Football News

Alexander Isak chasing Newcastle greats after matching Zlatan Ibrahimovic as Tottenham’s travel sickness further exposed

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:40, 13 April 2024

St James’ Park hasn’t been Tottenham’s happiest hunting ground.

This afternoon, they lost 4-0 to Newcastle. A year ago, the Lilywhites were blown away 6-1, with Eddie Howe’s men racing into a similar lead before 25 minutes had been played.

In fact, each of Tottenham’s last three Premier League defeats by four or more goals has come against Newcastle at St James’ Park – also 1-5 in May 2016. Indeed, they’ve now lost by 4+ goals against Newcastle more often than they have against any other opponent in Premier League history (five).

Furthermore, they’ve conceded 61 Premier League goals against Newcastle at St James’ Park, only conceding more at one away venue in the competition (64 at Anfield). Newcastle has also scored 93 Premier League goals against Spurs, more than they have against any other opponent in the competition. Meanwhile, today was their first home clean sheet against Spurs in 18 home league games since a 4-0 win in December 2003.

Alexander Isak scored a brace in last season’s wipeout and two more on this most recent occasion. He’s now scored in his previous six Premier League home games — netting eight goals in total in this run — with only Andrew Cole (8 in 1993-94) and Alan Shearer (15 in 1996-97) the only Newcastle players to score more consecutively at St James’ Park.

The young Swedish forward has also scored two or more goals in the Premier League on four occasions this season, with only Erling Haaland doing more (five). He moves onto 17 goals, the joint-most goals scored by a Swede in a single Premier League season, along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016-17.

Also on the scoresheet was Anthony Gordon and Fabian Schär, subsequently bringing goals in matches involving Newcastle to 121 (scoring 69 themselves and conceding 52 times), which is a league-high.

“It is hard to describe,” Gordon said of Isak to TNT Sports. “You can see on the pitch he is so, so gifted. He can become one of the best players in the world, and when fit, he is so good to play with. For the assist, I just passed him the ball, and then he sat a few players down. It was all him. What a player and, more importantly, what a person.”

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The result moves Newcastle to within 10 points of fifth-place Tottenham, whose Champions League dreams hang in the balance. They’re level with Aston Villa, occupiers of the coveted fourth spot, who face Arsenal tomorrow. Whatever happens, Spurs will have a game in hand.

Even so, Ange Postecoglou will be concerned about their recent form, especially away from home. Having won four of their first six Premier League away games this season (two draws), Tottenham have won just two of their subsequent ten on the road (four draws and four losses).

Tottenham claimed one success of their last seven road games; in those outings, they dominated possession but couldn’t secure all three points. That sole win came at Villa Park when they boasted 69.27% possession. It was 72.3% today.

Interestingly, in their losses against Fulham and Brighton, they controlled 57.13% and 54.76% of the game, respectively. Everton and Manchester United held Tottenham, while the visiting team won the possession game (57.4% and 63.73%).

“It’s a tough one, a bit raw at the moment. Credit to Newcastle; I thought they were really good today. We never really got to grips with the game and weren’t able to execute any of the stuff we usually do. Credit to them, but just have to take them,” Postecoglou told BBC Match of the Day afterwards.

“You’ve got no choice. You can’t sit there and feel sorry for yourself, it’s not the nature of what we do. There’s some lessons in there, we’ve got to take them and look ahead.”