If Ange doesn’t learn from history

Newcastle United 4 Tottenham Hotspur 0 | EXTENDED Premier League Highlights

he’s destined to repeat it.

Ange apparently was dismissive of talk about watching Spurs capitulation at Newcastle last season before his team capitulated to Newcastle, might be a different manager and different players but it’s still Spurs Ange.

Again Spurs started brightly, they were doing the right things, except for one, one rather important thing. Finishing off the good chances created. Unfortunately the chances were created by others and falling to Werner. Now recently it’s worked when the German has been the assister but when he’s on the other end well… this ain’t his first rodeo.

But this really was a game showing how meaningless stats are. The only stats that matter are goals scored and goals conceded.

Spurs had 72% of the ball, while playing 575 passes at a rate of 87%, compared to Newcastle’s 189 at 65%. Yet one team scored four while conceding none. Possession means nothing if you do nothing with it. Passing means nothing if you do nothing with it. Passing for passing’s sake. Like a team of Winks as the ball goes sideways, sideways, sideways, backwards.

Contrast and compare to Newcastle who when they had the ball went forward, quickly and scored from it.

It just took a hump up the park and van de Ven was left on his own to cover everything. The young Dutchman was being blamed left, right and centre for the goals, but he was on his own for most of the game. Where was his World Cup winning leader? With the fullbacks out of the picture, or easily, lazily being bumped off the ball by Gordon for the first goal, and Romero completely absent either position or brain wise or both, as he went to the ball like a kid in a school yard game. Micky was left to cover and for once his speed was his Achilles. Too fast to stop, as Isak cut inside and put it past Vicario.

But it all came from a long ball after a Spurs attack in the Newcastle area broke down with Son gifting the ball away far too easily by playing it backwards. Too many touches, too casual, too fast to pass it back.

And so to the second goal, from the kick off the ball is quickly back to Vicario and his ball out wide right, where it’s lost by Johnson before Porro decides to poke it back to Vicario, no where near him, Gordon picks it up and Micky is on his bum again as Gordon doubles the lead.

Have to say when it was rumoured Spurs were going after Gordon I wasn’t impressed but got that one wrong. Everything Newcastle do that’s good goes through him. I did fancy us going for Harvey Barnes. But it’s Gordon that makes them tick. 10 goals and 13 assist in the league this season.

And he hasn’t had as much help as Spurs gave him in this game.

So the pattern was set. Spurs fanny about easily lose the ball, Newcastle attack. When they don’t score they get a corner. More on that later. The only surprise was that it took until the second half before the third came as Ange was back to his watching brief. Not doing anything, just watching. Where he changed it at half-time last week and got all the praise now he’s back to doing nothing.

The only change he made before the third goal was enforced by Porro’s injury. So just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, here comes Emerson Royal probably for a few games.

So again Sonny coughs up the ball and one hoof later, Micky is one-on-one with Isak, again left all alone to do all the covering. People question his positioning and the way he ran, well after landing on his arse twice he was a bit more cautious.

It was six minutes later when Ange made his tactical subs. The midfield starting pair of Bentancur and Bissouma making way for Sarr and Hojbjerg. With people asking why Bissouma started in the first place. It didn’t make that much of a difference, the game was done.

Shortly after Maddison got a yellow card for a high foot. A foot that didn’t make contact with the head of the player, so you wonder why he went down holding it and screaming, don’t you? Of course the home fans were screaming that it should have been Maddison’s second yellow and it should have been. His indignation at being penalised with a foul for the blatant body charge, block earlier on was pretty poor. It was a foul and he was lucky not to see a card. When he was taken out on a break, before the opening goal was also a foul that should have seen a yellow for the Newcastle defender. Also if Maddison’s foot up was a foul and a card then so should have been the one by the Newcastle player earlier in the game, was it a pen? Of course VAR checked and cleared a blatant foul.

The last goal came from an area in which Newcastle were poor. The one game stat Newcastle led in was the number of corners and they seemed to win every one. How they didn’t score before the 87th minute is only known to them.

Remember just a few weeks back, back at that City cup game when Spurs hadn’t conceded from a corner all season. Now they don’t seem to able to win a corner. But if they do Vicario rushes to the edge of the area looking for a quick throw or kick out. But there’s no one there, they’re all in the box and all behind him.

What do they practice during the week? Well, for one they need to start practising keeping the fast men, Son, Johnson, Werner, maybe even the fullbacks, up the pitch. Give the opposition something to think about. Are they gonna lump everyone in the box, or keep some back to cover a possible Spurs counter? For one if it was the latter then it wouldn’t be as crowded in the Spurs box and Vicario might have a bit more room to work in.

It was a shocking display by Ange and his players. Fannying about for 90 minutes. Unsurprisingly bringing on Kulusevski didn’t brighten things up. As Spurs drop a place without Villa having to kick a ball…

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