Player ratings as Isak punishes woeful Spurs performance

Player ratings as Isak punishes woeful Spurs performance


Newcastle United took another huge step towards European qualification when they beat Tottenham 4-0 at St James’ Park on Saturday lunchtime.

The Magpies punished some dismal Spurs defending during an end-to-end first half, Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon firing home from close range within two minutes of one another.

Isak proved the thorn in Spurs’ side again after the break and netted early in the second half to secure a crucial three points for the hosts, with Fabian Schar rubbing salt in the Spurs wounds with a late header.

How the game unfolded

Injuries forced Eddie Howe into a formation change for Spurs’ visit, with Newcastle starting with three at the back. It made for an entertaining and open start to proceedings, with Timo Werner firing the first opportunity of the game over the crossbar from close range.

Werner was guilty of spurning another promising opening shortly afterwards and the German’s wastefulness was punished on the half-hour mark by Isak. The Swede was released by Gordon’s through ball and proceeded to sit Micky van de Ven on the ground before firing a brilliant effort beyond Guglielmo Vicario.

It took just over a minute for Newcastle to double their lead as memories of last season’s 6-1 defeat in this fixture started to flood the brains of the Tottenham players. Pedro Porro’s awful back pass was pounced upon by Gordon inside the penalty area, with the winger skinning Van de Ven again before curling into the back of the net.

Isak was close to grabbing his second as Spurs’ defence was split open once more, but a last-ditch challenge from Destiny Udogie spared the visitors’ blushes. The forward continued to torment the Lilywhites as the half drew to a close, heading just wide from a corner after an impressive leap.

Tottenham felt somewhat aggrieved not to have been awarded a penalty just three minutes before half-time, Dan Burn making contact with Rodrigo Bentancur in the box with a high boot as he cleared a Spurs attack.

Any hopes of a Spurs comeback were extinguished within just six minutes of the restart, with Isak the difference-maker for Newcastle once more. A simple ball in behind from Bruno Guimaraes sent the 24-year-old through on goal and he made no mistake in calmly slotting beyond Vicario to put the game to bed.

Isak then came within inches of claiming his hat-trick after a near-post header from a free kick, with Elliot Anderson testing Vicario with a stinging effort just after the hour mark. Emil Krafth also came close to a rare goal as his bouncing effort clipped the base of the post with ten minutes to play.

Tottenham’s passive defending was punished for a final time with three minutes to play, Schar rising highest from a corner to head beyond Vicario for a Newcastle fourth. It capped a wonderful display from Howe’s men, with Spurs outfought and outclassed at St James’ Park.

Anthony Gordon

Gordon was a constant menace for the hosts / George Wood/GettyImages

GK: Martin Dubravka – 6/10 – A surprisingly quiet afternoon for the Newcastle stopper, who did have one nervy moment when spilling a simple Werner effort.

CB: Emil Krafth – 7/10 – Not an orthodox central defender but he didn’t look out of place on the right-hand side of a back three.

CB: Fabian Schar – 9/10 – Some excellent passes and runs throughout as he kept Son and co. quiet from start to finish. Even crowned an excellent display with a late goal.

CB: Dan Burn – 6/10 – Could have perhaps conceded a penalty before the break, but was otherwise solid for the Magpies. A threat in the opposition box, too.

RM: Jacob Murphy – 6/10 – A useful outlet down the right, albeit most of Newcastle’s opportunities came down the left. Did plenty of defensive work when required.

CM: Sean Longstaff -7 /10 – Complemented Guimaraes well in central areas with his industry.

CM: Bruno Guimaraes – 8/10 – Set up Newcastle’s third and bossed the midfield for the hosts. Ran the game from deep positions and was fierce in challenges.

LM: Elliot Anderson – 8/10 – A really encouraging display from the youngster, who was operating on the left-hand side of midfield. A lively presence in the final third with a good range of passing.

