We often heard the accusation last season that VAR, with its microscopic offside calls, was “killing” football. Yet what we are seeing so far this campaign with the new interpretation of the handball rule is actually something far more significant.
It is a development that threatens to actually change football and the way in which individual teams play. That was not just evident here in added time when, following the award of a free-kick that was patently also a nonsense, Newcastle United launched the ball at Andy Carroll’s head and struck lucky when it cannoned back into the left arm of a totally helpless Eric Dier.
Rewind about 20 minutes and there was an equally instructive second-half moment when, having got to the byline and found himself with no realistic chance of a goal, Harry Kane did something strange. Rather than check back and look for a team-mate who might be in a better position to score, he instead smashed the ball from point blank range into the midriff of Jamaal Lascelles.
It duly hit the Newcastle United defender’s arm, with the penalty appeal only turned down because Lascelles’ arms had not sufficiently moved from his side. There was no such luck for Dier who, having used his arms to jump, was adjudged by referee Peter Bankes to have made his body “unnaturally bigger”.
That Dier had his back to Carroll, had been gently nudged in the build-up to the goal by Lascelles, knew nothing about it and was clearly not close to denying a goal, was all immaterial. Bankes simply consulted VAR and, in following the letter of the law, rightly pointed to the penalty spot.
From not having had a shot on target all game, Newcastle suddenly had a share of the points. And the rest of us were left with a rare feeling: Sympathy for Jose Mourinho and an acceptance that, yes, his grievance was legitimate.
The more worrying wider question, however, is what happens next. Having seen how Carroll conjured a penalty from nothing, other managers and coaches will be encouraged to use that same tactic - a hopeful aerial launch into the box - in the hope of a similar ricochet. Even worse, you can already imagine that players are being instructed to weigh up whether they would be better to aim their shot or pass in the general direction of a nearby opponent’s arm rather than the goal or a team-mate.
It all threatens a far bigger problem than last season’s endless rows over fractional offside decisions which, wherever you stood on the individual incidents, did at least provide a greater reliability of decisions.
What we have now is simply an invite for footballers to adopt some of the most basic tactics imaginable in pursuit of a goal.
Mourinho’s frustrations here were naturally compounded both by how well his team had played and an alarming first sign that the equally ludicrous build-up of fixtures is now having an impact.
This was Tottenham’s fifth game in barely a fortnight and, with another three matches looming in the space of six days, Son Heung-Min was forced off at half-time with a hamstring injury.
Following his four Premier League goals last week, Son had again been excellent and hit both the post and crossbar during a first-half that Tottenham dominated,.
With Dele Alli again out of the entire matchday squad and new signing Gareth Bale watching on from one of the corporate boxes, Matt Doherty had earlier set the tone when he won a free-kick from which Giovani Lo Celso forced the first of 12 excellent saves from man of-the-match Karl Darlow. Newcastle goalkeepers have made a habit of excelling at Tottenham in recent seasons and, continuing that tradition, Darlow would also repeatedly deny Kane and Lucas Moura.
Blame for the Tottenham goal that did arrive after 25 minutes rested instead with his defenders. Isaac Hayden provided scant resistance to Kane who, after his four assists last week against Southampton, crossed along the six-yard box. It should have been cleared but, when Matt Ritchie hesitated, Moura pounced.
The pattern of the match then barely evolved. Spurs, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg producing his best performance since his summer arrival, were dominant. Newcastle had not seriously threatened until, with seconds remaining, the new handball rule intervened.
Mourinho stormed straight down the tunnel. Some of his players and coaching staff lingered to make their point, even if the target for such ire was misplaced. Bankes had wrongly awarded a free-kick but the handball rule is not of his making. It is a row that now deserves to escalate all the way to Fifa and the law-makers at the International Football Association Board who, in their search for certainty and clarity in this most subjective of sports, have actually created a damaging injustice.
And that's all the live reaction from me
However, read Jeremy Wilson's match report for a full recap of all today's drama.
