NEWCASTLE bade farewell to the Premier League with an emphatic victory over Tottenham, condemning the visitors to once again finish behind their bitter rivals Arsenal who leapfrogged them into second.
A brace from Georginio Wijnaldum and goals from Rolando Aarons, Daryl Janmaat and Aleksandar Mitrovic were enough to secure the points despite the Serbian being sent off in the second half.
Newcastle dominated the first half going into the break two goals to the good. Wijnaldum grabbed the first after 19 minutes stoking the ball home from 12 yards before Mitrovic headed home for the second.
Spurs raised their game after the interval and pulled one back through Erik Lamela. When Mitrovic was sent off for raking his studs down the inside of Kyle Walker’s shin it looked like the comeback was on. However if anything it motivated the home team who proceeded to run riot.
Wijnaldum calmed the nerves with a goal from the penalty spot after Moussa Sissoko was brought down in the area. Aarons and Janmaat completed the rout with two goals in two minutes.
However, in the dying embers of a season in which Newcastle crashed and burned the game was about one man: Rafa Benitez. The Geordie faithful left the Spaniard in no doubt where they felt his future lay, repeatedly chanting his name for the duration of the game and imploring him to stay on with a lengthy ovation after the final whistle.
If the players wanted to send their own message to their boss this performance should have done just that as they extended their unbeaten streak to six games.
That said, for much of the game Spurs made it easy for them. Mauricio Pochettino’s men did not play like a side that until two weeks previously had still been in the hunt for the title.
It’s a measure of the transformation of these two sides that in that time Newcastle have accumulated 12 points while Spurs have collected just eight. That late season collapse begs questions as to whether Tottenham can repeat their title charge next season.
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