Tottenham thrash Newcastle at White Hart Lane
Harry Kane on the scoresheet again as Spurs reach League Cup semis to face Sheffield United
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane (C) celebrates scoring a goal with Benjamin Stambouli (L) and Andros Townsend during their English League Cup quarter-final win over Newcastle United at White Hart Lane
Tottenham Hotspur 4 Newcastle United 0
This time it was Newcastle United who switched off. A mere 34 seconds were on the clock at the beginning of the second-half when Nacer Chadli was allowed to skate unchallenged from left to right before drilling a low shot past the hapless Jak Alnwick.
In October, Newcastle had won the Premier League fixture at this stadium on the back of Sammy Ameobi’s goal just seven seconds into the second-half. Tottenham Hotspur enjoyed their revenge here , and then some.
They had led after Alnwick, the third-choice Newcastle goalkeeper, erred badly to present Nabil Bentaleb with the first goal of his professional career. And Mauricio Pochettino’s team added the gloss to a positive performance with Harry Kane’s 13th goal of an increasingly stellar season and a close-range finish from the substitute, Roberto Soldado, after Alnwick had parried Christian Eriksen’s shot into the middle of his area.
It was the first time that Newcastle had been in the fifth round of a domestic cup competition during the owner Mike Ashley’s seven-and-a-half year tenure and they departed badly beaten. It was no way to prepare for Sunday’s derby at home to Sunderland. But it was big for Pochettino. He and Tottenham have the scent of the League Cup in their nostrils.
Given their recent travails in cup football, this one seemed like nose-bleed territory for Newcastle and they hurt themselves in the early running to hand Tottenham the initiative. Alnwick will cringe every time he thinks about the moment that he jumped unchallenged to collect Eriksen’s corner only to allow the ball to squirm from his grasp. Bentaleb was the grateful beneficiary, jabbing home the opener. Alan Pardew looked sick on the touchline.
Pochettino had made six changes to the team that won at Swansea City on Sunday but he made his intent clear by retaining a strong spine, with Eriksen moved inside from the flank to play behind Kane, and Jan Vertonghen continuing alongside Federico Fazio in central defence. Bentaleb is also a first-choice selection in midfield these days.
There was an ebb and flow to the tie, with Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko, who was back from suspension, in barrelling form. He worried Tottenham with his direct running and readiness to shoot with power. Twice in the first-half he strung the palms of Michel Vorm.
Newcastle threatened an immediate equaliser when Emmanuel Rivière headed wide from Jack Colback’s cross but the offside flag was raised, which would have come as a big relief to the striker.
Tottenham were the better team in the first-half, with Eriksen probing with menace and Kane flickering. He blasted one shot narrowly wide and he out-stripped Fabricio Coloccini in the box and went down. The Tottenham bench appealed furiously for the penalty but the award would have been soft. Spurs could also point to the ninth minute move that saw Chadli played in on the right-side of the area. He drew a low save out of Alnwick.
Pochettino doubtless stressed the need for focus during the interval and his team duly took a grip on proceedings. Eriksen moved the ball to Chadli and he drifted inside from the left, waiting for the moment to pull the trigger. His right-foot shot was marked by precision.
Pardew’s starting XI had been as strong as it could have been given the fitness problems that he had cited for Cheick Tioté and Papiss Cissé, and the suspension for Daryl Janmaat. But there was the sense that Newcastle were vulnerable at the back and that they lacked what was required up front. Rémy Cabella was guilty of a glaring miss on 55 minutes, although Ayoze Pérez’s cross was driven at pace, and the substitute Adam Armstrong could not finish towards the end.
Tottenham turned the screw. After Jan Vertonghen had seen a header cleared off the line by Massadio Haïdara, Kane took two touches from Andros Townsend’s pass before scoring and Soldado also got in on the act. Spurs then drew Sheffield United of League One for their semi-final, with the home leg first.