Spurs are thumped by 10-man Newcastle and finish below Arsenal again
Tottenham suffered an embarrassing end to their best ever Premier League season as they were thumped 5-1 by 10-man Newcastle at St James’ Park and finished below Arsenal for the 21st year in a row.
Spurs only needed a draw against the Magpies – who had already been relegated - to secure second place and end up in front of the Gunners for the first time since 1995.
However, they trailed 2-0 at half-time after goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic.
And, although Erik Lamela halved the deficit on the hour-mark and Mitrovic was sent off soon afterwards, Newcastle scored three unanswered goals in the final 17 minutes, condemning Spurs to third place as Arsenal predictably won 4-0 at home against basement boys Aston Villa.
There was one change from the Spurs side that had started against Southampton in their previous game, with Ben Davies replacing Danny Rose at left-back and lining up against former Tottenham midfielder Andros Townsend.
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Spurs made a positive start, Kyle Walker seeing a shot blocked and Christian Eriksen shooting high and wide from outside the box.
However, Newcastle quickly began to gain the upper hand, winning their battles all over the pitch and starting to threaten Hugo Lloris’ goal.
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Spurs, by comparison, were slowing to a walking pace and Eriksen dawdled on the ball, being robbed by Mitrovic, moments before the Magpies opened the scoring in the 19th minute.
Toby Alderweireld headed Daryl Janmaat’s cross to the back post and Newcastle captain Moussa Sissoko sent the ball back into the middle, where Mitrovic teed up Wijnaldum, who found the bottom right corner.
Tottenham seemed unable to rouse themselves and it took a potshot from Alderweireld to finally test home goalkeeper Karl Darlow. Even then the long-range effort was straight at him – and Newcastle doubled their lead six minutes before half-time.
Townsend drove inside from the right flank and freed the overlapping Sissoko, whose cross was met with a thumping header from Mitrovic.
Pochettino made two half-time changes, replacing Ryan Mason – who had had a particularly poor first half – and the ineffective Heung-Min with Tom Carroll and Josh Onomah.
Spurs gradually improved and Eric Dier saw a shot deflected wide, while Jack Colback did well to challenge Lamela as he attempted to score from Davies’ low cross before Tottenham halved the deficit in the 60th minute.
Eriksen passed to Dier, who moved the ball on to Lamela, and the Argentine’s powerful drive from a tight angle cannoned in off the underside of the crossbar.
Onomah then cut inside and shot at Darlow and, moments later, Newcastle were reduced to 10 men as Mitrovic was shown a straight red card for a nasty shin-high challenge on Walker.
Pochettino promptly swapped Walker for Nacer Chadli – but the move backfired. Sissoko attacked the space that had been vacated by the right-back and, as Jan Vertonghen tried to get back and challenge him, the Newcastle skipper went down in the box and won a penalty which was converted by Wijnaldum.
While Tottenham had the numerical advantage, their shortage of defenders and desperation to score meant it was Newcastle who were repeatedly outnumbering their visitors on the break.
Townsend and Sissoko both ran from inside their own halves and got shots off – the first being saved, the second flying just wide – and Townsend then freed Sissoko, who went through one on one with Lloris but was denied.
Tottenham could not survive for long though and they conceded twice in rapid succession. Townsend hit the woodwork and, when the ball was crossed back into the middle, substitute Rolando Aarons controlled it at the back post and drilled it into the top corner.
Moments later, Janmaat drove forward from right-back and fired across Lloris into the bottom left corner to put the finishing touch on Spurs’ miserable day.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker (Chadli 70), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Mason (Carroll 45), Lamela, Eriksen, Son (Onomah 45), Kane
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs