Newcastle 1 Tottenham 3: Three talking points
Three talking points as Tottenham Hotspur return to winning ways at Newcastle United
What next for Spurs?
Tottenham harboured very realistic hopes of getting into the Champions League for most of the season but the chastening 3-0 defeat by Manchester United back in March ended those chances. Now Spurs are in a difficult position because while the Europa League would bring in revenue and give them a chance to compete in Europe, the competition hasn’t been very kind to them in recent years. Since the turn of the century, Tottenham have failed to get past the quarter-final stage in the Europa League and there is a very strong argument to suggest that progression in the competition is actually having a negative impact upon their league form. It appears that Mauricio Pochettino will use the remaining games to find out a little about his squad players – that way he can assess who he should sell and who has a long-term future at the club. Pochettino wants to try and re-create the high pressure, dynamic, fast-paced football he did at Southampton but currently he doesn’t have the players at his disposal to do that. He will need Daniel Levy to buy into his vision at the club but there have been signs that Pochettino is starting to build something very special. The squad has an average age of just 23 – which is one of the lowest in the Premier League.
Carver is out of his depth
It is clear that John Carver cares about the club but passion doesn’t correlate to success on the football pitch – something which Alan Shearer knows all about after his disastrous two-month tenure at Newcastle ended in their relegation. Since Carver has taken over as manager, the club have lost nine, drawn three and won just two. It appears that the players aren’t really buying into his methods and with very little experience to speak of – it’s understandable. His comments on foreign players were also interesting. He said: “It is very difficult sometimes because, if you’re dealing in the French market or the German market or the Spanish market, then it’s very difficult to find out a little bit about their personality, about how they are around the place.” His thoughts are even more worrying in context of his squad which contains seven French players. You get the impression the dressing room might be divided which is never a good sign and the poor performances have reflected this. The positon of the owner, Mike Ashley, complicates the situation even further as he doesn’t really have any ambition to make Newcastle a better side. If a good offer comes in for one of his players than he is happy to sell, but very rarely is this money actually re-invested back into the squad. With all these factors taken into consideration it is not a surprise to see the Magpies playing so poorly while the fans are just waiting for this season to end.
Newcastle desperately short of quality up front
Since Papiss Cisse received his seven-match ban for spitting at Jonny Evans, Newcastle have struggled to score goals. The Senegalese striker has 11 goals in 20 appearances despite not being fully-fit for most of the season. In his absence they have played Ayoze Perez through the middle and while he had a good start to the season – scoring five goals – he has faded badly. It is partly down to his age (21), and down to his lack of experience at playing at such a high-level. Perez works really hard, he is good at dribbling, and his movement is also improving. But he lacks the killer instinct in front of goal and you cannot rely on the Spaniard to get you 15 goals a season. His best position is probably in behind the striker where he has the freedom to move around, at the moment he is being bullied by muscular centre-halves who are nullifying his pace. Carver needs to find some kind of solution otherwise the Magpies will continue to get beaten.