Newcastle United came away with a crucial point yesterday vs. Spurs. The Magpies finished with 22 shots after having only three against Brighton before the international break. A big part of the club’s offensive success was a tandem of seldom-used starters.
Steve Bruce decided to go with a five-man backline vs. Tottenham and the wing-backs in that formation were Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie. This was only Ritchie’s second appearance since 1/12 and Murphy’s second start of 2021.
Both players are natural wingers, which helped Bruce add some attacking presence to the flanks. They were able to push the action forward and fire crosses into the box.
Ritchie helped win the ball back on the opening goal from Joelinton and his cross started the sequence that led to Joe Willock’s equalizer.
Newcastle’s tandem at wing-back vs. Spurs was a game-changer in the draw.
His passion and work rate are never in question and they seemed to help fuel the Magpies yesterday.
After some positive performances off the bench recently, Newcastle fans have been clamoring for Murphy to get a chance in the starting XI. He rewarded Bruce with an energy-filled shift, moving up and down that right side against Sergio Reguilon.
Down the stretch, ideally, Bruce won’t elect to use a five-man backline consistently. But with Emil Krafth struggling mightily and Jamal Lewis unable to establish himself as a must-start left-back, Murphy and Ritchie showcased that they can be difference-makers if called upon.
On the Premier League season, Murphy has one goal and two assists while Ritchie is still looking for his first in both categories in league play. Going forward, they should both get opportunities to help guide the club out of the relegation battle.