Jose Mourinho interview in full
A word for the excellent Karl Darlow
Karl Darlow’s 11 saves in this game was the most by a Newcastle goalkeeper in a Premier League match since Tim Krul made 14 against Tottenham in November 2013.
He kept his side in the match during the first half. Terrific performance.
"I speak about my team's performance. My team played fantastic. Darlow was fantastic in goal. "We lost two points, but I will not comment on it. If I want to give money away, I give to charities not the FA."
Here is the penalty incident. It feels incredibly harsh on Eric Dier and Tottenham
🎙 - "Whoever is in involved in this - stop it. You're ruining football." @Carra23 is 𝙣𝙤𝙩 happy with the decision to give this as a penalty - your thoughts? 🤔— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 27, 2020
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A truly remarkable stat
3 - Newcastle have scored with 100% of their shots on target in the Premier League this season (3/3), with Callum Wilson's penalty being their first attempt on target since MD1 v West Ham. Controversial. pic.twitter.com/rG3FHZXG65— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 27, 2020
CORRECTION: Harry Kane was not red carded after the game!
It was Joao Sacramento, Tottenham's assistant coach.
Tottenham should have killed the game
But they did not. Spurs will feel aggrieved about the handball but the game should have been dead and buried.
Harry Kane red carded!
It looks like Kane was sent off for arguing with the referee after full time! The end to this game could not have been worse for Spurs.
FULL TIME: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1
Tottenham attack, energised by a cruel decision. A cross is sent into the box but Doherty's header is straight at Darlow.
And that is that! Newcastle have somehow won a point!
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAL! (Wilson) Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1
Newcastle do not deserve anything from this game - but they now have a chance to rescue a point. Wilson will take it.
Wilson buries it! He fires past Lloris who cannot get enough on it to keep it out. Mourinho has stormed down the tunnel in disgust. It was a very harsh decision.
PENALTY TO NEWCASTLE!
The ball struck Dier's outstretched arm as he jumped to challenge Carroll. VAR has been giving these. VAR is now checking whether Carroll is onside, which is not a good sign for Tottenham.
The offside is close too. Carroll is onside. Peter Bankes has ran over to the screen, and he has awarded a penalty!!
90+3 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
There will be five minutes of added time. Can Newcastle somehow rescue a point?
Hojbjerg fouls Joelinton, allowing Newcastle to send everyone into the box for a cross. Shelvey delivers it, Carroll wins it. His header strikes a Tottenham player, was it handball? Newcastle appeal. Nothing given on the field. VAR is interested.
89 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Ndombele breaks forward. His cross is deflected - possibly off the arm - of the Newcastle defender. The ball falls to Kane but his shot is saved. No hand ball given.
Carroll heads the ball into the box. Davies hammers it into Hojbjerg - it flies goalwards, but instead goes out for a corner. That was nearly a calamitous error.
87 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Kane bundles his way into the box, losing possession. It just has not been his day in front of goal today.
84 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Lamela will take the free kick. He goes for goal from a very tight angle, forcing Darlow to tip it over the bar for a corner.
The corner is taken short, but Winks loses possession allowing Newcastle to attack. Davies make an important on Murphy slowing the attack and allowing Spurs to recover.
82 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Carroll is brought down but no free kick awarded. The big striker is furious with the lack of decision.
Spurs counter, building patiently. Doherty then breaks into the box and is fouled by Lewis right on the edge. Free kick, yellow card.
80 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
There is more space for Spurs now with Newcastle making a number of attacking substitutions. Lamela is now on for Lucas Moura, the goal scorer.
Newcastle are yet to register a shot on target today.
77 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Almiron whips in a dangerous cross, Davies does well to head it away. Spurs attack down the left, Kane winning a corner with Murphy forced to make a tackle.
Sanchez gives away a foul at the corner. Ndombele is coming on for the industrious Lo Celso. For Newcastle, Carroll is on for Almiron.
74 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Moura fouls Joelinton as Newcastle look to counter. Hendrick is off, replaced by Murphy.
