NEWCASTLE United suffered their heaviest defeat of Alan Pardew’s reign at White Hart Lane.
Pardew’s side were humbled 5-0 by Tottenham Hotspur last night in a desperately one-sided game in North London.
And the result dropped Newcastle down to sixth in the Premiership, with Arsenal’s win over Sunderland earlier in the day moving them up to fifth in the Premier League.
The game was played after a rollercoaster few days for Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, who was cleared of tax evasion and subsequently installed as favourite to succeed Fabio Capello as England coach.
Redknapp’s players underlined why he’s the Football Association’s first choice for the job with a blistering first-half performance against Pardew’s under-strength team.
Two goals from former United striker Louis Saha and strikes from Niko Kranjcar and Benoit Assou-Ekotto saw Newcastle trail 4-0 at the interval.
Emmanuel Adebayor – who had wreaked havoc before the break – got the home side’s fifth in the second half.
Pardew’s side got off to the worst possible start. Adebayor got the better of Davide Santon at left-back in the fourth minute, and his low cross was met by Assou-Ekotto, who was unmarked at the far post.
Two minutes later Adebayor again crossed, this time for Saha, who had a loan spell at United early in his career.
There were “Pardew for England” chants from the home support in the wake of Spurs’s second goal and Redknapp’s side seized total control in the 20th minute. Luka Modric’s ball inside took a slight deflection on its way to Adebayor, with his back to goal.
Adebayor laid the ball to Saha, who drove the ball past a helpless Tim Krul.
It got worse, with Kranjcar netting a fourth for Tottenham in the 33rd minute after an Adebayor shot was parried into his path.
Pardew made one change at the break, with Shane Ferguson replacing Gabriel Obertan, who had left Danny Simpson badly exposed in the first half.
However, they fared little better, and the only surprise was that it took Spurs until the 64th minute to net a fifth goal, with Adebayor meeting a knockdown from Saha.
Chances at the other end were almost non-existent, though United came close to pulling one back in the 77th minute.
Danny Guthrie swung in a cross for Demba Ba, but Brad Friedel was able to get something on his header. The loose ball fell to substitute Dan Gosling, on for Papiss Demba Cisse, but his shot sailed over his bar.
United will have first-choice central midfield pairing Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote available for their next game, the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Sports Direct Arena on February 25.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Friedel; Walker, Dawson, King (Nelsen, 74), Assou-Ekotto; Kranjcar, Modric, Parker, Bale (Lennon, 67); Saha (Defoe, 67), Adebayor. Subs not used: Cudicini, Rose, Livermore, Khumalo.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Obertan (Ferguson, 46), Perch Guthrie (Lovenkrands, 86), Gutierrez; Cisse (Gosling, 68), Ba. Subs not used: Elliot; Ben Arfa, Abeid, Shola Ameobi.
Goals: Assou-Ekotto 4, Saha 6, 20, Kranjcar 33, Adebayor 64
Bookings: Parker 23, Walker 38, Gosling 70
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Read Miles Starforth’s full match report, plus more reaction to Newcastle’s heavy defeat and Sunderland’s narrow loss to Arsenal, in tomorrow’s Echo.