Writer: Mehzeb Chowdhury
Date:Sunday April 19 2009
Newcastle United stayed firmly in the relegation zone and more likely cementing their 19th place in the Premier League with a 1-0 defeat to Harry Redknapp's Tottenham Hotspurs at White Hart Lane, courtesy of a Darren Bent goal in the first half.
In a match where United never really got started, Spurs looked like scoring every time they burst forward. The full-backs, and the wide-men worked well for the London-based club, and 1-0 was not a fair reflection of the game, to be honest.
The match marked a quite abysmal performance from Nicky Butt - one of his worst ever, for the Magpies, in fact, with Michael Owen showing signs that he may be through at the club even before summer arrives.
Butt's passing, in particular was woeful, and if you thought Shola Ameobi was useless last match, his crown of being the headless chicken has now been handed over to Argentine player Jonas Gutierrez.
If possession is given away as cheaply and as often as Newcastle United did, with Nicky Butt squandering chance after chance with his misdirected running, and wayward passing, how can a side even expect to draw in a Premiership match?
Alan Shearer's system of 3-5-2 did not pan out as the Geordie legend had hoped, and he should not be blamed. His players simply do not have the stamina, the intelligence, or the skill to ply their trade on the highest level.
Team selection was iffy at best, with a narrow midfield, and two players up top who are most effective as substitutes. Shearer's admiration of Michael Owen landed the former England man into the team, but neither the 29-year-old, nor young Andy Carroll made any significant impact in the first-half.
It was not until Obafemi Martins, Mark Viduka, and Alan Smith came on, that Newcastle made any move forward. Smith was very impressive playing at the heart of midfield, and put good pressure on the Spurs defenders, battled well for the ball, and interchanged play - something Kevin Nolan and Nicky Butt are incapable of doing.
Spurs' 16th minute goal was scrappy at best, with Darren Bent slipping a shot passed Steve Harper, after a fine save from the Toon goalkeeper which fell to the feet of the former Charlton player.
In the end a deservedly poor performance from the Toon boys, and with almost every side in the relegation trail picking up points in this round of fixtures, the nails are already in the coffin at Newcastle United.
Fans who want to thank the man behind the demise of their beloved football club can address all their letters to Mike Ashley - a Tottenham Hotspurs fan who must have been laughing his head-off come the final whistle.
Tottenham Hostpurs: Gomes; Corluka, Dawson (A Hutton, 34), Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric; Bent (Defoe, 75), Keane
Subs not used: Cudicini, Bale, Zokora, Bentley, Campbell
Newcastle United: Harper; Beye, S Taylor (Smith, 46), Bassong; R Taylor, Butt, Nolan (Viduka, 61), Gutierrez, Duff; Carroll (Martins, 61), Owen
Subs not used: Krul, Edgar, Guthrie, Ameobi
Date:Sunday April 19 2009
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