72 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Doherty finds Bergwijn at the back post but the Dutchman falls as he shoots, allowing Darlow to make a comfortable save.
Spurs have stepped their tempo up a notch, but it remains a one goal game.
70 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Jamal Lewis on for the injured Ritchie. It looks as if Newcastle have shifted to four at the back, Lewis at left back, Hayden into midfield.
67 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Doherty and Ritchie clash in the air, nasty collision and the Newcastle man is down on the floor, writhing in pain. Not nice at all. It looks like Ritchie landed directly on his shoulder.
There will be a little pause in play here.
65 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Moura crosses into a dangerous area but Lascelles clears via a diving header. Tottenham have not looked anywhere near as dangerous since Son came off at half time.
63 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Spurs break into the Newcastle box once more. Kane shoots but Lascelles blocks. Newcastle clinging on.
60 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Tottenham will be concerned that they are only one goal in front at this stage. They need to kill the game.
A cross falls to Kane who unleashes a rather tame volley straight at Darlow. Newcastle break forward. Hendrick finds space on the edge of the box but drives a shot well wide.
57 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
The game has started to heat up a touch, with fouls and disagreements emerging all over the pitch.
Newcastle win a corner, Ritchie overcooks it but Joelinton rescues it. He whips in a cross but no one gets on the end of it.
54 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Joelinton is booked for a poor challenge. Moura then sneaks past Ritchie, only to be greeted by a strong challenge from Fernandez.
Lo Celso then puts in physical tackle on Fernandez, free kick awarded.
51 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Moura gets to the front post but his header is just about kept out by Darlow.
Spurs come again, Lo Celso bringing the ball down in the box but his shot is straight at the incredibly busy Newcastle goalkeeper.
Ritchie breaks into the box for Newcastle, he fires a shot in but Doherty blocks with his back. Appeals for handball ignored.
49 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Lascelles butchers a clearance, allowing Lo Celso in behind. He plays it to Doherty who wins his side a corner.
Darlow punches it out for another corner.
47 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Spurs start as they finished the first half, attacking with intent. Nothing comes of it, however.
The second half is underway
Spurs get us restarted.
Son Heung-min is off! Stephen Bergwijn is on
Presumably an injury...
Gareth Bale has been watching on, enjoying the spectacle so far
Kane has been excellent, he just needs to stick the ball in the net to add to his own tally...
5 - Harry Kane has assisted five @premierleague goals this season; only in 2016-17 (7) has he assisted more in any full season, while he had previously only assisted five goals in his last 55 league appearances. Diverse. pic.twitter.com/OClCdYo5qd— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 27, 2020
HALF TIME: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Lascelles is up, and play continues. Newcastle lump it forward and Almiron wins a corner.
Ritchie crosses it in. The ball eventually falls to Shelvey but his volley drifts wide of the post.
And that's the half.
44 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Tottenham should be five or six up. This half could not have been more one side, yet, Newcastle are only one goal behind.
Lascelles is down after a challenge from Lo Celso.
42 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Spurs attack once more, but another poor pass limits any opportunity for Son as he breaks into the box.
And again, Son picks up the ball on the edge of the box, hammering a shot straight into the bar! That is the second time he has hit the woodwork!
The ball comes back into the box, Davies volleys it across goal but it beats everyone.
39 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Almiron passes the ball straight to Kane who sets a counter attack underway. He rolls the ball to Moura but the Brazilian cannot find a return pass.
Tottenham win the ball back, Kane breaks into the left hand side of the box but his shot goes well wide.
37 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Newcastle win a free kick in Tottenham's half. Ritchie floats it into the box but the ball is headed away. The ball falls to Almiron, however his shot is blocked and Spurs clear.
Here is the opening goal of the match
Lucas Moura opened scoring for Tottenham, after yet another assist from Harry Kane! 🤝— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 27, 2020
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34 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Spurs win another corner. Son provides a perfect ball for Dier who sends a free header wide. Should have done better.
