|DATE||Sunday 7th April 2013|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Everton's visit to White Hart Lane has become a bit of a blind spot
for me of late. All the rumours linking David Moyes with the
Spurs manager's job in recent years had only made me irate, as his
teams have come to the Lane without bothering to remember to play
and our good record against them has now changed, as his ever more
pragmatic approach has seen his side grind out results with the most
mind numbing football. Success at Everton cannot be measured
against other club's aims and while I do not doubt that Mr. Moyes is
indeed a fine manager of a football team, he is not one I would want
to see at Tottenham.
So, I have no great expectations, as Charles Dickens might have said, about this Sunday's meeting with the Toffees. Even without Bale, Lennon and Sandro, the tactics of the Blues will not change drastically ... and they are not too far removed form those of Joe Royle's "Dogs of War" team ... shut your opponents down quickly, don't give them time or space, get in their face and don't be too worried about kicking them as you do it. Oh, and throw in some time-wasting as you go.
The oohs and aahs of the media about the way Everton play do not match what I usually see. Baines is a very good full back, but would he be that outstanding in any other side ? Maybe, but beyond him, where are the major players for Everton. Well, if the papers are to be believed, three of them might not be featuring. Felliaini and Pienaar are both suspended and Mirallis is carrying an injury, although he might have a late fitness test. I am not sure who that leaves as their main men.
Goal-scoring has been a problem in my view, but that may not be the view of Moyes and the Blues fans, as their one goal victory margins have been enough to put them in sixth place in the table at this advanced stage of the season. Injuries will restrict them to Nikita Jelavic, who has been a fine bargain buy since coming down from Scotland last January and Victor Anichebe, who has had a long run of injuries, but is scoring a few goals this season, making his presence a bit more worrying than in the past. Greek youngster Apostolos Vellios is also an option, although he normally features from the bench. Jelavic will be the main threat, as he has the knack of scoring from a number of positions and angles, so he needs to be closely watched.
The midfield section of the team contains a few familiar names such as Leon Osman, Darron Gibson and Thomas Hitzlsperger, as well as Bryan Oviedo - a Costa Rican player, who has played a number of games this season, but has not hit the headlines too much. Let's hope it stays that way. Osman is a mobile midfielder, who pops up behind the forwards to add to the attacking options, while Gibson play a bit deeper, using his passing to open up the opposition. Former Villa and West Ham man Hitzlsperger has a powerful shot, but has had little chance to show it off, with injury hitting him and he is a peripheral figure at Goodison. Seamus Coleman might be pushed into an advanced position, as he gets forward from right back, so could play in a midfield four or five, using the width of the pitch to stretch Spurs ... especially without our regular wingers being fit.
Unsurprisingly, the defence boasts most well-known Everton faces, such as the afore-mentioned Phil Neville, Leighton Baines, Sylvain Distin, Johnny Heitinga and Phil Jagielka. Baines is noted for his attacking abilities and crossing and free-kick execution, while Distin and Jagielka are dangers if they go up for free-kicks. With only Emmanuel Adebayor available to play up front, possibly with Clint Dempsey, an aerial assault might not be the best approach, with Everton likely to be dominant in the air at the back. Neville and Heitinga are getting to the veteran stage and try to use their reading of the game rather than rely on their legs, which have seen better days.
Spurs will need to display a degree more concentration as the game goes on than they did at Goodison Park in December, when two very late goals won it for Everton. There will be precious little space to play in and Tottenham's best chance might come from Demebele opening up the visitors defence with runs from deep. Without Pienaar snapping at his ankles and Fellaini grabbing his shirt, he might be able to plough through to the area. However, he will need support from the three in the advanced midfield positions and if Lewis Holtby plays, he will have to contain his desire to do well against the team he supported as a boy to ensure that we get what we need out of the game.
With Everton's tight defence and our lack of forwards available, it looks like it will be a low scoring match.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Everton 0|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs injury list grew on Thursday, with Aaron Lennon (knee), William Gallas (calf) and Gareth Bale (ankle) all joining Jemrain Defoe (groin), Sandro and Younes Kaboul (knee) as players who will be unavailable for the Everton match.
