Tottenham Hotspur vs Newcastle United match report: Mauricio Pochettino has Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final

Tottenham 4 Newcastle 0

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The Independent Online

Anyone looking for signs of progress at Tottenham Hotspur will be grateful to have a marker this glaringly clear. Eight weeks ago Tottenham hosted Newcastle in the league, went 1-0 up but folded and lost 2-1. Tonight they stormed to a 4-0 win, sending them into the League Cup semi-finals and giving the impression of a side which is finally starting to believe in itself – and its manager – again.

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Tottenham will face Sheffield United in the semi-finals and it is hard, after a performance like this, to foresee Mauricio Pochettino and his side anywhere other than Wembley on 1 March next year. Pochettino described this as one of the best performances of his tenure and it felt like – along with the Queens Park Rangers and Everton wins here – like a game when the players, supporters and management were in happy unison.

For all the questions about Mauricio Pochettino’s selection, he chose a perfect team for this game. While Pochettino made six changes from Sunday’s win at Swansea City, he kept the reliable spine of his new team: Federico Fazio, Jan Vertonghen, Nabil Bentaleb, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane.

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Newcastle 'keeper Jak Alnwick's error allows Spurs to score

In a confident, comprehensive performance, those were Spurs’ leading players. Kane and Bentaleb, were both excellent, both scored, and were given standing ovations when replaced late on. Christian Eriksen continued to take more responsibility for the side and Andros Townsend made a case for more inclusion.

It did feel, at points in the second half, as if Newcastle United were bystanders but they did stay in the game in the first half at least. Alan Pardew picked the best team he could, given injuries, and Moussa Sissoko had a few chances to give his team the lead. Had Remy Cabella or Emmanuel Riviere, 10 minutes into the second half, converted Ayoze Perez’s cross to make it 2-1, the game might have been different. But they did not.

Tottenham’s intention was very clear from the outset. They won the ball briskly and moved it forward in a rush. Nacer Chadli and Kane both had half-chances in the opening minutes, and it was no surprise that Spurs took the lead, even if the manner of it was quite unlikely.

Christian Eriksen curled a gentle corner over from the left. Alnwick stretched up his arms to catch it but lost control. The ball fell as a seasonal gift in front of Bentaleb, who twisted his body to put the ball into the net.

Tottenham should have had a penalty just before the break, when Fabricio Coloccini brought down Kane, and they will have been very aware at half-time of what happened here on 26 October. That day, Newcastle equalised in the opening seconds after the re-start, Spurs lost their heads and the game 2-1. This time, there was another goal in the 46 minute, but this time it was for Spurs and it killed the game.

Chadli faced almost no opposition bringing the ball across from the left. He reached the edge of the D and, with no obvious better option, placed the ball beyond Alnwick into the bottom corner of the net.

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Spurs' striker Harry Kane scores their third goal

Spurs continued to push, Jan Vertonghen was denied on the line by Massimo Haidara and, soon enough, they were 3-0 up. Mousa Dembele, on for Chadli, had the ball on the left and played it inside to Townsend, who knocked the ball forward, in between Mike Williamson and Coloccini. Kane picked it up, spun and beat Alnwick into the far bottom corner.

Alnwick, by this stage, cut a sorry figure, not looking like he particularly still wanted to be out there. Pochettino threw on Roberto Soldado for Kane, and with his second touch he had scored. Eriksen shot from distance, Alnwick spilled it and Soldado did the rest, controlling the ball with his thigh and rolling it in.

Had Spurs wanted a fifth goal they could have had one but they were happy to play out the final 10 minutes, knowing that they were safely in the hat. Burnley come here on Saturday and Pochettino will want more of the same.

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