Christian Atsu plays full throttle as Newcastle United start season with home loss
Christian Atsu was in action for Newcastle United as they lost 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspurs at the St. James Park on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Dele Alli and Ben Davies gifted the win for Maurico Pochettino’s men as they kick-off their quest to be crowned as Premier League champions in the best way possible.
Skipper Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for standing on Dele Alli as Newcastle's return to the Premier League was ruined by Tottenham.
Second-half goals from Alli and Ben Davies ultimately did for the promoted Magpies with the visitors coasting to a 2-0 victory, but it was Shelvey's 49th-minute dismissal which opened the door after his side had scrapped their way to the break without major incident.
The 25-year-old, who was banned for five games last season after being accused of making racist comments towards Wolves midfielder Romain Saiss, saw red to the astonishment of his team-mates and the locals among a crowd of 52,077, although television replays suggested he had stood on Alli's ankle as the Tottenham man lay on the floor.
His impending suspension and injuries to defenders Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune made it a bad afternoon for manager Rafael Benitez and watching owner Mike Ashley.
In contrast, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino left Tyneside having seen a satisfactory performance from his men, who were eventually rewarded for their patience.
Benitez had admitted in the run-up to the game that his players would have to battle for their lives throughout the entire campaign, and they did just that before Shelvey's premature exit.
With the hosts sitting deep and attempting to maintain their shape, Spurs dominated possession as Christian Eriksen, seemingly in perpetual motion, orchestrated proceedings with the help of Mousa Dembele, Alli and pantomime villain Moussa Sissoko, who was booed at every touch on his return to St James' Park.