Tottenham Hotspur continued their newfound momentum by beating Newcastle United 3-1 at St James’ Park.
Harry Kane’s two strikes took his tally to 201 goals in 350 games, with the majority of those for Tottenham (BBC).
Spurs are now enjoying an unbeaten run stretching back to the 1-0 win at home to Everton. Nevertheless, Noel Whelan has blasted full-backs Serge Aurier and Ben Davies for their “wasteful” performances on the wings.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United striker ripped into the defensive duo, suggesting Spurs are “missing a goalscoring opportunity without having that quality.”
Aurier and Davies have established themselves as Jose Mourinho’s first choice full-backs as they have started every game since the Premier League restart, winning four out of a possible seven games so far.
Son Heung-min opened the scoring before Kane added the extras to mark the first time Mourinho had won a Premier League game at St James’ Park.
The Ivorian’s scuffed clearance allowed Matt Ritchie to bury an equaliser, but Kane combined with Steven Bergwijn to keep Newcastle quiet.
Whelan told assistant editor Russell Edge “when you get into areas out wide where you’ve got a striker like that who’s fantastic in the air and can score all kinds of goals in the box, I think me as a striker would be tearing my hair out.
“We see it at Leeds at times, all that hard work and great work at times getting into the final third but with a wasteful ball. You’re missing a goalscoring opportunity without having that quality.
“That is somewhere that Tottenham are lacking – Aurier to me is not their solution.”
With all due respect, it seems Whelan has gone too far this time. Aurier started just two days after his younger brother Christopher was shot dead in Toulouse.
Although the 27-year-old was at fault for the error that led to Newcastle’s equaliser, he still made 3 clearances, completed 4 tackles, and finished the game with a pass accuracy rating of 85% (via SofaScore).
The ex-Paris Saint-Germain ace has played 31 games in the Premier League this season, scoring one goal, supplying five assists, making 1.1 key passes per game, averaging 2.8 tackles, and registering 2.6 clearances on average (stats provided by WhoScored).
Mourinho had been considering Gedson Fernandes, Oliver Skipp and Moussa Sissoko as possible alternatives in the event that Aurier could not play, but with so much at stake, the Ivory Coast captain showed he is a team player who is committed to the cause.
It might not have been his best performance of the season, but he still managed to play the full 90 minutes.
As a result, Spurs are now seventh in the table, a point behind Wolverhampton Wanderers, with only two games remaining.
With everything he has been through in the past week, the fact he even played against the Magpies shows real courage and determination.
Tottenham fans, has Serge Aurier gone up in your estimation for playing this week? Let us know down below!
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