Tottenham Hotspur 5
(Assou-Ekotto – 4, Saha – 6, 20, Kranjcar – 34, Adebayor – 64)
Newcastle United 0
Home debutant Louis Saha helped himself to a first-half brace as a rampant Tottenham Hotspur put five past a helpless Newcastle United.
The Frenchman opened his Spurs account after just six minutes at White Hart Lane after Benoit Assou-Ekotto fired past Tim Krul three minutes after the start.
Former Newcastle front-man Saha doubled his tally on the 20th minute before Kranjcar got in on the action in the 34th minute, latching onto an Emmanuel Adebayor pass before the Togolese front-man, impressive throughout the enthralling encounter, helped himself to a goal just after the hour mark to make it five and remain firmly in the title race.
Manager Harry Redknapp made just one change from the side that drew 0-0 with Liverpool on Monday night, Saha drafted in to partner Adebayor in the attack at the expense of Jake Livermore.
And it was the latter that provided the assist for the opener, the giant Togolese front-man exchanged passes with Gareth Bale and despite the best efforts of Davide Santon to force him out wide, Adebayor still managed to fire the ball across the six-yard box for the marauding Assou-Ekotto to bury into an empty for just his second goal of the season.
Frenchman Saha doubled Spurs’ advantage just 90 seconds later, Adebayor again breaking down the right before crossing for the January arrival to pounce and volley past Tim Krul in the Newcastle net.
Kranjcar came close, blasting over, but it was soon 3-0 as Assou-Ekotto found Luka Modric in space. The Croatian in-turn picked out Adebayor before laying off for Saha to drill home from close-range and make it 3-0.
And Kranjcar got himself on the score-sheet just after the half-hour mark after Krul saved well from Adebayor’s initial effort, the on-loan striker picked out the Croatian midfielder to bury his first Spurs goal in a year.
The home side continued to press to widen the goal margin and early in the second half after Bale showed excellent vision to pick out Adebayor, but he couldn’t get his shot away.
The on-form front-man miss-hit a volley wide and after 65 minutes, it was 5-0 to the North London giants. Assou-Ekotto was picked out by Bale before the left-back clipped a ball across to Saha. He nodded down to Adebayor to volley past Krul on the turn.
Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe made their long-awaited returns from injury at the expense of Bale and Saha, but it was the Magpies who came close to striking a late consolation. Brad Friedel did well to claw out Demba Ba’s header before Dan Gosling blasted over from close range.
Adebayor twice came close to adding to the colossal score-line while Modric also having his effort denied as the match ended 5-0.
What Redknapp had to say.
“We thought it would be a tough game tonight, but we started well and started so brightly,” Redknapp said after the game.
“Adebayor and Saha were unplayable in that early period and it set us up. We got the early goals and there was no danger after that.
“You don’t expect it, you hope for it, but the chances came and we stuck them away. There was some great finishing.”
Man of the match.
An impressive all-round team performance, but it’s hard to look past Emmanuel Adebayor as man of the match. The Togolese striker became the first player in two-and-a-half years to lay off four assists in a game that was dominated by Spurs. A goal mid-way through the second half was the least the front-man deserved after a mightily impressive display at White Hart Lane.
Moment of the match.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s opener set the precedent for the encounter while Louis Saha bagging a brace on his home debut would’ve been enough to secure the plaudits. However, on a week where Harry Redknapp was found not guilty for a tax evasion, coupled with the emergence as favourite for the vacant England role, the crowd were 100% behind the manager and the player’s responded in extravagant fashion, putting in a performance that even Bill Nicholson would have been proud of.