Premier League - Adebayor lays on feast for Spurs
Tottenham Hotspur stayed in touch with the clubs at the top of the Premier League with a masterful 5-0 win over Newcastle United at White Hart Lane.
Spurs manager Harry Redknapp was making his first appearance in the dugout since he was cleared of all charges in his tax evasion trial, and he was treated his team's best 45 minutes of the season.
The most extraordinary thing about that first-half evisceration of the Magpies was that all four goals of goals were set up by Adebayor before he netted one of his own after the break.
Perhaps more importantly, Tottenham are now 10 points clear of their local rivals Arsenal, who moved up to fourth in the table earlier on Saturday, above Chelsea on goals scored.
Newcastle would have leapt above both Arsenal and Chelsea had they claimed victory at White Hart Lane, but the defeat leaves them in sixth place one point behind that London duo.
Spurs got the ball rolling after just four minutes when Adebayor surged into the box and played a one-two with Gareth Bale. The Togo striker was forced towards the byline but managed to fire a low ball across the six-yard box and the unmarked Assou-Ekotto was free to sidefoot home from a tight angle. It was the Cameroon full-back's second league goal of the season, and only his third in six years at the club.
Just moments later Spurs were two up. Adebayor curled a lovely cross around Fabricio Coloccini and Saha met it with a strike n the half-volley for his second league goal of the season and his first since late October.
Having taken just six minutes to score on his full debut in front of his new home crowd, Saha had a second by the 20-minute mark. Assou-Ekotto slipped the ball down the left channel for Luka Modric, who turned and squared it to Adebayor inside the box. Adebayor laid it off for Saha drill home a clinical strike for his second and Tottenham's third.
Saha tried to return the favour to Adebayor when he played a great pass from the left to his new strike partner on the edge of the box. Adebayor's prodded effort was saved by Krul, but the rebound came back to him and he guided it back to Kranjcar who fired home for his first goal in a year.
The last time Newcastle were 4-0 down at half-time they came back to draw 4-4 with Arsenal at St James' Park, but there never looked any hope of that happening away from the familiarity of Tyneside.
The tempo after the break was understandably much lower than in the first half as Spurs were content to sit back on their four-goal cushion and a broken-spirited Newcastle lacked the drive and attacking impetus to threaten their hosts, despite starting with both Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse up front.
Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel was called into action to make an excellent save from a Ba header, made all the more impressive because he had so little to do in the preceding 76 minutes, but by then Spurs were already 5-0 up.
Assou-Ekotto's 65th-minute cross was nodded down by Saha and Adebayor struck a crisp volley on the turn past Krul.
Spurs went on to comfortably close out the win, though not before introducing Ryan Nelsen for his debut in the closing stages. The New Zealand defender played his small part in the win, which was Tottenham's 16th from 25 league games this season.
The only time they have had a better record in the top flight at this stage was back in 1961, the year they won the double.