EVERTON TEAM NEWS :
With Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar suspended, Everton will be hoping that Kevin Mirallis will pass a late fitness test on a groin injury picked up last week. Tony HIbbert will definitely be missing with a calf problem.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Everton 2 (1)
Sunday 7th April 2013 Kick off 14:05
White Hart Lane
Dempsey (simulation) 84
Mirallis (foul on Parker) 82
|Crowd : 36,192||Weather : Sunny, warm, dry|
|Referee : Andre Marriner (West Midlands)||Assistant Referees : Mr. D. Bryan; Ms. S. Massey|
|Fourth Official : Jon Moss||-|
|Everton kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Everton :||kit|
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
20 Ross BARKLEY
Steven NAISMITH 86)
|Manager : Andre Villas-Boas||Manager : David Moyes|
|Sponsor : Aurasma||Shirt sponsor : Chang|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Nike|
Let's get this straight first. The final score was 2-2. Spurs got a late point after taking an even earlier lead, but were losing 2-1 until the last three minutes. But some things don't change, with Everton being a most despicable side and they were aided an abetted by a failure of a performance by the inept officials appointed to this match. Without exaggeration, this was one of the worst displays by a referee and linesmen I have witnessed in 44 years of watching football. And it spoiled what would have been a very good game otherwise.
With Spurs missing Bale, Lennon, Gallas, Kaboul, Defoe and Sandro, it looked like a tough assignment before kick off and with the visitors being without Fellaini and Pienaar, there were also problems for the Toffees. Spurs drafted in Lewis Holtby, playing against his boyhood team and Clint Dempsey, with Vertonghen moving to left back and Steven Caulker coming in at centre half. Walker returned after his mid-week suspension and Lloris was re-instated in goal. Everton meanwhile lined up with a back five and only Anichebe playing alone up front. Moyes' style is anathema to that of Tottenham Hotspur and I commend Daniel Levy for not bowing to media pressure to appoint the Scot as our manager.
The tactics employed by Moyes barely had a chance to take a breath before things had gone against them. Breaking down the left wing, Jan Vertonghen put in a dipping cross that foxed Blues defenders Jagielka and Distin and left Emmanuel Adebayor to stick out his long leg to divert the ball at goal that went through Tim Howard and left the crowd in stunned silence for a moment, as nobody was sure if the ball had gone in and how it had done so at such an early stage of the game. 33 seconds exactly. It left the crowd not knowing what to do with a goal so soon after kick off, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
Tottenham were pressing the Everton player son the ball and they were turning it over at regular intervals, but the match was mostly being played out in midfield, with Leon Osman whingeing about any challenge on him or committed by him. And it was the midfielder who should have got Everton back on levels terms, when he was presented the ball by a mad error from Michael Dawson in the 11th minute, who passed the ball square straight to him. Maybe it was the surprise of Dawson making a mistake or being given a free shot at goal, but all he could do was to bend a shot wide of the goal, with Lloris expecting trouble in saving anything that might have been on target, so exposed he had been left by the skipper's error.
It was only a couple of minutes before the Toffees got an equaliser though, with it coming from a set-piece. Baines swung in a corner from the Everton right, playing it beyond the far post, where Phil Jagielka rose (Maybe assisted by hand son Vertonghen's shoulders ... not something that was uncommon to the Tottenham players throughout the match) and his header down went through Lloris and in to make it 1-1. As soon as this happened, Everton reverted to getting everyone back behind the ball. Tottenham's lack of width meant that there were often instances when Lennon or Bale would have been put in for a run on the full backs, but more often than not, Spurs had to turn infield and work their way across the pitch until they could create some space. But that was at a premium, with Everton shutting down space and Spurs not moving at their best to pull markers out of position. Not that it mattered too much, as if they got away from a blue shirt, they soon found themselves pulled back ... or in the case of Anichebe, he was holding hands with Dembele at one stage. Barkley, who has been touted as an England player of the future must have been reminding the commentator of a rugby international, as some of his "challenges" barely deserve the description. He grappled Scott Parker off the ball on one occasion ... and I thought that Wrestlemania 29 didn't start until midnight !
