PLAYER RATINGS – Newcastle 1-3 Spurs: One 8, a few 7’s, the odd 6 & several 4’s & 5’s

An improved display going forward, but defensive frailties let us down once again in what somehow turned out to be a comfortable win for Tottenham.

Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with my mark out of 10:

Dubravka – 6 – May have been frustrated to be beaten at his near post by Son, but denied the South Korean from making it 0-2 minutes later, doing well to tip a looping shot wide after a mean deflection. Couldn’t do much about Kane’s first goal but did parry Lamela’s shot straight to the Spurs star for his second. Not his best night but he was left exposed.

Krafth – 4 – Our best defender in the first half and looked pretty assured on the ball too, but had an awful second half, playing a big part in Tottenham’s second and third. He lost Kane for his opener and was turned inside and out by Lamela prior to goal number three. A bad end to what was a promising display to begin with, but perhaps more proof that Bruce needs to stop using him at centre-back.

Schar – 4 – Started OK in the middle of defence but was at fault for their opener, with it being his heavy touch that saw us lose the ball in a dangerous area moments before Son’s goal. Played a few nice balls out from the back, however his casual lapse proved costly once again. Won’t play again this season after dislocating his shoulder late on.

Fernandez – 5 – Got booked for a cynical clash with Lucas and dropped off to give Bergwijn too much space to cross for Kane’s first goal and reacted too late to stop a loose ball reaching the England striker for his second. Not the worst defender on the pitch tonight but this is now the third game in a row where he’s been well below his best.

Yedlin – 4 – Really poor and showed his limitations at both ends throughout. Didn’t get close enough to Son for Spurs’ opener, allowing him to cut in and fire hit shot off far too easily, and never looked comfortable on the ball. Too often allows high balls to bounce and gave the ball away a few too many times with stray passes. He was axed early in the second half by Bruce, being replaced by Lazaro on 54 minutes.

Bentaleb – 5 – Was beaten too easily more often than not when Spurs ran at him, highlighting his limitations off the ball and just how immobile he can be in comparison to Isaac Hayden. Some neat and tidy touches, but he needs to offer much more than that as a Premier League midfielder.

Shelvey – 7 – Mistimed his jump to head over a big chance early on but was probably our best player in the first half along with ASM. Almost played a world class ball around the corner for Gayle and came to close to assisting him again, with it being his whipped cross that was flicked onto the post just before the break. Was thriving from the space Spurs were giving him and the movement Gayle offered ahead of him. Struggled to offer the same creativity in the second half, appearing to tire and fade as soon as Gayle was taken off.

Ritchie – 7 – Scored an absolute stunner to get us back into it, whacking a vicious shot across goal and into the top corner. Didn’t always get into the game enough and failed to close down the cross that lead to Kane’s first, but played some inch perfect balls into the box early on, cutting a clever low corner back for Almiron early on and crossing brilliantly for Shelvey moments later; only for him to head over.

Almiron – 6 – Was part of an attack that created some big chances and mustered 22 shots in total, but he was guilty of missing a few of our early openings. Had a powerful early shot well blocked but then skied a very decent chance over from a Ritchie corner. Worked his socks off but too many of his half chances ended up in row Z.

Saint-Maximin – 8* – Spurs tried to put two men on him every time he got the ball early on, but that didn’t stop him gliding past them with ease more often that not! He wasn’t always at his brilliant best, with his final ball sometimes letting him down, but he put them on the back foot and caused havoc more often than not when he got on the ball. So direct and, once again, the one player who looked capable of making something happen, whether it be via a clever pass or dazzling burst through the middle.

Gayle – 7 – Another quietly impressive display for me. Chased every ball, showed good movement (which in turn helped bring the best out of Shelvey), linked up pretty well as a lone striker and almost bagged his fourth goal since lockdown with a glancing header that struck the post. It was noticeable how lost and unthreatening we looked in attack after he went off, with his movement and energy badly missed.

SUBS:

Lazaro – 6 – Replaced Yedlin 10 minutes into the second half and immediately made an impact, with his bursting run through the middle unsettling a Spurs defence before Ritchie smashed home. Went close to scoring himself on the 70-minute mark, rattling a thunderous shot into the side netting.

Joelinton – 4 – Struggled to get the ball under control and didn’t offer the same threat or movement in the final third as Gayle did. We didn’t create much for him but he didn’t help himself..

M Longstaff – N/A – Came on late in the game and didn’t see a great deal of the ball.

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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