Sorry, but I don’t have any jests or cleverness to begin this post. I know, I know . . . you were very much looking forward to my witticisms. This one is a tough one, so let’s just rip it off like a band aide. I consider myself a pretty level headed guy. I like to think that most things are not as good or as bad as they initially appear. I feel the same way about this game. It is a much needed reminder that Newcastle is not ready to consistently compete at the top echelon for an entire season. The starting XI can compete with anyone, but it is the depth that truly separates the Magpies from the elite teams in England. I am not saying that Champions league is an impossibility this year, but it is not a FAIR expectation of this team.
I think the reason that this loss was such a hard pill to swallow was that everything seamed to be falling into place for a perfect storm ending in Newcastle sitting in fourth, ahead of a falling Chelsea and an unpredictable Arsenal. All this without the two best midfielders on the team who are returning next week. It was not crazy talk or wishful thinking, it was an actuality. Add on top of that all of the Redknapp controversy this passed week and the Spurs lackluster performance against Liverpool, a lot of us thought we had a good chance of snagging a few points out of this one.
I was actually watching the game with a big Spurs fan. I always enjoy watching Spurs games with him because he is the type of fan that celebrates 'with his team' rather than 'at the opposition'. The first two goals he jumped up off of the couch with a whoop and a few fists pumps, but as the goals lulled on his celebrations were quieter and quieter. By the final goal I actually noticed that he wasn't celebrating at all but glancing in my direction to see what my reaction was. I saw pity in his eyes, which leads me to my player ratings . . .
|Tim Krul||5.5||Neither of the first two goals were his fault and after that he looked a little stunned, but who can blame him? Made an excellent save on Adebayor's effort before the rebound was hammered home. Seemed a bit tentative going in for a corner just before the half.|
|Davide Santon||5.5||Got in space a couple of times because of the hole Kranjcar left when he cut inside. Offered very little in final production, though. Was out of place a couple of times on defense, but was the only defender that had the pace to keep up with the Spurs.|
|Fabricio Coloccini||4.5||Adebayor had an absolute field day with Colo. The back line seemed to have trouble adjusting and communicating which must be placed predominately on his shoulders.|
|Mike Williamson||5||I think we saw that having two CBs with no pace can hurt against a team that moves as well as the Spurs. Was caught in no man's land a few times in-between attackers. Just like last game, took his cues from Colo, unfortunately that didn't go quite so well this time.|
|Danny Simpson||4||At times looked completely lost, but Gareth Bale did that to Maicon who still has yet to recover from it (lets hope Simpson bounces back quicker). On the second goal you can see Williamson begging him to get back. I think that midfielders tracking back have covered up some of his ineptitude (Tiote and Taylor). Seems to struggle a lot when he has no help. Did look better in the second half, but part of that may be because Guitierrez was switched to RM and was helping defensively.|
|Jonas Guitierrez||5.5||Did not make a whole lot of mistakes but did not create anything really. In the first half, Walker bottled him up. For the first time I can remember, Guitierrez looked drained.|
|James Perch||5||Too small to be a CB and not good enough ball skills to be a holding mid. What is he? Lost the ball a few times and could not get the offense going under pressure.|
|Danny Guthrie||5.5||Has been in excellent form lately. Did give the ball away cheaply a few times and seemed a bit lost. Sent in a perfect cross to Ba on the only chance that should have ended in a goal. Came off in 68th.|
|Garbiel Obertan||3||Wow. Everything I praised him for doing last week he failed to do this week. He did not track back at all and barely broke a walk when play was behind him. Watch him during the highlight of the first goal, he was barely picking his feet off the ground when he should have been running to get back to Assou-Ekotto. Came off in 45th, which was about 46 minutes late.|
|Demba Ba||6||Did not have very much service but hit in a wonderful free kick that should have resulted in a corner and put a head on Guthrie's cross in the 78th that could easily have hit the back of the net.|
|Papiss Cisse||5.5||Did not get to do much because the ball rarely was in Newcastle's final third. Surprised me with a few beautiful crosses that fell untouched. It was still nice to see that he had that in his game. Came off in the 68th.|
|Shane Ferguson||5.5||Came on for Obertan at half and played LM (Guitierrez switched to right). Looked decent at times but did not seem to have a whole lot of confidence on his right foot when he cut inside. Went at Walker with some success but could not produce a quality final ball.|
|Dan Gosling||5||Came on in the 68th for Cisse. The extra man in midfield helped but he did not create a whole lot. Should have had a goal off the Ba header's rebound but skied it over the goal. By that time though, nobody cared|
|Peter Lovenkrands||-||Came on late for Cisse. Didn't get involved too much.|
"Some of the blame today lies with myself for the selection. I probably played to many offensive players today against a team that were not only a very good squad side but a team that had an extra bounce in their step with what happened to their manager this week. Two-nil down in five minutes was a real issue for us. The positives for us were the second half, where we didn't loose our head. We didn't go kicking them or getting someone sent off by being stupid. We were a little more disciplined in our tackling and covering and we threatened the goal as well so in that we have something to lean on. But perhaps we had to many key players missing today against a very good Tottenham team."
"We could not cope with them. When they got two quick goals like that we lost our heads for 10 minutes and we looked disorganized which is unusual for us. The second half we could only do one thing and that was keep them at bay, keep disciplined, try and offer a threat, we had a couple of good chances, and give ourselves some pride from that second half and we managed to do that."
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