Tottenham Hotspur

Newcastle vs. Tottenham: Despite Loss, Spurs Remain Superior Side

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18:  Aaron Lennon of Tottenham Hotspur competes with Davide Santon (L) and Jonas Gutierrez of Newcastle United during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at Sports Direct Arena on August 18, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2012

Tottenham's narrow 2-1 loss to Newcastle in the EPL opener on Saturday belies the fact that the Spurs remain a better team.

Last season, the Spurs edged out Newcastle by just four points to finish fourth in the EPL. So it was an excellent measuring stick to have these two pitted against each other in the opener. 

While Newcastle was victorious on Saturday, upon closer look, it becomes apparent where Tottenham has the edge. 

This match, hosted by Newcastle, was tooth and nail the whole way. It got off to a frenzied start before settling into a nice rhythm, and the first half passed without a score. Newcastle's Demba Ba broke the zero-zero battle with a goal in the 54th minute, and the match was equalized by Jermain Defoe in the 76th minute. 

The match was not equalized for long. Just four minutes later Rafael van der Vaart tripped Hatem Ben Arfa in the left side of the box and earned a penalty. Ben Arfa drilled the penalty and thus concluded the scoring for the match.

It was a well-played match and a fine opening to the campaign for two of the better teams from a season ago. Both teams have reason to optimistic for their future.

Tottenham had a lot of change to deal with in this opener. For starters, they have a new manager with Andres Villa-Boas roaming the sideline.  

They also have to deal with the retirement of Ledley King and the exit of Ryan Nelson, Bongani Khumalo and Vedran Corluka. Yet with all of this transition the Spurs were in a position to win this match on Newcastle's soil. 

Possession for this contest was almost even as Newcastle won 52 to 48, but Tottenham showed they were the more explosive side by firing off 15 shots to Newcastle's seven. 

Although they were unable to get more than one goal to show for it, Gareth Bale and Defoe were causing problems for the Newcastle backline, and they will wreak havoc on any team they play. 

Considering all the change and the fact that they were playing away in the EPL opener, Tottenham has to be happy with their narrow loss. Newcastle had a chance to make a big statement and they missed. 

Tottenham had a lot working against them in this contest, and the fact they were in a position to win so late in the match is a great sign of good things to come. 

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