Timely goal for Lucas Moura
22 - Lucas Moura has ended a run of 22 Premier League games without a goal, netting for the first time since December 2019 (v Wolves). Kickstart. pic.twitter.com/GKqtKb3Fv7— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 27, 2020
31 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Spurs have looked like doubling their lead even since they scored, Newcastle struggling to keep the ball for any period of time.
Kane is hacked down on the edge of the box, advantage is played which allows Son to curl a shot from the edge of the box. The left footed effort curves and hits the post! Tottenham really could be 4-0 up at this point...
28 min: Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
And Spurs could score again! Son bursts through from deep, Kane breaks with him but the pass is intercepted.
The ball then falls to Kane who releases a wicked shot. Darlow tips it around the post for a corner - top save. Darlow then claims the corner. He is having an excellent game.
GOOOOOOAAAAAL! (Lucas Moura) Tottenham 1 Newcastle 0
Kane breaks into the box, firing a cross along the floor. Moura arrives at the back post, tapping the ball into the empty net.
Spurs deserved that. Gareth Bale enjoyed the goal in the stands...
24 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
Shelvey's corner is poor, failing to beat the first man. Spurs counter but Moura cannot find Kane as he ran into space.
22 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
After a frantic start, the tempo of the match has settled down, Tottenham slowly working their way forward.
Wilson wins his side a free kick in a promising position. Ritchie crosses it into the box, forcing Doherty to head it behind for a corner. Decent ball, that.
19 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
Doherty has been lively so far. He whips in a cross but it is headed away. Newcastle break forward, but a loose pass sees the move end.
Spurs counter, but once again a stray pass ends the attack - Son and Kane not on the same wavelength so far today.
16 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
Lo Celso's corner is won by Kane, the ball is headed down but Darlow beat Sanchez to the ball. Newcastle survive once more.
14 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
Newcastle are sitting deep, all 11 players in their own half consistently. They win the ball, but have no out pass and Spurs resume possession.
Tottenham then win a corner.
11 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
Tottenham really should be in front. They should have scored twice with Kane fluffing his lines on both occasions. Darlow has made good saves but he should not have had a chance in either instance.
9 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
Joelinton has started out on the left for Newcastle, with Wilson playing as a lone striker. Steve Bruce's side have got plenty of men behind the ball, unsurprisingly.
Manquillo gets forward, firing in a low cross but Wilson cannot get anything on it.
At the other end, Kane should score again! He has a free header in the six yard box and Darlow keeps it out. Good save - but Kane should bury it.
6 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
Tottenham have another free kick in a dangerous position. However, Son's free kick hits the wall and Newcastle are allowed to escape from their own half. Worrying signs for Newcastle already.
4 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
HOW HAVE SPURS NOT SCORED? Lo Celso whips a free kick towards goal and Darlow does well to keep it out. The ball falls to Kane but his shot from just yards out is saved. His second attempt is blocked away.
2 min: Tottenham 0 Newcastle 0
Spurs start brightly, passing with composure around the defence before moving up the pitch. A cross-field ball finds Moura but his header is intercepted by Lascelles before it can reach Kane.
Lo Celso is then fouled in a promising position for the home side.
Here we go!
Newcastle get us underway.
The players are on the pitch
Kick-off just a minute away!
Still no Dele Alli in the squad!
Gareth Bale speaks:
Team news reminder:
Dele Alli once again misses out on a place in the Tottenham squad as Jose Mourinho names new signing Sergio Reguilon on the bench.
As expected, Mourinho's starting XI is closer to their 5-2 win at Southampton last week after he rotated for Thursday's 3-1 Europa League qualifying round victory away to Shkendija.
There is only one alteration from the impressive display at St Mary's as Giovani Lo Celso replaces Tanguy Ndombele in midfield.
Reguilon, signed from Real Madrid, was named on a strong bench as Gareth Bale's knee injury prevents him making his second debut.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Doherty, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Hojbjerg, Winks, Lo Celso, Lucas Moura, Kane, Son.
