NEWCASTLE (2) vs TOTTENHAM (2)
TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp admitted he is powerless to prevent Ledley King from sustaining the type of muscular injury which saw his skipper fail to complete yesterday’s draw at St James’ Park.
The visitors twice took the lead but ultimately had to settle for a point when substitute Shola Ameobi struck from an improbable angle four minutes from time to protect Newcastle’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season.
A penalty from Rafael van der Vaart and a flashing drive from Jermain Defoe sandwiched Demba Ba’s equaliser, but the goalscoring action followed a first-half groin injury to King which came as a blow to Redknapp, who is still without the services of Michael Dawson and William Gallas.
“He plays on Saturday and he comes out the following Friday and has a little jog around and then plays on a Saturday, so really his body is nowhere near fit,” said Redknapp. “It can’t be, so he is always open to pulling muscles, getting strains, and that’s what has happened today.”
Van der Vaart had stroked Spurs into the lead when he converted from 12 yards after Steven Taylor’s clumsy foul on Adebayor, only for Ba to equalise shortly after the break from close range after good approach play from Jonas Gutierez.
Redknapp reacted by sending on Defoe in place of the Dutchman and the England striker needed just four minutes to make an impact, turning and firing low past Tim Krul from the edge of the penalty area.
But Newcastle under Alan Pardew are a tough nut to crack and Ameobi rescued a deserved point with an equally impressive finish past Brad Friedel to maintain his side’s top four position.
“I am hoping the owner is starting to get a little bit more respect,” said Pardew. “I don’t think we are ever going to win everybody over for Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias and maybe even myself.
“But at least you can logically look at it and say we are in a much better position than most Premier League clubs in terms of our financial position.”