Football Features

Five things learned as Spurs come from behind to beat 10-man Newcastle at St. James’ Park

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 19:25, 17 October 2021

In a difficult evening of Premier League football, Spurs beat 10-man Newcastle 2-3 at St. James’ Park.

The game was marked by a stoppage due to a fan collapsing (the fan is now stable in hospital) and an impressive showing from Spurs having fallen behind early on.

What did we learn?


1. David Ginola: public speaker

Late in the first-half a fan collapsed in the stands at St. James’ Park. The fans made the players aware and the players called the medical staff over. The game stopped as the fan was attended to and then taken to hospital (where he was later stabilised, thankfully).

In the ensuing stoppage, Sky Sports filled the air time by talking to studio guests David Ginola and Kieron Dyer. Ginola collapsed after a cardiac arrest during a charity game in 2016 and had to be resuscitated via a defibrillator. Now, asking someone to relive that kind of trauma live on air with little preparation time could have resulted in some incredibly awkward television, but thankfully David Ginola was ready.

The Frenchman spoke eloquently about the need for, not only defibrillators, but also for people to understand how and when to perform CPR. It ended up being a fantastic few minutes of television as Sky gave David Ginola a platform to spread an important public health message and he did so with incredible clarity. Hats off to all involved.

2. Reguilon and Dier help save a life

For stabilising the fan who collapsed, all praise must first go to the medical professionals who attended to them. But some credit must be reserved for Sergio Reguilon and Eric Dier for their actions in the immediate aftermath of the fan collapse.

Reguilon said post-match that he noticed something was wrong with a fan in the stands and promptly alerted the referee, saying: “he’s lying down, it’s no good. Please stop the game.” In the ensuing confusion, Eric Dier raced across the pitch to the dugouts and fiercely demanded for the medical staff to get over to the fan with the defibrilator, which they then did.

It’s all too easy to praise footballers for doing the bare minimum sometimes, but Dier and Reguilon’s speedy action will have no doubt helped the medical staff stabilise that fan and so literally helped to save a life.

3. Harry Kane back in the saddle

After his poor showing for England, Harry Kane knew he had to make a statement against Newcastle. When Spurs went 1-0 down things weren’t looking good but after Tanguy Ndombele’s stunning strike drew them level, Kane went to work.

Ndombele, to be fair to him, was arguably the best player on the pitch, playing as a no. 10 he was unleashing in a creative capacity to play his natural game. And this allowed Harry Kane to really strut his stuff.

First he raced onto a Hojbjerg through-ball to deftly flick the ball above Karl Darlow into the back of the net (clarified as onside after a quick VAR check) and then after the stoppage he set Son up with a great run and cross.

The goal was really quite something. The kind of thing Kane did at his best, but he hasn’t looked at his best for a while yet still pulled that amazing finish out the bag and got his first Premier League goal of the season. Now he’s up-and-running, will his season finally start?

4. Jonjo Shelvey’s comeback cut short

Jonjo Shelvey came off the field with an hour gone in the game, making his long-awaited comeback from injury. That comeback lasted just 23 minutes as he was sent off for a second yellow card, hauling down Sergio Reguilon as the Spanish left-back was racing at goal. It was harsh, but then introducing Shelvey into a game that Newcastle were already losing 1-3 was probably not the smartest thing.

5. The scale of the task

The morality of Saudi Arabia-owned PIF’s takeover of Newcastle United is obviously murky. Given the human rights abuses the Saudi state is alleged to have carried out, it seems baffling that they would be cheered by any fans, even as they deposed an unpopular owner in Mike Ashley. But then the fans wandering around in offensive Arab cosplay and delivering phenomenal and sustained cheers prior to the match starting probably weren’t thinking too hard about it.

PIF will have serious thinking to do, however, as the scale of the task facing them was revealed today. After a blisteringly quick start when they scored two minutes into the game through a fiendishly smart attack capped by a Callum Wilson header, they were blown away by Spurs. They were not on the same level as Spurs. Their attacking gameplan was “give it to Saint-Maximin and pray” which predictably didn’t work.

There is a massive job on to turn Newcastle around, and it’s not just about replacing the manager.

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