Subs: Reguilon, Alderweireld, Lamela, Hart, Bergwijn, Ndombele, Fernandes.
Newcastle: Darlow, Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Ritchie, Hendrick, Shelvey, Hayden, Almiron, Joelinton, Wilson.
Subs: Carroll, Lewis, Krafth, Yedlin, Murphy, Gillespie, Sean Longstaff.
A good omen for Joelinton, perhaps
Joelinton’s only away Premier League goal was the winner at Tottenham in August 2019. However, he has not scored in his 18 away Premier League appearances since...
Son Heung-min appreciation post...
Son was is stunning form in his last Premier League appearance, finding the back of the net on four occasions.
His combination of acceleration, clinical finishing and the intelligent runs he makes has seen him become one of the league's best players. If Newcastle are to have any chance of winning today, they will need to keep Son quiet.
Newcastle have had a mixed start to the season
Steve Bruce's side were very impressive in their opening game against West Ham. The performances of new signings Callum Wilson, Jamal Lewis and Jeff Hendrick all stood out. Andy Carroll also played well, suggesting a new strike partnership was forming nicely.
However, Carroll struggled in the defeat to Brighton - among others - and Joelinton is given the start alongside Wilson today.
A huge opportunity for the much-maligned Joelinton this afternoon.
It is fair to say that Jose Mourinho enjoys coaching against Newcastle
Tottenham boss José Mourinho has won all eight of his home matches against Newcastle United as a manager in all competitions (six with Chelsea, two with Manchester United) – it’s his best 100 per cent home winning record against any side in his managerial career.
Sergio Reguilon is on the bench for Tottenham today
Reguilon is an attacking full-back who spends most of his time in the opposition half, regularly taking on opposition defenders and beating them with skill or a burst of acceleration.
For all you need to know about Reguilon, read this piece from JJ Bull
Team news is in!
No Dele Alli at all for Spurs.
Joelinton starts for Newcastle.
TEAM-NEWS 🚨— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) September 27, 2020
This is how we line-up for #TOTNEW this afternoon.
Good afternoon, Steve Bruce is pleased Newcastle will not have to deal with Gareth Bale today
Steve Bruce has a admitted his relief that Newcastle will not be facing Gareth Bale when they line up against Tottenham.
The 31-year-old Wales international will sit out the game with a knee injury as he waits to make his second debut for the North London club after completing a loan move from Real Madrid.
With Harry Kane and Son Heung-min having teamed-up to stunning effect last Sunday - the England skipper provided the assists for all four of the South Korean internationals goals in a 5-2 Premier League win at Southampton and added the fifth himself - Bruce is happy Spurs will not have another weapon in their armoury this weekend.
The Magpies head coach said with a smile: "It's something of a relief, yes. These top teams now - and I class Tottenham as a top, top team - they've got great players.
"They've got a world-class centre-forward in Kane and the kid alongside him, Son, is not too bad either, so if you put Gareth Bale in the mix...
"That's what we're up against, that's what we're competing against regularly and yes, it is a bit of a mouthwatering front three when you throw Gareth Bale into the mix with those two.
"We're under no illusion as to how difficult it's going to be. But that's what we play in the Premier League for, that's what we enjoy playing against and enjoy trying to do something against.
"The beauty of the Premier League is when I see the the players the top, top teams are bringing in, it is undoubtedly, for me, the best league in the world and to be part of it and competing against them is fantastic."
Bruce has injury concerns over full-back Jamal Lewis, who has a nasty cut above his eye, and frontman Allan Saint-Maximin.
The Frenchman's ankle problem could hand a first Premier League start for the club to former Bournemouth midfielder Ryan Fraser, although Bruce, who has adopted a conservative approach with his summer signing after six months out of competitive football, will not take any chances.
He said: "We've purposely left him out. He's now played two and a half hours in the last week, so it's still early.
"I still think we've got to be careful with him because he hasn't really trained with anybody for a long, long time, so I'm just a bit guarded with him because his game is all about pace and explosiveness."