RW: Anthony Gordon – 8/10 – Terrorised the Spurs backline, setting up the opener and firing home Newcastle’s second. Tottenham couldn’t cope when he drifted into central areas.

ST: Alexander Isak – 9/10 – Tottenham’s backline simply couldn’t stop the lanky forward, who produced an excellent finish to put the hosts ahead. Sprinted clear to kill the game off after the break, finishing neatly once again.

LW: Harvey Barnes – 7/10 – Showed real glimpses of his quality with some neat touches and passes. Ultimately outshone by his attacking teammates, but still a strong showing.


SUB: Tino Livramento (77 for Murphy) – 6/10

SUB: Lewis Hall (89 for Barnes) – N/A

SUB: Matt Ritchie (89′ for Anderson) – N/A

SUB: Joe White (90+3′ for Guimaraes) – N/A

SUB: Paul Dummett (90+3′ for Schar) – N/A

Subs not used: Mark Gillespie (GK), Loris Karius (GK), Alex Murphy, Ben Parkinson.


Eddie Howe – 9/10 – A truly magnificent display from his side, especially given the injuries they have at present. His team played Tottenham off the park in an unfamiliar formation, with their intensity and ruthlessness putting the visitors to the sword.


Van de Ven was woeful for Spurs / ANDY BUCHANAN/GettyImages

GK: Guglielmo Vicario – 5/10 – Made the strange decision to not come and close Isak down for the third goal. Couldn’t handle corners and free kicks into his penalty area.

RB: Pedro Porro – 4/10 – A ridiculous back pass gifted Newcastle their second and he was exposed by the double act of Anderson and Barnes in the first half. Withdrawn with an injury shortly after the break.

CB: Cristian Romero – 3/10 – The Argentine is known for being rash and that was on full show at St James’ Park. Stepped up needlessly to allow Isak space for the game’s opener and was booked for a late tackle in the second half.

CB: Micky van de Ven – 2/10 – A nightmare first half for the Dutchman, who was floored twice by quick movement in the build-up to Newcastle’s goals. Didn’t get any better after the break as Isak raced clear of him for the hosts’ third. A day to forget.

LB: Destiny Udogie – 5/10 – Made one crucial intervention to prevent Newcastle grabbing a third before the break, but he struggled to cope with the electric Gordon when the ball was turned over.

CM: Yves Bissouma – 5/10 – Booked for a lunge early in the second half and had no control over the midfield battle whatsoever.

CM: Rodrigo Bentancur – 5/10 – Couldn’t act as playmaker in a deep-lying midfield role and was rarely involved before being hooked.

RM: Brennan Johnson – 6/10 – The Welshman’s threat was nullified by Newcastle’s back five when Spurs had possession. Barely had a sniff.

AM: James Maddison – 6/10 – Looked the most likely to make something happen of Tottenham’s forward unit, but his radar was a little off.

LM: Timo Werner – 4/10 – The attacker’s profligacy proved costly for Spurs in the first half and the German still lacks cutting edge in key moments.

ST: Son Heung-min – 5/10 – Surprisingly withdrawn before the hour mark but the skipper had been helpless in the first half, struggling to retain the ball or do anything productive in the centre-forward position.


SUB: Emerson Royal (49′ for Porro) – 5/10 – Couldn’t help bolster a dismal Spurs defence, who conceded two more after his arrival.

SUB: Pape Matar Sarr (57′ for Bentancur) – 5/10

SUB: Dejan Kulusevski (57′ for Son) – 6/10

SUB: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (57′ for Bissouma) – 5/10

SUB: Giovani Lo Celso (81′ for Maddison) – 6/10

Subs not used: Brandon Austin (GK), Ben Davies, Radu Dragusin, Bryan Gil.


Ange Postecoglou – 3/10 – His side were unrecognisable from some of their recent showings, outclassed by an injury-hit Newcastle side. He had no answer for the Magpies’ domination.

Player of the match: Alexander Isak (Newcastle)



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