Both teams will need to improve if they want to come in 4th or 5th in the league again as they last year. A dressed-down AVB's Spurs looked like a team who had just lost one of the top 5 players in the league and are still struggling to find their feet. Gylfi Sigurdson was certainly not the answer to their prayers they might have hoped him to be on this day.
While Alan Pardew was cementing his reputation as classiest manager on the British Isles, his team were lucky to come away with three points in what was a somewhat static performance. They should be sending a Christmas card to Rafa Van der Vaart who didn't do his defensive reputation any favors by gifting the magpies what would be the winning penalty.
Krul - 6.5 - Excellent shot stopper, begs questions as to his foot-skills.
Simpson - 6- Did well after an early yellow card, Bale did him a favor by drifting inside.
Taylor - 7.5 -Rock solid at the back, him and Coloccini have to be in the conversation for the leagues top pair if they can stay on the field.
Perch - 6 - Looked rather comfortable at CB where he'd looked like he didn't even belong on the pitch in years past. Safe to say he's shed the title as worst player in the Prem.
Santon - 5.5 - Was done in by the tricks of Lennon, but who wouldn't be?
Tiote - 7 - Imagine him when he's fit.
Cabaye - 4 - Failed to get involved in the game and his delivery wasn't great.
Guitierrez - 7.5 - Endears himself to his fans by applying his defensive insticts, and is a handful going forward down the left wing as well. His brief cameo at center mid in the second half highlights his versatility, great player to have at your disposal.
Ben Afra - 8.5 - Rumored not fit to play beforehand, he was in fact the difference in this match. It remains to be seen whether his African strikers can get on his wavelength.
Cisse - 4.5 - Dissapointing.
Ba - 6.5 - Save from an incredible finish, Ba too offered little impact to the game, though he was at least more willing to try and find space.
Anita - N/A - First game jitters for sure.
Friedel - 6 - Like a bottle of wine, old Brad.
Walker - 7 - Never realized he had such a long throw on him as well, as if he doesn't have enough tools already.
Kaboul - 6.5 - Much improved last season, and showed a newfound poise on the ball we haven't seen in years past.
Gallas - 5.5 - Shaky at times, but just about got the job done to use one of my least favorite cliches.
Assou-Ekoto - 7.5 - Played some delightful diagonal balls, and offered the width when Bale drifted inside.
Sandro & Livermore - 5 - One of them needed to be a bit braver.
Sigurdson - 5 - What do you know about pressure?! He knows something of it now.
Lennon - 8 - I maintain that Aaron Lennon should be starting for England no questions asked.
Bale - 7.5 - Needs to resist the temptation to drift inside.
Defoe - 5 - I wouldn't trust Jermain Defoe as a lone striker no sooner than I'd trust him to hand in his homework.
Man of the Match - Ben Arfa
Flop of the Match - Cabaye