Wijnaldum leads Newcastle humiliation of Spurs
Tottenham Hotspur surrendered a second-place Premier League finish as they suffered a humiliating 5-1 final day defeat at relegated Newcastle United on Sunday.
Georginio Wijnaldum led the way with two goals either side of one by Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was later sent off, before late efforts from substitute Rolando Aarons and defender Daryl Janmaat saw Spurs comprehensively beaten as they failed to earn the point they needed to seal their best top-flight campaign since 1963.
Arsenal’s victory at home to Aston Villa saw them climb above their north London neighbours, who dropped to third after going winless in their last four games of an otherwise hugely impressive campaign.
Erik Lamela scored their consolation and although Harry Kane failed to find the net, the Tottenham forward had the consolation of claiming the Golden Boot award as the Premier League’s top scorer with 25 goals this season.
Home fans fans conducted a 90-minute serenade of Rafael Benitez, the manager they hope will lead the attempt to bounce straight back into the top flight next season.
The Spaniard, who has a relegation break clause in the three-year contract he signed when he replaced Steve McClaren in March, is set for talks over his future with the club’s owner Mike Ashley this week.
Newcastle are hopeful they can persuade the former Real Madrid and Liverpool manager to stay, but the 56-year-old is seeking assurances as to the amount of investment in players and his level of control before he commits himself.
Tottenham ended the campaign in shambolic style, missing the midfield drive of suspended duo Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele as they extended their 21-year sequence of finishing below Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.
Wijnaldum opened the scoring in the 19th minute, finding the corner of the net from 12 yards after Mitrovic teed up a Moussa Sissoko cross for the Dutch midfielder.
– Ashley in attendance –
Newcastle, whose second relegation in seven years was sealed by victory in mid-week for their neighbours Sunderland, were bright and enterprising from the start as Sports Direct billionaire Ashley took in his first home game this year from the directors’ box.
It was a performance that left supporters wondering what might have been, with St James’ Park hosting its last top-tier football for at least 15 months.
Mitrovic doubled the hosts’ advantage on the stroke of half-time, sending in a diving header from Sissoko’s centre that Hugo Lloris partially blocked, but was unable to prevent from finding the net.
Not even a goading fly-past paid for by Sunderland supporters — a plane trailing a banner that proclaimed “Auf Wiedersehen Prem. Tyne to go’ — dampened the atmosphere, as supporters made their feelings clear at the level of affection for Benitez.
Lamela halved the deficit from a narrow angle on the hour after good approach play by Kane, Christian Eriksen and Eric Dier, and Newcastle looked susceptible to an equaliser after Mitrovic earned a straight red card for an over-the-top challenge on Kyle Walker.
But Wijnaldum restored the two-goal advantage 17 minutes from time, sending Lloris the wrong way from the spot after Sissoko was deemed to have been fouled by Jan Vertonghen.
Aarons made it four with five minutes left, finding the top corner from close range after Andros Townsend’s effort came off the frame of the goal.
Janmaat exploited further gaps in the Spurs defence to fire the fifth into the bottom corner.