|DATE||Sunday 9th February 2014|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Sitting a point and a place above Spurs in fifth, Everton come to
the Lane with a new man in charge since their last visit and with a
changed squad as well.
In have come Lacina Traore on loan from AS Monaco, Gareth Barry on loan from Manchester City and Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea. Roberto Martinex has propped up his side with these short term deals, enhancing his options, but some have been reduced by injuries to key players.
Tim Howard is the main keeper at Everton, having played at Manchester United prior to that, he has shown that he is a capable goalie, with a long run in the US team too, but that does not mean that he is not prone to mistakes or rushes of blood to his head. While Spurs failed to trouble Steven Harper last week in the Hull goal, they need to test Howard out as often as they can, as he will leave a goal-sized gap at some stage. Crosses are not his forte, but we lack a physical presence to score from set-pieces in the air, unless Adebayor throws himself in there. Joel Robles is his stand-in, having come from Wigan Athletic, after a FA Cup final winning performance. A keeper who is not as astute as Howard and leaves gaps at his near post, he could be a liability if he has to play.
The back four usually consists of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Sylvain Distin. There is experience in there as well as youth, with Coleman returning to the side after an absence through injury, but his attacking sensibilities match those of Baines on the other flank. Both like to get forward and overlap on the outside, giving them the chance to put the ball in for the forwards or to unleash shots from the edge of the box. Baines is a dead ball specialist, who can put the ball onto a colleagues head (and they are tall enough to cause problems at free-kicks and corners) or to try to beat the keeper with a shot placed as close to the top corner as possible. Jagielka and Distin are tall, strong central defenders, who take no prisoners, but if our forwards show good movement, they could pull them out of position and allow space for others to attack. Neither is that quick on the turn and Adebayor might have the better of them there, while Soldado could easily run off them to find space to receive a pass.
Johnny Heitinga has left for Fulham in the transfer window just closed, but that loss wouldn't have been so bad had their defensive resources been weakened further, as Bryan Oviedo was breaking his leg around the same time in the FA Cup tie at Stevenage. Youngster John Stones and veteran Tony Hibbert can fill in the full back positions, while former Wigan Athletic central defender Anton Alcaraz followed Martinez to Goodison, but may lack the concentration and mobility to hold down a regular position in the Toffees first XI.
Ross Barkley is the next big hope for Everton and England in midfield. Tall, strong and good on the ball, he does lack some defensive nous, allowing others to pick up runners, but he does pick out a pass well and likes to get forward to hit shots at goal. Around him, Barry holds the defensive anchor role, as he too lacks the lightning pace to make him a true box to box player. Solid and possessor of a fierce shot, his England days might be behind him now, but he is trying to impress Everton enough to make his loan into a permanent deal come the summer. Kevin Mirallis is a Dutch midfielder who specialises at free-kicks and likes to get around the box to score his share of goals. Leon Osman flirted with the England team for a short while, but he is a very good Premier League player, aware of space to run into or to play the ball into, while alongside him could feature Steven Pienaar. The South African had an unhappy time at WHL, returning to Goodison to try to gain a first team place once more. A hard working and inventive midfielder, Pienaar can also pull players out of position and he will want to do well on his return to Tottenham, if only to prove a point that we didn't see the best of him. It could be a straight choice between Pienaar and new signing Aiden McGeady, with the Scot being more of an out-and-out winger, having the ability to jink past players with a trick in his locker, but he can produce a good ball in when he finds some space for himself.
New loan signing Lacina Traore, who Spurs have faced already this season in the Europa League when we played Anzhi Makhachkala, might be thrown in, as Everton have a lack of options up front with Lukaku injured and Jelavic having been sold to Hull City. The Ivory Coast forward is lanky and lean, but has scored regularly, so needs to be watched, especially as we do not have anyone who is 6' 7" to make him that closely in the air. However, a hamstring injury might require a late fitness test and then Martinez has to decide if he is ready to be thrown into the Premier League just now. He could have the loanee from Barcelona playing alongside him, with Gerard Deulofeu fit again and Martinez said he will start the game. Skilful and predatory, Deulofeu shoots with hardly any back-lift, giving the keeper little chance to set himself for a save, but his ability to beat a man in a small space gives him opportunities to cross the ball into dangerous positions, as well as getting space to shoot at goal.
Apostolos Vellios hardly gets a look in at the Blues, while Arouna Kone was another to follow the manager from Wigan and Magaye Gueye got his first goal for Everton in the cup tie at Stevenage, but is like Vellios in his frequency of being listed in the first XI. Steven Naismith is now a fringe player too, but he can play wide or through the middle and knows when to appear in the area.
