After 10 minutes and with Newcastle leading 3-0, Tottenham’s acting head coach Cristian Stellini – the most careless caretaker – was on the pitch with five fingers. Was it a change of formation or a plea to limit the score?
Whatever the instruction – and one wonders if it went in one ear let alone out the other – his players conceded twice more within 11 minutes.
Just as title-choking Arsenal made accusations of ‘Spursy’, the rightful owners stepped in to reclaim their crown. Or should that be dunce’s cap?
There were no white shirts, but Tottenham had brought a white flag – and waving it was the only thing they did with any intensity.
Stellini had the appearance of a man who faces the firing squad without a blindfold when he is then confronted with questions about his future. His one-word yes when asked if he wanted to keep the lead was as convincing as his team’s defense.
Newcastle beat Tottenham 6-1 in one of the most remarkable results of the season to date
It was a terrible day for the Spurs, who now see their hopes of finishing in the top four fading
Jacob Murphy started the defeat when he opened the scoring after just 61 seconds
Newcastle (4-3-3): Pope 6.5; Trippier 7 (Manquillo 70, 6), Dab 6.5 (Lascelles 74, 6), Botman 7, Burn 7; Longstaff 7, Guimaraes 8 (Gordon 70, 6), Willock 8; Murphy 8 (Almiron 66, 6.5), Isak 8 (Wilson 66, 7), Joelinton 8.5
Subs not used: Dubravka, Ritchie, Targett, Anderson
Manager: Eddie Howe 8
Goal scorers: Murphy 2 & 9, Joelinton 6, Isak 19 & 21, Wilson 67
Tottenham Hotspur (4-3-3): Lloris 3 (Forster 46, 6); Porro 3, Romero 3, Animal 3.5, Perisic 4; Sarr 3 (Sanchez 23, 5), Skipp 4.5, Hojbjerg 4.5; Kulusevski 4 (Danjuma 72, 5), Kane 6, Son 4.5 (Richarlison 63, 5)
Subs not used: Tanganga, Davies, Lenglet, Devine, Mundle
Manager: Cristian Stellini 3
Goal scorers:Kane 49
Booked: Romero, Skipp, Kulusevski
Referee: David Coote 7
Man of the match : Joelinton
Of course, it would be horribly unfair to blame him alone, even if he did so by his predecessor and namesake Mr.
Frankly, Stellini took the blame for the first change since January to a back-four and maintained his dignity by refusing to accept the invitation to repeat Antonio Conte’s accusations about the players.
But this is what Conte ranted about a little over a month ago when he called the side ‘selfish’ and ‘heartless’. On reflection, he was fired for exposing the truth.
Because this cowardly surrender made a mockery of Tottenham’s Champions League ambitions. At 5-0 after 21 minutes, you wondered if this was their worst performance in the Premier League era? Then, by way of correction, you wondered if any team, let alone Tottenham, had capitulated so quickly?
The answer was yes – Watford trailed Manchester City by the same number after 18 minutes in 2019. However, they relegated. Tottenham started the day in fifth. That doesn’t speak well for those sixth and below.
But this moment has long been lurking for the north Londoners. It eventually landed in the form of a letter bomb, but search through the wreckage and you’ll uncover years – even decades – of senior-level mismanagement.
Forget Tottenham’s complaint about state-owned rivals. The fact that Newcastle is backed by Saudi money has no bearing on the decision making of Daniel Levy and those he appoints. Newcastle – or Manchester City, for that matter – did not install Andre Villas-Boas, Tim Sherwood and Nuno Espirito Santo as managers, nor did they decide last month to promote Stellini.
Levy feels his club can’t compete. No, they cannot, not if their greatest danger is their own ineptitude. It’s like crashing your car and then blaming the four flat tires that you had ignored. The message – put your own house in order first.
Joelinton made it 2-0 after six minutes when he coolly passed Hugo Lloris and finished calmly
Murphy and Newcastle could hardly believe what happened when he added a third
To think that since these two clubs met in Newcastle’s Saudi-owned first game 18 months ago, they have both spent £250 million on new players. It is quite an achievement for Tottenham to go backwards.
Newcastle, meanwhile, has not wasted a penny and is therefore on its way to the gold rim of the Champions League. Where Tottenham get it wrong – on and off the field – they get it right.
The consequences of this game will no doubt be aimed at the losers, but the winners were devastatingly brilliant. Eddie Howe somehow kept a straight face when he later said, “At no point did I think the game was won.”
It was almost won after 61 seconds. Not because Newcastle were leading, but more because of the ease with which they scored. Joelinton met zero resistance as he drifted through defenders Pedro Porro and Cristian Romero – now there was a recurring theme – and when his shot was tamely parried by Hugo Lloris, Jacob Murphy followed to smash into the roof of the net.
It was the same unlucky pairing of Porro and Romero that Joelinton ran after as he knocked down Fabian Schar’s through ball and rounded Lloris before heading home after six minutes. Murphy had his second three minutes later, a stunning strike from 25 yards out, but only after Son Heung-Min gave up cheap possession.
Alexander Isak then scored a quick double to put the hosts 5-0 up after just 21 minutes
Cristian Stellini had a terrible day when his decision to go with a back four back four backfired massively
Harry Kane tried to rally the troops from a 5-0 deficit, but it was a terrible afternoon for the Spurs
A group of Tottenham Hotspur followed, and perhaps they should have adopted that as their new formation and put it in the goal mouth.
They didn’t even bother with an inquest after Newcastle’s fourth on 19 minutes. Joe Willock’s assist may be lost on the rampage of Tottenham’s collapse, but it was sublime – Glenn Hoddle-esque, even. The midfielder deflected the ball around the back of the Tottenham defense with the outside of his right boot – now there’s a trade description breach – and Alexander Isak accepted the pass before tucking under Lloris.
Isak had another within 90 seconds and again finished with confidence – was that a miracle against this pair? — after collecting Sean Longstaff’s retreat at the corner of the six-yard area.
Stellini responded by using a player, Davinson Sanchez, who was booed by his own fans last week, and hooking a player who should never have started, the hopeless Pape Sarr. Not that he was alone in that assessment – Porro in particular was chaotic.
Tottenham’s talisman did help narrow the deficit as he pulled one back early in the second half
Callum Wilson added a sixth after coming on as a substitute to rub salt in Spurs’ wounds
The result puts Newcastle in a fantastic position to qualify for the Champions League next year
The heavens then opened and Newcastle’s drought set in. It would be another 47 minutes before they scored again, this time when substitute Callum Wilson turned in from close range past Fraser Forster, a half-time substitute for Lloris. The captain had a muscle problem, Stellini said.
Funny how you normally have to move a muscle to pull one, and Lloris had been pretty much static as those five goals flew past him.
Harry Kane had one pulled back a few minutes into the second half with a decent finish after a strike from Fabian Schar. It was a rare touch of the ball for the England captain in the penalty area – most of his involvement came from center spot restarts.
You wouldn’t blame Kane for looking elsewhere for a fresh start after that.