Tottenham 1-2 Newcastle: Five talking points from White Hart Lane
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 14/12/15 8:04am
Ayoze Perez's late strike snatched all three points for Newcastle at Tottenham on Sunday.
The forward fired home an injury-time winner for the visitors, after Aleksandar Mitrovic had cancelled out Eric Dier's opener.
The result lifts Newcastle out of the relegation zone and leaves Spurs in fifth.
Here we look at five talking points from the game...
Newcastle on the rise
The Premier League is approaching the halfway point and Newcastle are above Chelsea. Back-to-back wins over Liverpool and Tottenham have launched Steve McClaren's side out of the relegation zone and above the struggling defending champions, who face Leicester City on Monday Night Football.
Newcastle's win at White Hart Lane was the first time they'd recorded consecutive Premier League wins since November 2014. With Aston Villa at home live on Sky Sports next week, Newcastle are in determined mood to continue their run, according to goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
"We need to make sure we don't take our foot off the gas," he told Sky Sports before picking up his man of the match prize. "That's how we have to be every week. The quality is there and the hard work is there. Sometimes we tried to play our own game, rather than play together. When we play together, the last two weeks have shown what a good team we can be."
Tale of two halves
A Newcastle victory seemed an unlikely occurrence at half-time, with Spurs 1-0 up thanks to Eric Dier's goal. The visitors hadn't won a match after falling behind in over a year, Elliot had been forced into a string of fine saves and Tottenham seemed set to extend their unbeaten run to 15 games.
However, Newcastle came out for the second half a team transformed - although McClaren revealed to Sky Sports after the game that he had said little to the players at half-time. "It was a great response at half-time from the players," he said. "I didn't have to say anything, the players said it all: 'It's 1-0, we're still in the game, let's fight, let's keep going'. The resilience they showed in the second half was fantastic."
Inspired introductions of Mitrovic and Perez led to the goals and Thierry Henry praised the side's character.
"Steve McClaren was talking about commitment and desire. It was something we rarely saw from a Newcastle team away from home," he said. "Usually they are lethargic and when they go behind, they crumble. But it was a great response from the team."
Tottenham have become the Premier League's set-piece specialists this season. They have scored 10 goals from dead-ball situations this term - more than any other side in the top flight.
On Sunday, it was Eric Dier's turn to benefit from an expert delivery from Christian Eriksen - the Dane's sixth assist of the season. However, in the second half, Spurs also conceded from a set-piece - a rare occurrence.
Tottenham's set-piece goals
|Tottenham||10 (PL rank 1)||3 (PL rank 19)|
Only West Ham (none) have conceded fewer goals from set-pieces this season than Spurs. However, Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness suspects Tottenham's third goal of this kind this season - Mitrovic's equaliser - was more down to Dier switching off, rather than poor organisation.
"For the first goal, [Chancel] Mbemba is on his knees heading the ball in the six yard box, and Dier has switched off," he said.
"There are pluses and minuses for zonal marking, there are pluses and minuses for man marking, but if people don't do their job properly, then neither will work. If people go to sleep, no matter what system you play, you'll concede goals. That was Spurs' undoing today."
Impact of Europa League?
A Sky Sports study revealed that over the past 10 years, Premier League teams competing in the Europa League have typically seen their final league position fall by 2.5 places due to their commitments in the competition.
Before Sunday, Tottenham were unbeaten on the back of their Europa League exertions, winning twice and drawing three times when they returned to domestic action. However, Souness reckoned Spurs' performance against Newcastle may have been affected by their 4-1 win over Monaco on Thursday.
"Tottenham looked flat as the game went on in the second half," Souness said. "Newcastle became more threatening and Tottenham couldn't cope, and they looked like they had run out of ideas.
"How much of that was to do with Thursday night? Maybe part of it. For whatever reason, they just looked flat. Competing should be a given, and Spurs did not do that today."
Tottenham unbeaten run over
Defeat to Newcastle brings Tottenham's 14-game unbeaten run in the Premier League to an end. The last time they tasted defeat was on the opening day at Manchester United. Since then, they have shown signs they are able to challenge for Champions League qualification places once again.
However, after missing out on the chance to record their longest unbeaten run in the top flight since 1967, Spurs must bounce back from defeat. Next up is a trip to Southampton, before Norwich (home), Watford and Everton (both away) over the Christmas and New Year period.
After their previous two defeats this season - to Arsenal in the Capital One Cup and Anderlecht in the Europa League - Spurs responded by thumping Manchester City 4-1 and Bournemouth 5-1. Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping for a similar outcome next Saturday.