Newcastle: Tottenham Hotspur got their Premier League campaign on track with a clinical 2-0 win at 10-man Newcastle United on Sunday after Dele Alli scored one goal and helped create the other at St James’s Park.
Having eased back into the top flight from the second-tier Championship, Newcastle held their own against last season’s Premier League runners-up in the opening half but succumbed after Jonjo Shelvey was sent off in the 48th minute.
Shelvey got his marching orders for stamping on Alli, who was on the ground only yards from referee Andre Marriner.
Spurs duly took advantage as the England midfielder, who pulled all the strings for the visitors, broke the deadlock on the hour when he steered in an inch-perfect cross by Christian Eriksen.
Alli, who helped Eriksen set up the other for Davies in the 70th minute, made light of Shelvey’s petulant reaction.
“I’m sure he’ll be disappointed,” Alli told Sky Sports.
“It was important we stayed professional. I don’t want to talk about it too much. I’ve been pulled up for my temper before but today we had to keep our cool. There was no need to react.” Newcastle, whose fans incessantly booed their former midfielder Moussa Sissoko now playing for Spurs, missed their best chance straight after Shelvey’s dismissal as keeper Hugo Lloris denied Dwight Gayle with a fine save.
Harry Kane, last season’s top scorer in the Premier League with 29 goals, missed a sitter at the other end before Alli slid in at the far post and beat Robert Elliot with a fine finish.
The influential Eriksen and livewire Alli carved open Newcastle’s defence with a lightning move 10 minutes later, presenting Davies with a simple finish.
Kane should have added the third in stoppage time as Spurs charged forward but hit the post with only Elliot to beat.
Newcastle winger Christian Atsu said the temperamental Shelvey had apologised to his teammates after the game.
“That’s football,” the Ghanaian said.
“He’ll learn from his mistakes. He’s upset with himself and thinks he let the team down. He apologised to everyone and we believe he will come back stronger.”
After finishing second last season, Tottenham will hope their winning start bodes well for a sustained title challenge.
Newcastle’s net spend has been less than #20 million (Dh95.6 million), while Tottenham opted not to make even one new signing, choices which appeared ill-judged for long periods here.
If future decisions are based on analysis of this game, the two managers will surely move in the market to strengthen their squad before the end of the transfer deadline.
Mauricio Pochettino will know Tottenham lacked imagination before the red card, while Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez will be particularly anxious to recruit reinforcements after suffering injuries to two defenders long before the half-time whistle.
Left-back is the position where Benitez has no cover for Paul Dummett, so central defender Ciaran Clark had to move there when Dummett suffered a leg injury after only six minutes.
Newcastle were forced to improvise again by the 34th when Chancel Mbemba took over from another centre-half, Florian Lejeune, leaving Newcastle with their third defensive partnership of the afternoon.