Sublime Spurs tear Toon apart
Spurs 5 Newcastle 0
Published 12/02/2012 | 05:00
IT IS hard to imagine anything at the moment in the life and times of Harry Redknapp resembling business as usual. For 90 minutes at least, the Tottenham manager was able to put the blinkers on and concentrate on nothing beyond White Hart Lane.
What he saw provided a serene end to a surreal week. His team gave an exhibition of speedy, stylish, team-orientated football. The little masterpiece he has been working on in this corner of London looked radiant.
All over the pitch, the passes flowed, the combinations came off, the attacks clicked. Emmanuel Adebayor caused havoc, and a budding partnership with Louis Saha, who scored twice on his home debut, enticed the crowd. In support, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Niko Kranjcar sliced through Newcastle at will. Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Walker sprinted forward like orthodox wingers. The midfielder Scott Parker did enough defending, and the back four and goalkeeper behind him were virtually unemployed. Before the game, some Spurs fans wondered whether the speculation about their manager and the England job might be a distraction for Tottenham's players. That idea was rendered risible very quickly.
As befitted a man who has become used to withstanding dizzying amounts of emotion, Redknapp must have felt assailed all over again in the opening five minutes of his return to business at White Hart Lane. No sooner had he waved his gratitude to the crowd for serenading him, he saw the team he has so thrillingly built explode into life. With two goals in three minutes, it was as if his players were sending him a message of their own about what they think of the job he is doing here.
Adebayor provided the creative force. In the third minute, he broke into the penalty area, exchanged passes with Bale and fizzed a pass across the face of goal and beyond the reach of Tim Krul. The ball ran on to Assou-Ekotto, who angled his shot in with perfect composure.
The celebrations had barely abated when Adebayor rampaged down the right again. The Togolese striker teased a cross around Fabricio Coloccini, and Saha arrived ahead of Newcastle's static defence to clip euphorically in. A goal on his full debut, and his first in the league since late October, little wonder the striker looked so pleased. He didn't have to wait long to experience the feeling again. Modric danced in from the left and his centre was tucked back craftily by Adebayor; Saha finished clinically.
Adebayor was also involved in the fourth, which came just after the half-hour mark. Modric and Saha combined to tee up a man who, despite being such an attacking menace, was seeking his first goal since Christmas. Adebayor's shot was parried by Krul, and he was tackled as he attempted to get to the rebound. The loose ball fell invitingly for Kranjcar to steer home.
Newcastle were absolutely ragged. It felt like every time Tottenham advanced they smothered Krul's goal from every direction. The home fans were enthralled, and felt compelled to remind Redknapp that they want him to stick around -- of course they would -- before changing tack slightly.
"Pardew for England," they chanted pointedly. Newcastle's manager had a daunting half-time team talk on his hands.
There was little to be done to stem the tide, however. Adebayor got the goal his outstanding performance deserved in the 64th minute.
Assou-Ekotto's cross was nodded down by Saha for Adebayor to dispatch with a bicycle kick.
Even though Newcastle had conceded five on their last visit to London, at Craven Cottage, this was a far more chastening experience.
The only upshot on a terrible day was the sight of their remarkable band of supporters, bare chested in temperatures below freezing, singing and bouncing their way through the second half. Pardew's team did create one chance, Demba Ba ensuring Brad Friedel was still awake (very much so, in fact, it was a super save) and Dan Gosling scooped over the rebound.
If Redknapp does feel in someway torn between his current project and the prospect of claiming the England job, an evening as heart warming as this will surely only make the decision even more agonising.
Sunday Indo Sport