As it was, Spurs could not penetrate the packed Everton defence and were reduced to shooting from long range, but without troubling Howard, as Demebele, Dempsey and Holtby failed to get their shots on target. When we did engineer some space, Parker released Walker on the right and he cut inside to find an opportunity to threaten the Everton goal, but he chose to shoot and the effort went wide of Howard's near post, when a ball back across the box might have been a better option. Kyle was stretching as he got his shot away, so maybe he felt he wouldn't have been able to get the ball across. Sigurdsson also fired in an effort from outside the box, but it went straight to Howard, while Everton's greatest threat came when Kevin Mirallis lined up a shot and Michael Dawson flew into the tackle and won it cleanly, otherwise it could have been a penalty.
So the teams went in at half-time level and with no half-time entertainment or highlights on the big screen, we had to make do with the subs warming up and avoiding the sprinklers. News that Chelsea were losing against Sunderland went down well, but not that mattered if we didn't get something out of this match.
The second half started brightly for Spurs and they were looking sharp. But there was only a quick free-kick by Parker to Adebayor in the box that saw him surrounded by blue and a wayward shot from outside the D by Dempsey that went over to show for it. With Moyes bringing on Nikita Jelavic for the ineffective (footballing wise that is) Barkley, the switch paid dividends immediately. A Spurs move broke down near the Everton box and the ball was played up their right wing. Parker left it of Vertonghen and Mirallis nipped in between them to pinch the ball about 35 yards out. He moved forward and with Caulker and Parker turned this way and that, Mirallis hit a low shot from the right corner of the box that went through Caulker's legs and went across Hugo beating his dive and going in off the far post.
It was a bitter blow for Spurs, coming somewhat against the run of play, but they responded almost immediately. Mousa Dembele had been doing his best to dribble through the shirt-pulling and fouling of the Everton players and when he moved the ball to his left 20 yards out, his low shot hit Heitinga and went into the ground, skipping up for Howard to get a palm onto it and push it up onto the crossbar. When the ball bounced down, Adebayor was just beaten to the ball which was cleared away. Spurs pressed forward in search of the equaliser and Dempsey tried his luck from range twice - one straight at Howard and the other thumping into the advertising screen just wide of the goal. Kyle Walker found space to move into and he hit a trademark pile-driver that Howard could only ham-fist away - not knowing really where it was going. The siege of the Everton goal was on and with the best part of half an hour left, Adebayor was put through and could only hit the keeper with his shot and Dempsey curled one wide.
The referee and assistants were having a mare. While a couple of the many shouts for handball must have had some substance, if not the shirt-pulling and manhandling of Spurs players whenever they got near (or, as it didn't concern the visiting player, even in) the penalty area. A two footed off the floor challenge by Gibson went unremarked, Mirallis had to have two goes at Parker in the same run before the ref showed him a yellow card. Marriner was unable to determine simple decisions like goal-kicks and throw-ins, so the big decisions were never going to be made. But his lack of consistency over the 97 minutes was nothing more than appalling. Seamus Coleman threw himself to the floor outside the box at the Spurs end and there was not even a free-kick given. When Dempsey went down outside the Everton box, perhaps a stumble and perhaps an attempt to win a free-kick ? But the award went the other way and the American got booked. Mirallis' booking was nothing worse than Heitinga's manhandling of Sigurdsson or his consistent blocking of players runs by just standing in their way ... like John Terry does. Anichebe fails to jump for the ball most of the time and Jelavic tried to pull Parker's shorts off him at one point. Yes, David Moyes surely knows good football when he sees it. But the officials are just as culpable for letting this go on. Sian Massey failed to see Baines cuddling the ball right in front of her and the other assistant failed to spot the most blatant of fouls. Do refs really just tell them to signal for throw-ins and corners ? As most refs also direct them as to which way they should go.
