Five talking points from Tottenham's 2-0 FA Cup win over Newport County

Erik Lamela celebrates his goal for Tottenham against Newport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal for Tottenham against Newport

Moussa Sissoko forced an own goal from Dan Butler while Erik Lamela was also on target as Tottenham scored twice in the opening 34 minutes to secure a comfortable 2-0 home win over Newport County in their FA Cup fourth-round replay at Wembley. Here are five talking points:

Returning trio enjoy positive outings

Three of Tottenham’s players were making their first appearances of 2018.

Toby Alderweireld had missed 20 matches with a hamstring injury that had sidelined him since November 1, while Danny Rose and Harry Winks had both been out of action since Boxing Day with knee and ankle problems respectively.

Mauricio Pochettino took the opportunity to select all three players in his starting line-up, plus Serge Aurier, who had missed three matches with a calf injury.

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How Tottenham 2 Newport County 0 unfolded

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The trio made positive returns. Alderweireld contributed to a clean sheet and Rose’s passing was positive and incisive, while Winks bustled around busily to get on the ball, having shaken off a first-half knock.

Winks and Rose may have to wait for their next Premier League start. Given the lengths of their absences it seems unlikely that Pochettino will also pick them for

Saturday’s north London derby against Arsenal.

But Alderweireld has to cover less ground as a centre-back and, given Davinson Sanchez struggled against Liverpool at Anfield at the weekend and was substituted, the Belgian might just keep his place and get the nod against the Gunners.

It was routine for Spurs at Wembley
It was routine for Spurs at Wembley

Son inspires Spurs to victory

While Pochettino predictably picked Erik Lamela, Sissoko and Fernando Llorente in his front four, he had to complete the quartet with one of his senior stars – and he picked Son.

It proved a good decision as the South Korean took the game to Newport from the start, embodying the gap in quality between the sides.

Tottenham’s attacking players dovetailed well in general, interchanging positions intelligently, but it was Son who looked the most dangerous in the first half as he ran at the visitors time and again, forcing them to backpedal into their own penalty area.

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He was unfortunate to see a curling goalbound shot blocked, before being denied by the goalkeeper moments later, and it was no surprise when another threatening run and a neat pass to Lamela produced Spurs’ second goal.

It was no surprise either that Son was withdrawn on the hour-mark, to the soundtrack of a deserved standing ovation. He will be a key figure against Arsenal at the weekend.

Heung-Min Son was in top form and was taken off as Spurs looked ahead to the Arsenal clash
Heung-Min Son was in top form and was taken off as Spurs looked ahead to the Arsenal clash

Lamela scores his first goal since his comeback

The Argentinian made an instant impact when he returned from his long lay-off back in November, setting up a goal for Harry Kane at Leicester.

He has since made 14 appearances, but he has found it difficult to provide a consistent end product and compete with Son, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli for a place in Pochettino’s best front four.

However, the 25-year-old made an impact as a substitute at Liverpool on Saturday – winning Spurs’ second penalty – and he followed that up with a goal on Wednesday.

Having looked bright in general as the No10 and linked the play effectively, Lamela made a well-timed run in the 34th minute and took Son’s short pass in his stride before finishing expertly past Joe Day, netting his first goal since September 2016.

It seems a while now since Lamela’s 13-month absence, but this strike will nonetheless do him the world of good as he bids to rediscover his best form and maintain his top level.

Llorente improves but squanders his big opportunities

It has been a tough month for the big Spaniard, who was probably Spurs’ worst player in the original tie at Newport – and the early signs were hardly positive.

Llorente looked horribly rusty at the start and simple passes went astray. But he gradually found his feet and began to make an impression up front.

It was he who gathered the ball in and played the ball out to Sissoko when the Frenchman’s low, deflected cross gave Spurs their 26th-minute lead, and he then cushioned the ball into Son’s path to tee up a shot on goal.

As the game entered the final stages, the forward had two big chances to score himself as Lamela and substitute Christian Eriksen chipped the ball over the defence.

On both occasions Llorente timed his run well, staying onside, but he then missed the target, planting a header across goal before shooting wide of the near post.

The 32-year-old played his part tonight but has not greatly enhanced his cause. He will return to his former club Juventus for next week’s Champions League tie but is likely to spend most, if not all, of the match on the bench.

Fernando Llorente was hugely better than he was in the first match against Newport
Fernando Llorente was hugely better than he was in the first match against Newport

Quarter-final place is firmly in sight as Spurs march on

How quickly things change. Just a week and a half ago Tottenham were battling to stay in the FA Cup, searching desperately for that late equaliser in Newport.

Now, however, they have a strong chance of reaching the last eight.

With Rochdale beating Millwall to earn the right to face Spurs in the fifth round, Pochettino’s side are set to face a side lying second from bottom in League One.

The tie may be away from home, and nothing can be taken for granted in this competition, but Tottenham will be kicking themselves if they miss such a golden opportunity to reach the quarter-finals.