Spurs' unseen tunnel frustration as Newcastle stadium 'suffocates' and Saudi chant silenced

"I can't wait to see it rocking later on." Those were famous last words from Ange Postecoglou. On his first ever visit to St James' Park, the Spurs boss certainly got his pre-match wish following his side's 4-0 defeat against Newcastle United.

There were understandable parallels with the last time Spurs rocked up on Tyneside a year ago. That was also a heavy defeat. However, there was a reason why Postecoglou did not watch that 6-1 humiliation under Cristian Stellini back. Why would the Aussie when so much has changed and when these sides had already met since then at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium? It was the reverse fixture back in December that was more relevant.

That 4-1 loss proved a sobering experience for Eddie Howe on an afternoon his side had more possession (44%) than on Saturday, but allowed Spurs to have a whopping 12 shots on target - six times as many as yesterday. "It was important we learned from the game and adjusted things slightly," the Newcastle boss said.

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That adjustment saw Newcastle go man for man and, like against Wolves last month, allow the opposition to have the lion's share of the possession before picking their moments to strike on the break. Newcastle certainly did that and Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon both scored within 90 seconds of each other in the first half. The usually imperious Micky van de Ven was literally floored on both occasions as the noise levels rocketed inside the stadium just minutes after Spurs fans taunted: "No noise from the Saudi boys!"

Dan Burn said it 'felt like last season where the crowd really push you on' and Gordon knows how powerful that backing is having experienced both sides. "It can feel like the stadium is suffocating you and, trust me, I've been here as an away player, and it definitely feels like that," he added.

Spurs left the field stunned at half-time and a frustrated James Maddison was shaking his head as he walked down the tunnel and ripped off his wrist tape. "Anyone who has played here before knows what type of game you're in for when you come here," he sighed. "But it still took us by surprise."

Postecoglou felt his side 'didn't get a grip of the game at all' and for all the possession the visitors enjoyed - 73% all told - the Spurs manager admitted 'we allowed Newcastle to dictate the way the game was played' from the off as the Magpies repeatedly hurt the Londoners on the counter.

That was the case even after a half-time reshuffle. In fact, just six minutes had been played in the second half when Newcastle made it 3-0 in remarkably similar fashion to their first-half opener. Son Heung-min again lost the ball; Bruno Guimaraes looked up and immediately launched it forward; and Isak did the rest. Perhaps the only surprise was that Newcastle did not grab another from open play before Fabian Schar added a fourth with a header from Gordon's corner late on as the Magpies claimed their 11th win at St James' Park in the league this season.

For all injury-ravaged Newcastle's issues - Nottingham Forest, Luton Town, Bournemouth and Everton have all come away with something in recent months - St James' does feel like a fortress again on days like this. No side have scored more goals (43) at home in the Premier League than Newcastle or kept more clean sheets (eight) on their own turf. Only title challengers Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal have picked up more points than Newcastle (36) on their own stomping ground in the top-flight while the Magpies have accumulated 72% of their overall tally on home soil. That strong record has laid the foundations for another European push.