again was afforded space to run at Trippier, this time out-muscling him on the outside and cutting back for Richarlison to finish from close range.

Johnson went close to adding a third with a driven shot from the edge of the box, missing the bottom corner by a matter of inches.

On the stroke of half-time, Richarlison missed a glorious chance to grab a brace. Son broke at pace and teed up Dejan Kulusevski, whose cross deflected kindly towards the Brazil forward, but his header was deflected behind.

Within 15 minutes of the restart, Tottenham had their third. Porro’s flighted ball over the Newcastle backline was misjudged by goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, allowing Richarlison to comfortably bring the ball down and slot home.

Most of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium thought a fourth went in moments later when Johnson’s strike ricocheted off the inside of the post and back across the line, while Son fired wide from a deep Kulusevski cross with the next attack.

With less than ten minutes to go, Spurs were awarded their first penalty of the season when Porro slipped in Son, who was brought down by Dubravka before he could round him. The South Korean stepped up and finished to round off the scoring for the hosts.

There was still time for Newcastle to get on the scoresheet when Spurs were caught dawdling on the ball and Joelinton was able to slide in a finish in stoppage time, but that was as good as it got for the visitors.

Tottenham Hotspur player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Son was deserving of his goal / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: Guglielmo Vicario – 6/10 – Got into a shouting match with Postecoglou over his distribution during the second half. Fine for the most part.

RB: Pedro Porro – 8/10 – A little lucky that Dubravka misread the flight of his long pass but grabbed another assist nonetheless.

CB: Cristian Romero – 7/10 – Defended calmly for the most part but threatened to lose his head towards the end.

CB: Ben Davies – 7/10 – Considering Newcastle’s attack had plenty of pace and size, the relatively diminutive Davies held his own very well.

LB: Destiny Udogie – 8/10 – At fault for a goal on Thursday, the scorer of one on Sunday. A little nervy to begin with but grew in confidence after finding the net.

CM: Yves Bissouma – 7/10 – Form has been by the wayside since getting sent off at Luton Town in October, but Bissouma returned to form here with a fine display at the base of midfield.

CM: Pape Matar Sarr – 9/10 – Phenomenal on his first start since returning from injury. Dominated the midfield battle, leaving Newcastle defenders in a heap by way of dribbling or intricate passing.

RM: Brennan Johnson – 7/10 – Playing on his natural side suited the pacy winger to no end. Unlucky not to have grabbed a goal himself.

AM: Dejan Kulusevski – 7/10 – Far more comfortable playing in the middle than on the wing in this system. Guilty of waiting too long to cross at times but was an asset going forward nonetheless.

LM: Son Heung-min – 9/10 – A few eyebrows were raised when Tottenham’s primary scorer this season was shunted to the wing, but the club captain rolled back the years with a vintage performance from the wing.

CF: Richarlison – 9/10 – It’s taken a while, but Richarlison truly has lift-off for Tottenham, scoring his first goals as a starter for the club in the Premier League. Set the tone with his energetic pressing.


SUB: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (73′ for Sarr) – 5/10

SUB: Giovani Lo Celso (73′ for Richarlison) – 5/10

SUB: Oliver Skipp (86′ for Johnson) – N/A

SUB: Bryan Gil (86′ for Bissouma) – N/A

SUB: Jamie Donley (90′ for Son) – N/A

Subs not used: Fraser Forster (GK), Emerson Royal, Alfie Dorrington, Alejo Veliz


Ange Postecoglou – 9/10 – What a way to get out of a rut. Spurs were dominant from back to front and today found the goals to reflect their performance.

Newcastle United player ratings (4-3-3)


Joelinton with the consolation / Julian Finney/GettyImages

GK: Martin Dubravka – 2/10 – Made some routine saves but his inability to read Porro’s long ball allowed Spurs to move into a lead that was unassailable before hauling down Son towards the end.

RB: Kieran Trippier – 3/10 – Made to look a fool by his good friend Son in a performance reminiscent of his final months at Spurs where he was half-fit and half-injured.

CB: Jamaal Lascelles – 4/10 – Booked for a foul that would have seen him sin-binned under proposed new rules.

CB: Fabian Schar – 5/10 – Not directly at fault for any goals but given a rough ride by Richarlison.

LB: Tino Livramento – 4/10 – Turned inside-out by Johnson, who made sure to track him all the way back down the other end as well.

CM: Lewis Miley – 5/10 – The most composed of Newcastle’s midfielders. Not like that was a meaningful contest to win, mind.

CM: Bruno Guimaraes – 3/10 – Had no idea how to defend the space in behind him and Spurs had fun toying with this weakness.

CM: Joelinton – 5/10 – Scored with the game already gone. Tottenham were unmoved by his dark-art style.

RW: Miguel Almiron – 5/10 – Kept possession tidily but frustrated teammates by holding onto it for too long.

CF: Alexander Isak – 5/10 – Failed to assert his physical superiority over two smaller and slower defenders in Romero and Davies.

LW: Anthony Gordon – 5/10 – Newcastle’s most lively player found it hard to make an impact when not afforded acres of space to gallop into.


SUB: Callum Wilson (64′ for Isak) – 5/10

SUB: Sean Longstaff (64′ for Almiron) – 5/10

SUB: Lewis Hall (74′ for Livramento) – 5/10

SUB: Matt Ritchie (74′ for Gordon) – 5/10

SUB: Emil Krafth (86′ for Trippier) – N/A

Subs not used: Loris Karius (GK), Mark Gillespie (GK), Paul Dummett, Alex Murphy


Eddie Howe – 2/10 – Newcastle were ripped to shreds and couldn’t find a way to blunt Tottenham’s attacking force.

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