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Played
August 18, 2012 12:30 PM EDT
St. James' Park — Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Referee:‬ M. Atkinson‎
Attendance:‬ 52385‎
 
55′ Demba Ba
80′ (PG) Hatem Ben Arfa
 
   
 
 

Player Ratings: Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham

Ben Arfa's penalty ensured Alan Pardew's men got off to a winning start, after Jermain Defoe temporarily drew Spurs level following Demba Ba's second-half opener

By Andrew Kennedy

  • Tim Krul
    26
    5
    3.00

    Tim Krul

    Was twice saved by the woodwork in the first half, but could not prevent Defoe from firing home from point-blank range. Otherwise solid performance, but can be loose in his distribution.

  • Davide Santon
    20
    29
    1.00

    Davide Santon Flop of the Match

    Struggled with the combination of Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker down his flank, with the pacey duo skipping past the Italian with ease. Was at fault for Defoe’s goal, with his failed clearance hitting off Krul before the striker fired home.

  • James Perch
    6
    11
    2.50

    James Perch

    Defoe had the beating of him throughout the second half, with the striker often finding space in behind the makeshift center back.

  • Steven Taylor
    21
    9
    2.00

    Steven Taylor

    Looked solid on his return to first-team action following his Achilles injury that had seen him ruled out since December of last year. Troubled by Bale at times, but by no means left wanting.

  • Danny Simpson
    15
    9
    2.00

    Danny Simpson

    Couldn’t cope with Gareth Bale and conceded the first yellow card of the game after just 15 minutes for needlessly chopping down the Welshman. Looked good going forward, but the same could not be said of his core defensive duties.

  • Jonas Gutierrez
    24
    4
    2.50

    Jonas Gutierrez

    May have lost some of his pace but the Argentine still showcased the gangly control which makes him so difficult to play against. Constantly drew fouls down the right wing and worked back well to help the struggling Santon.

  • Cheikh Tiote
    22
    8
    2.50

    Cheikh Tiote

    Gave a typically combative performance, yet will rue the early crunching tackle he put in on Walker, which seemed to aggravate the calf injury that had threatened to rule him of the game in the first place.

  • Yohan Cabaye
    19
    6
    2.50

    Yohan Cabaye

    Nowhere near match fit, and it showed. The Frenchman was by no means poor but certainly wasn't at his best as he failed to make an impact on the game from the center of midfield. Replaced after 70 minutes by Vurnon Anita.

  • Hatem Ben Arfa
    69
    4
    4.00

    Hatem Ben Arfa Top of the Match

    After a quiet start to the afternoon, the Frenchman soon got a foothold in the game when he drifted into the middle from the right-hand side, proving problematic for both Sandro and Livermore. Drew the foul for the penalty before coolly stroking home to seal all three points.

  • Demba Ba
    32
    2
    3.00

    Demba Ba

    Was far from productive during the first half but, unlike his attacking counterpart, was at least involved in the game. His work-rate paid off with a wonderful finish to open his account for the season and hand Newcastle an opening-day win.

  • Papiss Cissé
    15
    8
    2.00

    Papiss Cissé

    A very quiet performance from last season’s star signing, with his teammates taking on the goalscoring mantle.

Substitutions

  • Vurnon Anita
    25
    1
    2.50

    Vurnon Anita

    Handed his Newcastle debut with 20 minutes left on the clock and helped his side home to a opening-day victory.

  • Brad Friedel
    8
    9
    2.50

    Brad Friedel

    Was largely untroubled throughout the game and couldn’t be held to account for either Ba's or Ben Arfa’s goals, with the Senegal striker given acres of space to pick his spot to seize the lead for Newcastle.

  • Younes Kaboul
    5
    7
    2.50

    Younes Kaboul

    Never really tested by either Ba or Cisse during the game, with Newcastle’s one real chance resulting in their opening goal.

  • William Gallas
    6
    7
    2.50

    William Gallas

    Named as captain for the afternoon, the Frenchman was untroubled by a toothless Newcastle attack in the opening hour, yet failed to close down Ba in time as the striker swept the ball beyond Friedel to give Newcastle a 1-0 lead.

  • Kyle Walker
    12
    7
    3.00

    Kyle Walker

    Threatened just as much as Lennon down the right flank and so often had the beating of Santon in one-on-one situations. Defensively sound overall, but will be disappointed with his headed clearance that led to Ba’s opener.

  • Benoit Assou-Ekotto
    8
    6
    2.50

    Benoit Assou-Ekotto

    Was rarely troubled by Ben Arfa – primarily due to the wideman’s insistence on cutting into the middle of the park.

  • Aaron Lennon
    14
    4
    3.00

    Aaron Lennon

    The wideman was always available on the break and linked up well with Walker to cause Santon all sorts of problems. Found a good cross to tee up Bale late on in the first half, and his ball again led to Defoe’s equalizer, however, did give away the penalty which led to Ben Arfa's winner.

  • Jake Livermore
    2
    11
    2.00

    Jake Livermore

    A fairly anonymous performance in the middle of the park, with the young midfielder rarely impacting the game.

  • Sandro
    5
    9
    2.50

    Sandro

    Solid in the middle alongside Livermore, but did struggle with the pacey Ben Arfa, who looked dangerous through the middle.

  • Gylfi Sigurdsson
    16
    7
    2.50

    Gylfi Sigurdsson

    After a lively start, the Iceland international failed to really get going in his central midfield role and quietened in the second-half. Was replaced with 20 minutes remaining by Van der Vaart.

  • Gareth Bale
    20
    5
    3.00

    Gareth Bale

    The Welshman looked dangerous as ever on the left and Danny Simpson was reduced to late fouls to try and prevent the 23-year-old getting the better of him. An ever-increasing presence in the air these days, Bale was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with a header, only to be denied by the bar.

  • Jermain Defoe
    17
    8
    3.50

    Jermain Defoe

    The England striker showed flashes of the brilliance which resulted in his winner for the national side in midweek. Had a great chance to open the scoring just before halftime after cutting in from the left, but couldn’t beat the post with his shot, however he wasn’t too be denied in the second half, as he temporarily drew his side level.

Substitutions

  • Rafael van der Vaart
    11
    9
    2.00

    Rafael van der Vaart

    Replaced Sigurdsson with 20 minutes left to play, and he sandwiched Ben Arfa along with Lennon to give away the winning penalty.

Results
 
Player Ratings
Tournament
Position
Ranking
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
29 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Man City
18 6
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man United
15 2
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Man City
15 0