Sometimes you just have to hold you hands up and admit that the better team, propelled by a player in the form of his life, won on the day.
Unfortunately for us Mags that day is today as a Gareth Bale inspired Tottenham Hotspur beat us 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
There is no real disgrace in that to be honest. The victory sent Tottenham third in the table for a brief moment in time and you can see why they are flirting with Champions League qualification. They are a good side, unbeaten in ten games now, and with a midfielder popping up and scoring goals in the manner that Gareth Bale is right now they look tough to beat.
That’s not to say that we disgraced ourselves by any stretch of the imagination. Once again I saw enough to suggest that we’ll be fine against other teams, and with matches against Southampton, Stoke and Wigan popping up in our next four league games there is a chance we’ll pick up points with the added quality and resolve we now have at our disposal.
What cost us today was poor defending more than anything, and the ability of Bale to take advantage of it. He scored his 12 and 13th league goals of the season, which is only six less than the whole of our team combined (not including the departed Demba Ba) have managed all season.
Bale gave Spurs the lead inside the opening five minutes after Fabricio Coloccini rather cynically fouled Clint Dempsey. The Welshman lined up the free-kick and sent the ball over the wall into the bottom right corner of Tim Krul’s goal. Could the wall have done better? Well jumping would be a start…
Newcastle came back into the game though and should of equalised through Papiss Cisse who headed Fabricio Coloccini’s cross wide of goal. However United weren’t to be denied a leveller and midway through the first half Moussa Sissoko squared the ball for Yoan Gouffran to hit home via a deflection off Michael Dawson.
From then on the game was pretty even. Newcastle had woken up and closed the space down that Tottenham were operating in. That was until early on the second half when Yoan Gouffran was taken off on a stretcher following a rash challenge from Kyle Walker. The striker has a gash on his leg and has been taken to hospital for a scan on his leg.
The home side gained the ascendancy from then on and delivered what turned out to be the knockout blow with 12 minutes remaining after a lack of communication between Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini allowed Gareth Bale to run on to a hopeful long ball from Kyle Walker leaving the Welshman the task of finishing past Krul.
Shola Ameobi did nearly scrape an equaliser in added on time, but Hugo Lloris was equal to Shola’s shot and pushed the ball wide of goal in what was pretty much the last act of a defeat for United.
Tottenham are a good side but we didn’t get hammered like last season. I dare say the difference was Gareth Bale and that was about it. Everything positive for Spurs came through him today and better teams than us have and will struggle to contain him in this form.
Onwards and upwards!
Tottenham: Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson, Stephen Caulker, Kyle Naughton; Scott Parker, Moussa Dembele; Aaron Lennon, Lewis Holtby, Gareth Bale; Clint Dempsey
Subs: Brad Friedel, Jan Vertonghen, William Gallas, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Jake Livermore, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Emmanuel Adebayor
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; Yohan Cabaye, James Perch; Jonas Gutierrez, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran; Papiss Cisse
Subs: Steve Harper, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Vurnon Anita, Cheik Tiote, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi