Richarlison doubles up as Tottenham run riot against sorry Newcastle

<span>Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Tottenham scored first. Obviously. It was a moment to remember for Destiny Udogie, his first goal for the club and, at that point in the 26th minute, the scene was set. In each of their previous five Premier League games, Spurs had scored first only to lose four and draw one. It was an unprecedented series of collapses. Could they finally capitalise from a position of strength?

Ange Postecoglou’s players gave the answer that he wanted. Of course they could, mate. On an occasion of great significance for the Champions League qualification places, Spurs simply blew Newcastle away, Son Heung-min the star turn, with Richarlison not too far behind.

Related: Tottenham 4-1 Newcastle: Premier League – as it happened

Son finished with the goal that he deserved, swept home from the penalty spot after he had been upended by the Newcastle goalkeeper, Martin Dubravka. But it was the Spurs captain’s assists for the first two goals, the second turned home by Richarlison, that made the difference. Son now has 10 goals and four assists in the Premier League this season.

Richarlison heard one of the loudest cheers of the day when he was substituted towards the end. He had added a well-taken second goal and only the hardest of hearts could not smile, given his injuries and mental health issues this season.

Newcastle were determined to bounce back from the midweek defeat at Everton but their away-day woes continued, a stoppage-time goal by Joelinton the most hollow of consolations. They have taken only five points on their travels – Eddie Howe said it was indefensible – and it feels as though his injury-ravaged squad is running on fumes. Next up for them is the make-or-break Champions League game at home against Milan on Wednesday.

It had been billed in some quarters as the selection crisis derby and the scoreline in terms of unavailable players was 10-8 to Newcastle. There was a sliver of good news for Howe when he was able to recall Sean Longstaff and Callum Wilson to the substitutes’ bench and he would get them both on. That said, for the fifth time in 15 days he went with the same 10 outfield players at the start.

Postecoglou has said on numerous occasions that he is “unwavering” in his commitment to the way he wants to play. As such, it was not even a surprise when he sent out an ultra-attacking lineup, Richarlison recalled at the expense of Giovani Lo Celso, Pape Sarr back, too, with Dejan Kulusevski shifted again into a central attacking midfield role. Postecoglou knows it will work. He keeps on saying so. The big tactical tweak was Richarlison in the No 9 role, with Son wide left. It is fair to say that it worked.

Spurs pushed up, as always, the full-backs daringly high, and it was possible to wonder whether Newcastle could profit from any quick counter-presses. They nearly did on 10 minutes, Joelinton getting Anthony Gordon into yards of space up the inside-left. When Gordon crossed low for Alexander Isak, Ben Davies stretched to get a faint but decisive defensive touch. That was about as close as it got to Newcastle being in the contest.

They were desperately disappointing and the game became a story of Spurs asserting themselves at the other end. Strongly. They brought the energy and much of their pass‑and‑move stuff was extremely slick. Newcastle gasped for breath and it was easy to imagine Howe wincing as several of his players grabbed various body parts and went down, particularly in the early running.

Son versus the Newcastle right‑back, Kieran Trippier, was the key duel and there was only one winner. Son had too much speed and trickery and, for Trippier, it was another difficult game after his disastrous performance at Everton. He was booked for kicking Kulusevski and will be suspended for the home game against Fulham on Saturday.

Cristian Romero had seen a header from a corner hacked clear by Miguel Almirón on the line when Son, who Postecoglou thought set the tone for Spurs, blazed past Trippier on the outside to cross for Udogie, who had a tap-in.

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Spurs could have had more in the first half. Sarr dragged wide when well placed from a Brennan Johnson cross while, before the end of it, Johnson kissed the outside of a post with a fierce shot and Richarlison could not stretch to reach a deflected Kulusevski cross after a Son burst.

Newcastle flickered in the 34th minute after a loose Johnson pass, Guglielmo Vicario ending up denying Almirón, but Spurs’ second soon came when Son got the better of Trippier to pull back for Richarlison.

Would Spurs waver in the second half? Given the recent body of evidence, it was impossible to discount the theory. But this was a day when everything clicked for them. Kulusevski, who wore a mask to protect a broken nose, was a menace, catching the eye when he lengthened his stride, while Johnson was very good, too. Newcastle had nothing in the tank.

Related: Son Heung-min channels his inner Ange-Anger to traumatise Trippier| Barney Ronay

It was all over when Richarlison scored again. Pedro Porro’s diagonal was a thing of beauty and Richarlison stole away from Jamaal Lascelles to finish. The closing stages were open and chaotic, scarred by a horrible tackle by Romero on Wilson; the Spurs defender crunched in on his opponent and was fortunate to escape with a yellow card. Howe called it “dangerous” in a TV interview, “high and reckless” in his press conference. There was also a flare-up between Vicario and Wilson after the final whistle.

Johnson hit the woodwork after a lovely Kulusevski pass, Oliver Skipp – on as a substitute – was denied one-on-one by Dubravka and Son might have had another after his penalty. Joelinton’s goal came from a Wilson pass after Spurs had lost possession in their defensive third.