Newcastle United move into Champions League places with stunning Tottenham Hotspur win
Eddie Howe, surely, won’t be able to play down Newcastle United’s European credentials for too much longer.
Howe’s side beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 this afternoon thanks to goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron to move up to fourth place in the table.
Almiron’s strike was his sixth of the campaign, and team-mate Joelinton pretended to polish the midfielder’s boots in celebration. Those boots should be good for many more goals this season on the evidence of recent weeks, with Almiron having been the surprise package of a surprisingly good season so far.
Up to now, Howe has attempted to manage expectations when asked about hopes of a European place.
However, United, transformed on the pitch by Howe and off the field by new ownership, are looking more and more like genuine contenders for a top-six place – and the club’s travelling fans again chanted about a European push.
Their team was again fiercely-competitive out of possession – and a threat on the ball.
Howe had been given a lift before the game when Joelinton recovered from a knee problem in time to play on the left side of United’s attack. Bruno Guimaraes also travelled to the capital following the timely birth of his first child.
Tottenham tried for an early breakthrough. Heung-Min Son forced a save from Nick Pope with a first-minute shot, and landed the ball on the roof of the net seconds later, in an early push from the home side.
Joelinton had a claim for an early penalty waved away after going down under a challenge from Emerson Royal.
Newcastle, however, were ahead in the 31st minutes after the first of two errors from Hugo Lloris. The goalkeeper collided with Wilson after running to meet a ball from Fabian Schar, and the striker lifted the ball over him and into the goal.
United went further ahead in the 40th minute. Lloris cleared the ball to Sean Longstaff on the right, and the midfielder headed it down for Almiron. The 28--year-old drove into the box and beat Lloris at his near post. Joelinton pretended to polish Almiron’s boots in celebration.
Howe’s team, superb with and without the ball, defended in the final few minutes, and took their lead into the break.
Tottenham got back into the game after the break, but not before another contentious moment. A penalty appeal from Joelinton was waved away after his header caught the arm of Royal in the box.
Their goal came in the 54th minute when a corner was headed on inadvertently by Sven Botman to Kane at the far post, and England’s captain, challenged by former club-mate Kieran Trippier, headed home.
The strike changed the mood among home fans inside the stadium – and injected some belief into Conte’s side.
Tottenham pressed for an equaliser in a fraught period, but a tiring United held on to their advantage.
Howe replaced Willock, recovering from an illness, with Jacob Murphy for the last 15 minutes. Jonjo Shelvey, out since July, also made his comeback late in the game.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Guimaraes (Shelvey, 88), Longstaff, Willock (Murphy, 75), Almiron, Joelinton, Wilson (Wood, 88). Subs not used: Karius, Lascelles, Lewis, Targett, Manquillo, Fraser.