Newcastle kicked off their Premier League season with a win over Tottenham Hotspur in front of a capacity crowd at St James’ Park.
A smart goal from Demba Ba and a penalty earned and scored by Hatem Ben Arfa sandwiched either side of a Jermaine Defoe effort was enough to send the Lillywhites back to North London with nothing to show from Andre Villas-Boas’ first league game in charge.
However the afternoon was kind of spoilt by Alan Pardew, who pushed the linesman after he failed to see the ball run out of play which lead to a goalscoring opportunity for Tottenham. As a result Pardew was sent to the stands where watched the winning goal, which is something he may have to get used to temporarily depending on whether or not the FA decide to take further action.
In truth the first half was pretty poor and Newcastle struggled to get a foothold in the game as the visitors struck the woodwork twice through Jermaine Defoe and Gareth Bale. The best Newcastle could muster was an effort from Demba Ba which was deflected closer towards goal by Papiss Cisse although the effort trickled just wide of the post.
However things were changed at half time and we reverted to more of the 4-3-3 system that served us so well last season, with Demba Ba assuming his semi-regular role on the left of an attacking trio. And it was Ba, in that semi-regular role, that gave us the lead after he chased down a Danny Simpson cross which was tamely headed clear by Kyle Walker, turned towards goal and fired a crisp shot into the far corner of the Gallowgate net.
From then on it looked as though United would take control of the match but as is often the case in football Tottenham managed to find an equaliser through Jermaine Defoe who found himself in the right place to react quickest after his original effort deflected off Davide Santon forcing a fine save from Tim Krul who tipped the effort onto the post only for the Tottenham striker to squeeze the ball home.
However just four minutes later and Newcastle were back in front thanks to a penalty earned and scored by Hatem Ben Arfa. The talismanic Frenchman ran into the Tottenham penalty box and was felled by two Tottenham defenders. He stepped up after “deliberating” with Demba Ba, presumably over who had the right to take the spotkick, and sent Brad Friedel the wrong and send St James’ Park into raptures.
All in all neither team were great, but I’m not concerned about Tottenham. What matters most was getting the three points and we done that without playing to our best which has to be a good thing. Hatem Ben Arfa carried on his good form and Demba Ba looked good while debutant Vurnon Anita showed that he has an eye for a pass and a turn of pace. He could turn out to be an excellent signing for us.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, James Perch, Steven Taylor, Davide Santon, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse
Subs: Steve Harper, Mike Williamson, Dan Gosling, Ryan Taylor, Romain Amalfitano, Vurnon Anita, Gabriel Obertan
Tottenham: Brad Friedel, Kyle Walker, Younes Kaboul, William Gallas, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jake Livermore, Sandro, Jermaine Defoe
Subs: Carlo Cudicini, Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Naughton, Jermaine Jenas, Andros Townsend, Rafael van der Vaart, Harry Kane