It was billed as close encounter; the premier league’s fourth placed team playing fifth. Two teams with champions league aspirations and both coming off poor performances in their previous league fixtures.
However, what the 52,252 inside St James’ Park witnessed laid waste to that billing as with five goals in the first 21 minutes, Newcastle simply tore Spurs apart.
The rout started in the first minute when a Hugo Lloris could only parry a goal bound shot from Joelinton into the path of the alert Jacob Murphy who lifted the ball over the despairing Lloris into the roof of the net.
On six minutes it was 2:0 when the ever- dangerous Joelinton latched on to an exquisite pass from Fabien Schar. The Brazilian skipped round the onrushing Lloris and duly rolled the ball into the bottom corner.
The only think of note that Spurs had managed to show was that they were capable of taking a kick off and they were back doing just that for the fourth time of asking on nine minutes after Jacob Murphy was given all the time in the world in midfield to collect a pass from Schar, turn, take a couple of touches and then unleash a perfectly timed shot from 30 yards which rifled into Lloris’s right hand corner without him even so much as noticing.
Eddie Howe had demanded a positive response from his players after last weeks poor showing at Villa Park but even he could not have imagined his team being three goals up inside the first 9 minutes.
Spurs could simply not live with Newcastle’s pace and power. Howe’s team were unstoppable. They were first in every challenge; every tackle; every loose ball.
Newcastle were now totally dominant. Their pressing, movement and quick interplay when winning back possession was proving to be Spurs undoing as they failed to measure up to the task and in Guimaraes, Newcastle had the orchestrator of everything that was good about their play; supported by the ever-reliable Longstaff and the willing running of Joe Willock.
On 19 minutes Dan Burn thwarted a feeble Spurs attack and found Guimaraes who rolled the ball into the path of Willock. However even the Brazilian could not have expected what happened next, as Willock took the pass in his stride and hit a forty-yard pass with the outside of his right foot that split the Spurs defence in two, with the ball falling perfectly into the path of Alexander Isak. The Swedish International took two touches and then stroked the ball past the despairing Lloris.
On 21 minutes it was 5:0 as not for the first time Newcastle’s passing and movement cut through the Sours back line when, from a short free‑kick the ball reached Sean Longstaff. His smart layoff to Isak saw the Swede direct an angled shot into the bottom corner.
Never in recent times had St James’ Park witnessed such an opening 21 minutes and as Spurs supporters nestled high up in level 7 decided they had seen enough and headed for the exits the delirious toon army rejoiced in having witnessed 21 minutes of something truly special.
Spurs Interim Manager Cristian Stellini seemed just as shocked as his team and the only answer he could now come up with to stop a rampant Newcastle United was to resort to switching to a back five but in truth there was no way back for Spurs.
On the pitch Spurs looked rudderless and leaderless and this seemed to be replicated on the touchline, with Stellini despairingly trying to get instructions out to his shellshocked team only to see them thwarted by what looked like a lack of desire to take the messages in.
the only real surprise on offer now to the partying masses of the toon army was seeing their team failing to add to their five unanswered goals as they headed down the tunnel at half time.
Hugo Lloris failed to come out for the second half as he was replaced by former Newcastle keeper Fraser Forster and within four minutes of the restart Spurs pulled a goal back through Harry Kane but there was no real chance of a revival and on 61 minutes substitute Callum Wilson restored the five goal advantage within seconds of replacing Isak.
Reflecting on his side’s performance Eddie Howe was full of praise for his team "It's not often you have a start like that in a game, especially one of such importance," Howe said.
"That's the reaction we wanted. It was an incredible start to the match from us. I thought we were very good. The crowd were incredible for us and we elevated our performance during that opening half an hour.
Meanwhile, in his post-match interview Stellini was left puzzled by the performance, admitting his side were not prepared for what they were faced with.
"It went so badly because we were not prepared enough to play an important match," he told Sky Sports.
"We have a good squad but today no-one showed how good we are. It was my responsibility to decide how we play, and we decided to do it differently because of the injuries. It is my responsibility; I took it, and it was wrong.
"I have to take responsibility because once we changed system we played better, scored and showed fight. It's very difficult to understand why the first 25 minutes were so bad."
However, sadly for Stellini that responsibility was taken out of his hands when within 24 hours, Spurs dispensed with his services and those of the remnants of the already departed Antonio Conte’s backroom team.
Football can be a harsh game!