In the 75th minute, AVB made a substitution that was greeted by boos. Demebele went off to be replaced by Tom Huddlestone. Many fans considered Clint Dempsey as the one who should have made way, as his contribution was not having a great effect on the proceedings, but then Holtby was busy without being very effective and Steven Caulker found the physical opponents difficult to deal with when getting no protection form the referee. However, the nature of the game changed, with Hud spraying passes around and stretching the Everton defence. They did not know which way the ball would end up and Walker was brought into the game more, even though he seemed to be holding his groin a bit and not making the normal pacy sprints up the line. In fact, one East Stand in about the second row wearing a quilted jacket had a right go at Kyle while he was waiting to take a throw. Unnecessary and not helpful when your players are chasing the game. As it was, he began giving Baines a torrid time.
Our crossing had not been great, with corners often going straight to Howard and our shooting had lacked conviction on occasion, but Huddlestone drove an effort at goal that hit Heitinga's arse and went off for a throw-in ... given to Everton !! Basic decisions wrong = crap refereeing.
With all the play at the Everton end, it was almost curtains when Anichebe broke away and hit a shot over the bar. Mirallis was withdrawn and Naismith coming on as Moyes attempted another master-stroke substitution. And it worked, as Walker was put away on the right and he outstripped Baines, pulling the ball back low to the edge of the penalty area near the D. Dempsey stepped over the ball for Adebayor to take a touch and curl a shot at goal. It hit the right hand post and came out. That was it we thought. But Gylfi Sigurdsson was alert to it and pounced before Coleman could get there and put the ball back into the net. Three minutes to go and the equaliser had been nothing more than Spurs deserves, as they were more willing to play the game rather than play on the fringes of the laws.
With three minutes left and then four more added on, Spurs looked to find a winner to reverse the situation we had at Goodison, but Tom Carroll came on for Parker and his crisp passing quickened the tempo, but some of his balls into the box were floated in which gave Jagielka and Distin the chance to dominate in the air and Everton had two chances to win it. Anichebe broke free and was going across goal to the left when his shot was blocked by Lloris' dive at his feet and then in added time, Jelavic got away on the right and hit a shot straight into Hugo's midriff, as the angle wasn't helping the Croatian.
This was a good point, but the opportunity to earn a good three points was missed. Chelsea came back to win and they leapfrog us back into third. Bearing in mind the extra men (and one woman) against us today, it was a point gained and the team didn't give up and kept playing their football. This shows that they believe that it is the right way to play. Everton will continue to play they play and I hope that it doesn't reap any success. Everton teams of the past have had success by playing the right way, but to see them in sixth with this brand of football makes the Premier League's claims to be the best in the world somewhat tainted.
Whether this draw will contribute or damage our chances of playing in the Champions League we will find out, but if Moyes leaves Tony Pulis could step in as the new Toffees manager without any difficulty.
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|What you thought|
|Benny The Ball||
Agree with your comments about the officials. When they can't
tell what is a goal kick from a corner and fail to see Jelavic give
Parker a wedgie, then there is little hope.
Think where we missed Bale and Lennon most was when we cleared corners and they would be there to take the ball up the other end of the pitch at break-neck speed. That and it was only when Huddlestone came on that we started hitting the wide positions, although Walker did look hampered by something, as he didn't bomb onto Baines like he normally would until the last ten.
While Dempsey didn't have a great game, at least he had the presence of mind to step over the ball to allow Adebayor to shoot against the post, from which we scored.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Norwich City||2||Swansea City||2||Saturday|
|Stoke City||1||Aston Villa||3||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||1||Arsenal||2||Saturday|
|Queens Park Rangers||1||Wigan Athletic||1||Sunday|
|Liverpool||0||West Ham United||0||Sunday|
|Manchester United||1||Manchester City||2||Monday|
|8||West Bromwich Albion||32||13||5||14||42||43||44||-1|
|12||West Ham United||31||10||7||14||35||44||37||-9|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||32||4||12||16||29||52||24||-23|
Position before match :
Position after match : 4th
Position after the weekend : 4th
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