Gareth Bale scores twice, once again asserting himself as the best player in England at this moment.
- Spurs supporters know it, the press know it and even the most ardent Tottenham haters must acknowledge what stares them in the face. Gareth Bale, the one man show at White Hart Lane, is playing at another level right now. The commentary team of Macca and Ian Darke — who were especially nauseating on this day — made several declarative statements regarding Bale’s future in North London. He’s gone, they said. Not so fast. It’s going to take a lot of cash to pry the Welshman out of the clutches of AVB and company. Cash that nobody seems to have at the moment. The point will be moot if Spurs hold on for a spot in the Champions League.
- Clint Dempsey, the world’s greatest traveler according to people who cannot fathom the prospect of first class air travel, drew the start up front in place of Emmanuel Adebayor — more on that later. Dempsey made a difference early, winning a free kick in the attacking third four minutes in. Bale’s left footed strike bounced inches in front of Tim Krul’s outstretched hand before finding the back of the net. The free kick was well taken, but Newcastle’s wall was extremely poor.
- Yea, Perch, Cisse and Sissoko probably should’ve jumped there.
- It took Adebayor five days to get back from South Africa. Meanwhile Dempsey was hailed as a hero for returning so quickly after playing a midweek World Cup Qualifier in Honduras. The reactions to both situations were overly dramatic. Adebayor is what he is, as evidenced by his decision to throw Togolese coach Didier Six under the bus after Togo was knocked out of AFCON. Clint Demspey didn’t take an Air Transat economy flight from San Pedro Sula to Heathrow. Anointing players villains and goats with words like ‘farcical’ is getting stale. Similar to match fixing furor that erupted this week, I ask this: why are we surprised?
- Moussa Dembele and Scott Parker dominated the midfield. Not sure why Alan Pardew waited until till the 82nd minute to introduce Cheik Tioté.
- Lewis Holtby did exactly what was expected of him, pressing with energy for 70 minutes. His finishing was sub par — Aaron Lennon set him up with a glorious chance in the 20th minute but the German pushed it just over the bar.
- Newcastle equalized four minutes later. Jonás Gutiérrez played a great ball into Sissoko, who found Yoan Gouffran unmarked in the box. The Frenchman’s shot deflected off Michael Dawson and past Hugo Lloris. Any momentum Spurs had was gone.
- Steven Taylor took a Bale shot to the chest late in the half, wincing in pain afterwards. Taylor’s arms were pinned behind him, a new craze amongst defenders who are scared of drawing one of those ticky tac penalty calls that have been so prevalent in recent weeks. Also, I wonder how Phil Dowd would do on the beep test.
- Gouffran’s day was cut short in the 59th minute. A running battle with Kyle Walker ended with the Villeneuve-Saint-Georges native leaving the game on a stretcher. It wasn’t malicious, Walker caught Gouffran just above the shin. The AP reports the injury isn’t serious. Newcastle were flat without him on the pitch, and didn’t provide much of anything going forward in the final 30 minutes.
- In the end the difference was Bale. A miscommunication between Coloccini and Debuchy allowed the Spurs talisman to streak in behind Taylor. He lucked out a bit, sneaking the ball between Krul’s legs, but that’s what the best finishers to. As he flashed his trademark Illuminati hand signal–kidding– to his jubilant fans it was clear. Nobody knows what the hell will happen in the Summer.
- The game ended on a bit of a sour note. Yohan Cabaye cut down Mousa Dembélé late, sending the Belgian midfielder into agony as the final minutes ticked down. That should’ve been a red. Lloris, mostly silent, and Michael Dawson made a game saving challenges on Shola Ameobi and Cabaye respectively. Not a bad way to start the day.
1. Gareth Bale
2. Yoan Gouffran
3. Scott Parker