Champions League football was secured at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night as our 1-0 win over Newcastle United, coupled with Chelsea only drawing at home to Huddersfield Town, guaranteed a top four finish.
Harry Kane scored the only goal of the game early in the second half, his 28th in the Premier League and 39th in all competitions this term, but we weren’t at our best and had to dig deep right to the very end to take maximum points.
There wasn’t a great deal of real quality in terms of football during the first period but ironically there were a number of good chances for both teams.
We exchanged free-kicks in the opening quarter-of-an-hour, Christian Eriksen bringing a smart save out of Martin Dubvraka before Jonjo Shelvey struck the outside of the post at the other end. Jamaal Lascelles brought a fine stop out of Hugo Lloris on 27 minutes, connecting well with a header which was going in until our skipper dived to palm it away, while Kane volleyed Eriksen’s cross wide before failing to connect with a half-volley on 40 minutes when he only had Dubravka to beat.
The opening goal came just five minutes into the second half, Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son all combining to set up Kane, whose right-footed curling effort from 18 yards out beat Dubravka and sent Wembley wild!
It wasn’t game over by any means though and Lloris and Moussa Sissoko were in the right place to prevent Dwight Gayle and Paul Dummett from getting shots away in the same attack. Magpies substitute Jacob Murphy then had a great chance but fired high over the bar from the angle.
News of Chelsea’s draw started to filter through and was greeted by an enormous cheer inside the stadium, but there was still work to be done in our game. It was nervy to the extreme at times, although substitute Danny Rose had a great chance to settle the outcome just before the 90-minute mark but Dubravka denied him.
It mattered not, job done and we’re back in the Champions League.