London (AFP) – Tottenham won for the first time in six matches as Richarlison’s double inspired a 4-1 rout of dismal Newcastle on Sunday.
Since topping the Premier League after beating Crystal Palace on October 27, Tottenham had lost four of their next five games to squander the momentum from their blistering start to the season.
Ange Postecoglou’s attacking tactics were branded as naive during that losing run, but the Australian stuck to his guns and was rewarded with a goal-spree at Newcastle’s expense.
Destiny Udogie put Tottenham ahead in the first half in north London and Brazil striker Richarlison doubled the lead before the break.
Richarlison netted again in the second half and Son Heung-min converted a late penalty as fifth-placed Tottenham moved within three points of fourth-placed Manchester City.
Joelinton’s goal in the final seconds was no consolation for outclassed Newcastle.
Following Thursday’s 3-0 drubbing at Everton, this was another dispiriting result for Newcastle, who sit four points behind Tottenham in seventh.
It was the worst possible preparation for Wednesday’s decisive Champions League group stage clash with AC Milan.
Eddie Howe’s team must beat Milan at St James’ Park and hope Paris Saint-Germain drop points against Borussia Dortmund to qualify for the last 16.
They will need to improve massively on this tame performance, with Richarlison setting the tone when he surged onto Dejan Kulusevski’s pass and fired over in the early minutes.
Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes held his head in frustration after smashing narrowly over from the edge of the area.
Spurs take charge
Ben Davies kept Tottenham level with a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Alexander Isak as the Newcastle striker prepared to shoot.
Those escapes did nothing to quell Tottenham’s commitment to attack and Cristian Romero’s header was cleared off the line by Miguel Almiron moments later.
Throwing players forward with abandon, Tottenham took the lead in the 26th minute with a goal that encapsulated their freedom of movement.
Udogie advanced from left-back into central midfield to take possession and spread the ball out to Son on the left flank.
That would have been enough for most defenders, but Udogie had licence to go even further forward as he raced into the Newcastle area to meet Son’s low cross with a clinical close-range finish.
It was the Italian’s first goal for the club in his 14th appearance since signing from Udinese, maintaining Tottenham’s record of netting in every league game this season.
Tottenham remained wide open at the other end and Almiron should have done better than shoot straight at Guglielmo Vicario.
But Son was proving unplayable for Kieran Trippier and in the 38th minute the South Korean evaded the defender’s weak tackle before whipping over a cross that Richarlison slotted home from four yards.
Brennan Johnson was inches away from making it three with a fierce strike that clipped the post from 20 yards.
With Newcastle in disarray, Richarlison put the result beyond doubt on the hour mark.
Pedro Porro’s long pass caused chaos as Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka and his defenders left it to each other, allowing Richarlison to nip in for a simple finish.
It got even worse for hapless Newcastle in the 85th minute as Son was fouled by Dubravka, earning a penalty that the Spurs captain dispatched with ease.
Joelinton finished off Callum Wilson’s pass in stoppage time, but the damage had already been done.
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