Ange Postecoglou hands Pape Matar Sarr the keys to drive his 100-mile-per-hour Tottenham car

  • Pape Matar Sarr was outstanding in Tottenham's 4-1 win against Newcastle
  • Spurs ended run of five matches without victory
  • Senegal midfielder ran the show during 73 minutes of action

Sarr was outstanding against Newcastle
Sarr was outstanding against Newcastle / Harriet Lander/Copa/GettyImages
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FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM - For the first time since October, Ange Postecoglou's Tottenham Hotspur have tasted victory.

Spurs defeated Newcastle United 4-1 on Sunday evening, putting an end to a run of five matches without a win. The hosts played with the swagger and confidence of the injury-free side that won over neutrals during the season's first three months.

Despite last taking to the pitch three days ago and succumbing to a humbling 2-1 loss at home to West Ham United, Tottenham looked far fresher in mind and body against the Magpies.

Richarlison, finally back in full flight after groin surgery, looked as quick as he ever has in a Spurs shirt. 31-year-old Son Heung-min returned to the left wing and played with the pace and trickery of his younger years. Pedro Porro, Yves Bissouma, Dejan Kulusevski, Destiny Udogie and Brennan Johnson were all also in peak condition.

And then there was Pape Matar Sarr.


Bruno Guimaraes, Pape Matar Sarr
Sarr bossed the midfield / Julian Finney/GettyImages

The 21-year-old was one of Tottenham's key performers in the late summer and early autumn, though cooled off a little prior to their recent run of dread and missed nearly three of those five matches with a knock.

His return to the starting lineup on Sunday coincided with an energetic Spurs performance, though this was in fact no coincidence. Sarr has almost literally grown into an all-seeing and all-covering approach - he's listed as 6ft1, but in motion gives the illusion of standing at closer to 6ft5.

It's a quality few midfielders have. Not many players in general are able to quicken the pace of the game on their own simply by virtue of running instead of passing. It's an antithesis of that famous scene from Goal where Santiago Munez is taught the ball can travel faster than him.

In Sarr's absence, Tottenham bundled their way through several other midfield selections. Individually, some of their performances were fine when held up in isolation - Giovani Lo Celso scored away at Manchester City, most notably. They couldn't provide the glue to hold everything together like Sarr did against Newcastle.

Bissouma's first above-average match since his daft sending off at Luton Town prior to the international break came with Sarr helping him with the legwork. With Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton essentially chasing you with a lead pipe, that's no easy feat.

Part of Postecoglou's remit upon arriving at Tottenham was to bring through the team's younger stars. Sarr showed glimpses of real potential in brief cameos under Antonio Conte last season but was bafflingly afforded little time to impress further. He's now getting those chances and taking them in a fast-paced system which suits his profile to a tee.

Football is easier when you have a one-man engine in midfield. Tottenham previously had the joy of Mousa Dembele providing that motor, and Tanguy Ndombele proved to be the failed and maligned successor. He's not the exact same kind of player as those two, but perhaps Sarr was the one in waiting all along.


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