Match Analysis: Newcastle United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Hatem Ben Arfa
© PA Photos
Sports Mole dissects the action as Newcastle United record a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

Newcastle United got their Premier League season off to the best possible start with a 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park this afternoon.

Spurs should have entered the break ahead after twice striking the woodwork through Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale, but Demba Ba handed Newcastle the lead early in the second period.

Defoe levelled for Tottenham from close range after 76 minutes, but a penalty from Hatem Ben Arfa secured all three points for Newcastle four minutes later.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two sides.

Newcastle statistics:
Shots 6
On target 4
Possession 60%
Corners 3
Fouls 12

Tottenham statistics:
Shots 12
On target 6
Possession 40%
Corners 5
Fouls 8

Was the result fair?

Not for me. Spurs dominated the opening half of the match and should have entered the interval with at least a one-goal lead. The home side lacked invention in a disjointed performance, but they did improve after the break. Both sides were well worth a point – with Spurs coming away wondering how they have lost the match.

Newcastle's performance

After an extremely poor first-half performance, they did improve after the break. All too often Ba and Papiss Cisse were completely disjointed from the Magpies' midfield – while we did not see Ben Arfa until the second period. It needed a world-class finish from Ba to handed them the lead. However, they have done what good sides do – win without playing well.

Tottenham's performance

Tottenham will head back to London astounded by the fact that they have lost the match. There wasn't any moment when they were under the cosh, but they managed to lose after Rafael van der Vaart naively brought Ben Arfa down in the area. There were plenty of positives for Andre Villas-Boas, but where was Michael Dawson?

Sports Mole's man of the match

Jermain Defoe: The 29-year-old followed up his winner for England on Wednesday with a goal for his club today. He ran all afternoon, and was so unlucky to strike the post in the opening half. He simply needs to play in this Tottenham team.

Referee performance

Steady performance from Martin Atkinson, although he should have sent Danny Simpson off for a series of challenges throughout the 90 minutes. He did, however, rightly sent Alan Pardew to the stands for pushing an official.

Biggest gaffe of the game

Step forward Van der Vaart. The Dutchman decided to chop Ben Arfa down in the box – eventually costing his side a point. It really was a crazy crazy challenge from the 29-year-old.

What next?

Newcastle: Next up for Newcastle is a trip to Atromitos in the Europa League on Thursday. Meanwhile, they travel to Chelsea in the Premier League next weekend.

Tottenham: Tottenham face a home tie against West Bromwich Albion next weekend – when Villas-Boas will hope to have another striker on board.

Hatem Ben Arfa
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Result: Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham
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