Newcastle 2-1 Spurs

Posted by Dan Fitch

A lot of football fans today would have gone into the first game of the season with a sense of excitement. I envy them.

Instead of being able to look forward to Tottenham's opener against Newcastle, I found myself nursing the same sort of inner-dread that I suspect death row inmates experience when the last meal menus get passed round.

St James' Park is a tough place to go these days and I wasn't optimistic of Spurs picking up a result. In my season preview I moaned at length about Tottenham's reluctance to buy a striker before the start of the season and you can argue that the absence of the type of forward that we badly need, was the difference between us leaving with no points rather than three.

Defoe led the line and though he did his best, looked pretty sharp and even scored our equaliser, he isn't able to hold the ball up, which is a key requirement of a lone striker. He also poses very little aerial threat, which was a problem when selecting a central midfield trio of Sandro, Livermore and Sigurdsson that lacked creativity. Delivering crosses from the flanks was our best chance of breaching the home defence.

Despite our problems up front, we controlled the game in the first half and hit the woodwork twice through Defoe and Bale. I still couldn't quite shake off my pre-match nerves though. They might not have posed much of a threat in the first half, but in the form of Ba and Cisse, there is always a whiff of danger about Newcastle.

So it proved, when Ba curled the ball past Friedel with the sort of delicate touch normally reserved for caressing the cheek of a beautiful woman. It wasn't a goal they particularly deserved, but that's why top strikers cost a hell of a lot of money. They change games.

We did well to fight back and get back into the match through Defoe, only to almost instantly throw it away, after a terrible attempt at defending by Lennon and Van der Vaart saw Ben Arfa win a penalty, which he coolly converted. The irony is that VDV doesn't normally bother to run back into his own half and was probably only in his own area in an effort to impress his new manager, after starting the game on the bench.

We've now got a week until we're back in action and we can only hope that we start that match against West Brom with a shiny new striker. If we are determined to leave things until transfer deadline day, then we would be better off playing a 4-4-2 with Defoe and Kane together up front, especially against beatable opposition such as WBA and Norwich at home.

I'm somehow confident that something will be done this week though. Surely we won't risk dropping more points by dragging our heels? If we do bring in a Damiao, Llorente or Adebayor, the signs are that we will be a very good team. We looked organised today and played some pleasing stuff. Apply a cutting edge and we will be slicing through defences like Freddy Krueger slices up nubile teenagers.

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