EXTENSIVE disruption to the East Coast Mainline meant a number of Newcastle United fans were unable to get to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this afternoon. They were the lucky ones. Those that made it to the game in north London were forced to endure the sight of their side being completely overrun as they crashed to a second three-goal defeat in the space of four days.

This was more emphatic than events at Everton, where Newcastle were only really outplayed in the final 15 minutes. Today, Spurs dominated throughout and could easily have added to the four goals they claimed through Richarlison, who bagged a brace, Destiny Udogie and Son Heung-min.

A lack of available players has clearly been a massive factor in the slump that has now seen the Magpies lose four of their last five matches, but while the absentees are gradually beginning to return, Eddie Howe surely needs a rethink ahead of Wednesday’s crucial Champions League decider with AC Milan. Sticking with more of the same is simply not working.

A suddenly error-prone Kieran Trippier looks mentally and physically exhausted, Lewis Miley’s honeymoon spell in the senior side is well and truly over and both Miguel Almiron and Anthony Gordon look increasingly spent forces on the flanks. Howe doesn’t have many options available to him, but perhaps he will have to start prioritising certain matches over others if he is to avoid a total burnout.

While Ange Postecoglou tweaked things this afternoon, restoring Richarlison to the central-striker role, Howe stubbornly stuck with the same ten outfield players for the fifth time in 15 days.

Admittedly, his side might have claimed the lead had Ben Davies not got the slightest of touches to Gordon’s early cross from the left, with his deflection taking the ball onto Alexander Isak’s shin and just wide of the post.

However, the longer the game wore on, the more Spurs’ midfielders were able to wrest control of things and force Newcastle’s back four deeper into their own half.

Cristian Romero came close to opening the scoring with a header from a corner that was hooked clear by Miguel Almiron from just in front of his own goalline, but Spurs’ growing pressure eventually told midway through the first half.

Son’s pace was too much for Trippier down the left, with the South Korean darting past the full-back before sliding a low ball into the middle. Udogie burst between Bruno Guimaraes and Fabian Schar, and had the simple task of turning home.

Newcastle should have pulled a goal back eight minutes after falling behind, but not for the first time in his Magpies career, Almiron failed to make the most of a decent opening. The Paraguayan was provided with an excellent shooting opportunity, but his tame side-footed effort was much too close to Guglielmo Vicario, who was able to make a simple save.

It proved a costly miss, as Spurs were able to double their lead just four minutes later. Having been at fault for all three of Everton’s goals on Thursday, Trippier was found wanting again as he failed to cut out a cross-field ball and was then beaten far too easily by Son as he surged towards the byline. The South Korean pulled the ball back to the edge of the six-yard box, and Richarlison stabbed home only his second league goal of the season.

Richarlison enjoyed himself against a tired Newcastle defence, and within 15 minutes of the second half, he was celebrating trebling his league haul for the campaign. Pedro Porro floated a long ball over Jamaal Lascelles, and after controlling neatly, Richarlison slotted a composed finish past Martin Dubravka.

For most of the second half, it was a question of how many Spurs would score, with the introduction of Callum Wilson and Sean Longstaff doing nothing to stem the tide.

Brennan Johnson smacked a shot against the inside of the post before Son added a fourth from the penalty spot after he had been sent sprawling by Dubravka.

Newcastle’s consolation came in stoppage time, with Joelinton sweeping home after Wilson squared into his path.