Harry Kane milestone helps Spurs put Magpies to the sword
Tottenham ran out comfortable 3-1 winners against Newcastle United at St James’ Park, as homegrown hero Harry Kane joined an elite club of Spurs strikers to reach 20 Premier League goals in a season.
Crafty Kane is certainly keeping good company, as only the likes of Gareth Bale and Jurgen Klinsmann have been as effective for Tottenham over a single term.
The England international had a quiet game until the goal, but was unlucky to see custodian Tim Krul somehow keep an earlier attempt from crossing the line.
Tottenham will not be concerned about that now, however, as the north Londoners have slowly cranked through the gears to get their Europa League spot challenge back on track.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men almost effortlessly kept possession with an impressive midfield axis of Paulinho and Nabil Bentaleb giving the hosts the runaround. However, the under-fire Magpies were not without credit.
Newcastle began brightest, despite Spurs’ domination of the ball and a cheeky banner being flown over the stadium by supposed Sunderland supporters.
Remy Cabella put in one of his best performances for the Tyneside team since arriving in summer, and turned creator-in-chief to carve out several openings for his side.
It was the Magpies’ lack of cutting edge up top that saw them fail to capitalise on early chances, although Ayoze Perez looked sharp as he curled a few speculative efforts towards Spurs stand-in keeper Michel Vorm.
Perez was part of a promising quartet of talents, including Cabella, Jack Colback and Daryl Janmaat, who played with verve and vigour, and which should give coach John Carver a boost as the interim boss looks to cement his side’s Premier League safety.
Despite their willingness, Newcastle still looked leaky at the back, and were unable to match Tottenham’s quality in midfield, so it was no surprise when Spurs took the lead through Nacer Chadli in the 29th minute.
The Belgian wing wizard picked up the ball in midfield and took an impressive punt from distance to score his second in two league appearances at St James’. Although Chadli, who troubled the Tyneside team with his directness throughout, took his chance well, Krul should be disappointed not to have made the save.
Newcastle may have headed into the break behind, but burst out of the blocks for the second half to score within 19 seconds. Carver’s decision to change to a more attacking 4-4-2, and bring on speedster Sammy Ameobi, seemed to have an immediate impact, as Colback pounced on good work by Perez to punish Vorm.
The former Sunderland man had been threatening to breach Spurs’ backline with his bursts into the box, but Tottenham had not heeded the warnings.
It did not take long for the visitors to burst their hosts’ bubble, however, as Christen Eriksen stepped up to equalise in the 51st minute, expertly curling in a free kick.
It may be disputed whether Bentaleb got the final touch on Eriksen’s excellent set piece, but Tottenham’s final goal was all about Kane.
The youngster, who had endured a mini drought of two games without scoring, looked set to miss out again after the Magpies stifled his volley. Newcastle became increasingly vulnerable on the break as they pushed for a last gasp equaliser, though, so Kane found plenty of space to coolly slot past Krul after Erik Lamela fed him on the counter.
After their triumph, Spurs now sit sixth, and have hope of securing European football again, while Newcastle will be left to rue a dangerous sixth league defeat in a row.