Adebayor makes another striking difference for Tottenham
Togo international on the mark twice as Newcastle’s poor run continues
Emmanuel Adebayor scores Tottenham’s opening goal against Newcastle United at St James’ Park. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Newcastle United 0 Tottenham 4
From Tim Sherwood’s viewpoint, arguably the most encouraging thing was that Emmanuel Adebayor had serious competition for the man-of-the-match award.
True the Tottenham manager’s prodigal striker scored twice and created another goal, Adebyaor thereby taking his goal tally to nine in 12 games but Paulinho, Moussa Dembele and Hugo Lloris all enjoyed splendid games too.
Lloris’s importance in making some essential saves along the road towards enhancing Tottenham’s Champions League hopes will prove of little consolation to Alan Pardew whose side have conceded 10 goals in three straight Premier League defeats.
Davide Santon was dubbed the new Paolo Maldini during his Inter Milan days but earlier this week, Pardew, re-branded him “the new Phil Neville”. It was intended as a compliment but hardly seemed to have filled the Italy left-back with confidence as the excellent Dembele cleverly dodged him before releasing Adebayor. Courtesy of a deflection, Adebayor’s shot whizzed fractionally wide but, within a couple of minutes, Santon was again deceived, this time by Paulinho whose drive was well repelled by Tim Krul.
Spurs had started strongly. So strongly indeed that Newcastle looked precisely like a side which had not scored a goal since returning from a warm-weather training break in Abu Dhabi last month.
Clearly missing the injured Cheik Tiote in central midfield, Pardew’s players were struggling to retain possession. It did not help that the Newcastle manager’s decision to revert to 4-4-2 left his side outnumbered in this department against visitors configured in 4-3-3 guise and wonderfully adept at playing between the lines.
Granted, the recalled Papiss Cisse should have done better than shoot straight at Hugo Lloris a, while Sammy Ameobi had his attacking moments and Younes Kaboul a few tricky ones but the early traffic was largely one way.
Shortly after Jan Vertonghen headed narrowly wide after a stellar Kyle Walker dead-ball delivery, Nabil Bentaleb connected with Aaron Lennon’s flick and evaded Moussa Sissoko’s tackle down the left before unleashing a shot which Krul saw late before parrying. It fell into the path of Adebayor who swept his eighth goal of the season home from eight yards.
Falling behind seemed to galvanise Newcastle and they upped their game. Yet although Pardew’s team were seeing much more of the ball and starting to highlight the vulnerability inherent in Sherwood’s high defensive line, Spurs always appeared poised to pounce on the counter-attack. One such break concluded with Lennon hitting a post.
Santon had not had his best half, the Italian’s struggles contrasting markedly with Dembele’s almost adhesive ability to keep the ball under pressure, so it was no surprise when Paul Dummett replaced the home left-back for the second half.
This re-jigging of the defence failed to prevent Spurs doubling their advantage at the end of an exquisitely crafted move featuring a gorgeous backheel flick from Paulinho, a parried shot from Adebayor and an assured finish on Paulinho’s part.
Much as they had, at times, managed to bring the best out of Kaboul, Newcastle’s attacking play was appreciably less three-dimensional than Tottenham’s, too frequently relying on a long ball over the top.
Hatem Ben Arfa is capable of offering much-needed guile but the French creator seems to have gained a little weight and Pardew to have lost a lot of trust in him. It conspired to see him once again demoted to the bench here only to be liberated from it shortly after Paulinho scored. While Ben Arfa replaced Luuk De Jong, an injury to Dembele offered Andros Townsend a chance to step back on to the pitch.
While Townsend’s ring rust possibly explains why he spurned a most inviting opening, Lloris’s night wasn’t over. The goalkeeper found himself stretched to the limit to variously push a Dummett shot around the post, prove equal to Yoan Gouffran’s piece of long-distance opportunism and Mathiu Debuchy’s closer range power after his connection with Ben Arfa’s cross.
All Geordie hope was extinguished when Krul beat away Townsend’s shot only to be beaten by Adebayor’s stunning half-volley. Spurs were not quite done, substitute Nacer Cadli scoring his first league goal and his side’s fourth night.
NEWCASTLE UTD: Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Santon (Dummett 46), Anita,Sissoko, Gouffran, De Jong (Ben Arfa 63), Sammy Ameobi (Marveaux 71), Cisse. Subs Not Used: Yanga-Mbiwa,Gosling,Elliot,Shola Ameobi.
TOTTENHAM: Lloris, Walker, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Naughton, Capoue, Dembele (Townsend 64), Paulinho, Bentaleb, Lennon (Chadli 75), Adebayor (Soldado 84). Subs Not Used: Dawson,Eriksen,Friedel,Kane.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).