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Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Newcastle United | Talking Points

Steve Bruce produced a counter-attacking masterclass to thwart Tottenham Hotspur and return to the North East with his first victory as Newcastle manager last weekend.

Joelinton was superb in attack for the visitors as he worked tirelessly to prevent Spurs from pushing men forwards. The club-record signing rounded off an incredible performance by scoring his first goal for the Magpies.

Despite the away sides victory, Mauricio Pochettino will be disappointed his side were unable to convert 80 percent of possession and 17 shots into victory or even a point.

Bruce shows his tactical intelligence

After zero points from his opening two fixtures as Newcastle boss, Steve Bruce was lamented for not having the tactical nous his predecessor Rafael Benitez was heralded for. Understandably Bruce took this to heart, and he actually produced a tactical display eerily similar to his Spanish counterpart.

Much like Benitez had done, he set the Magpies up in a 5-2-3 in defence, altering to a 3-4-3 in attack. Matt Ritchie produced a stellar display down the left channel to double up against Spurs weaker right side while going forwards, with enough defensive discipline to prevent Paul Dummett becoming exposed at centre-back.

It was through Ritchie creating space that Newcastle were able to break the deadlock too. He stuck to the touchline while Christian Atsu burst through the middle, much to Spurs surprise and fired a pinpoint pass into Joelinton’s stride. Danny Rose was caught napping out of position and the Brazilian was able to bury the ball into the net.

From then onwards Newcastle sat deep and soaked up pressure, bursting forwards with the pace of Atsu and Miguel Almiron on the few occasions they turned over possession.

Spurs lack accuracy

Meanwhile Tottenham created enough opportunities to win the match but were unable to take them. The hosts managed 17 shots but a pitiful two on target, which was epitomised by Harry Kane’s late miss from close range. The usually talismanic forward barely scraped the ball as he swung for a Moussa Sissoko cross and the visiting fans let out a sigh of relief.

England’s number nine was far from his best as he managed the fewest touches of any home player and was marked out of the game against three centre-backs. Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min were equally ineffective and rarely troubled the hosts inside the box.

It was only when Eriksen was introduced to proceedings, with less than half an hour to go, and Spurs had five forward thinking players on the pitch that they began to cause serious issues. But by this point with Newcastle a goal ahead it was already too late.

Newcastle rewarded for tireless determination

Bruce made two changes from the comprehensive defeat to Norwich in gameweek two, dropping goal scorer Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-Yeung and it worked perfectly for this fixture. In their places Sean Longstaff and Allan Saint-Maximin were introduced to the starting eleven.

Longstaff’s industry alongside Issac Hayden proved the perfect antidote to Spurs metronomic but blunt short passing. While Saint-Maximin had the pace to run on to balls over the visiting defence or the control and balance to receive passes into feet and burst forward.

Overall from front to back Newcastle worked tirelessly and in unison for the first occasion this season, while they rode their luck at times with a penalty appeal, they deserved at least a point for their tactical commitment.

Disappointing way for Poch to celebrate landmark

No one will be more disappointed to lose this match than Pochettino, he will not care it was his 500th game as a manager but the players he has done so much for should have given him a reason to celebrate.

For lengthy spells during the 90 minutes the hosts lacked penetration and were unable to break down a stubborn defensive unit with no space in behind. The encounter was crying out for Eriksen’s inclusion to pick a pass in what little space Newcastle offered Tottenham and eventually Pochettino’s hand was forced to bring the Dane off the bench.

Much is still unknown as to whether the playmaker will be featuring in North London for the remainder of this season or next. Nevertheless, Sunday was clear evidence his clinical precision in the pass will need to be replaced if he departs, or Tottenham will face similar struggles against other sides deploying a low block.

Up Next

Newcastle take on Watford at home on Saturday whilst Tottenham face rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

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