With both clubs now looking to hold onto the coat-tails of those above them, this will be a closely fought game. Eyeing fourth spot, Tottenham are a long way behind on goal difference, thanks to those heavy defeats they suffered. Martinez likes to play a passing game like he did at Swansea and Wigan, but this side has a better defensive spine, allowing him to play with the knowledge that the Toffees will be a lot tighter at the back. Sherwood will be glad to have Dembele back as his holding of the ball makes things difficult for the opposition and the blistering pace of Andros Townsend will trouble those who try to stop him in midfield, such as Barkley and Barry, as well as posing some questions for the full backs.
Spurs might just nick it if they play to their full potential, but with Everton looking a different proposition under Martinez, I think a draw might be the most likely outcome, which will help neither side.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Everton 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Andros Townsend and Mousa Dembele return from injury, but Sandro (calf), Erik Lamela (thigh) and Vlad Chiriches (back) are not quite ready to make themselves available for the match.
EVERTON TEAM NEWS :
Missing from the Everton squad are loan striker Romelu Lukaku (ankle), Bryan Oviedo (broken leg), Antolin Alcaraz (muscle fatigue), Aruna Kone (knee) and Darron Gibson (knee), with loan signing Lacina Traore possibly needing a late fitness test on his hamstring.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Everton 0 (0)
Sunday 9th February 2014 Kick off 13:30
White Hart Lane
Dembele (foul on Barry) 90
|Crowd : 35,944||Weather : Showery rain, heavy at times; some sun|
|Referee : Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Beck; Mr. D. Bryan|
|Fourth Official : Phil Dowd||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 4 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Everton :||kit|
Aaron LENNON (18
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
14 Steven NAISMITH (10 Gerard DEULOFEU 73)
|Manager : Tim Sherwood||Manager : Roberto Martinez|
|Sponsor : Hewlett Packard||Shirt sponsor : Chang|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Nike|
Having started the game on fire and in a position where they could have been four up after seven minutes, Everton faded as Spurs got their act together and shut the Toffees down and picked them off with a good goal 25 minutes from the end to leap-frog them into fifth place in the table.
Tim Sherwood was playing a cagey game in dropping Roberto Soldado for the returning Mousa Dembele, taking to the field with just one up front - something his predecessor had been criticised for. And it looked like he might come in for some more criticism, when Everton started the match at a pace and with a precision of pass that Tottenham could not match. Leon Osman could have had those four goals, with better finishing and without Hugo Lloris being in goal. In the third minute, he got the ball from XXX and turned sharply, just to the right of the D, curling his shot just beyond Lloris' right hand post. His next effort came when Distin played a ball into Steven Naismith in the box, which he laid back for Osman, in a central position and he struck a volley that went to Lloris' left and the French keeper dived to claw the ball out as it looked like it might fly past him. Form the corner, Osman, despite being short, got on the end of it with his head and put it over the top. The Everton midfielder's next effort wasn't quite so difficult for Hugo, collecting a shot straight at him, with less power than the previous two.
Sours started to get into the game in about the tenth minute, when some neat close passing put Christian Eriksen into the penalty area, but his shot at goal was blocked at point blank range by Seamus Coleman. Spurs were moving the ball too slowly and the movement was lacking in giving the player on the ball passing options, as well as finding it hard to penetrate the forest of midfielders in the way. They were swarming over Spurs players on the ball, forcing unforced errors and resulting in Tottenham giving the ball away far too often. However, a foul on Paulinho gave our Danish midfielder a chance to test Howard from 25 yards, which he failed to do, although a late dip worried the Everton keeper, but he saw the ball land on the top of the net. Prior to that, the American stopper's only involvement was to deny Dembele, who almost latched onto a poor back-pass from Distin tight on the line, but Howard blocked his toe-poke at the ball.
There were a number of things lacking in Tottenham's game in the first half. The panicky use of the ball, putting players in areas where they shouldn't be pressurised on the ball. One saw Lloris throw the ball out to Walker, who had no viable pass on, so the ball got played around and ended up with the keeper, but only when he dashed out to grab a clearance against Paulinho's back before Kevin Mirallis nearly nipped on to make the most of it. The other point that was clear was the poor quality of our crossing. Eriksen's corners often failed to beat the first man and other players failed to pick out a white shirt. In the second half, Kyle Walker got into some good positions on the right and while he was trying to get the ball low into the six yard box across the face of goal, he needed some more weight on the ball to get it past the defender on the near post. It is not an easy skill to put a ball like that in first time, but practice makes perfect.
Kyle almost inadvertently put in such a cross in the first half, when he got some space 25 yards out and hit a shot that flew low across goal, but nobody was alive to it to turn it home. Danny Rose also got a good low cross in from the left, but it was just a little too far ahead of Adebayor and there was nobody behind him at the far post to knock it in. Dawson got on the end of a corner, but had turned his back on it (a backside 180 as I understand the parlance is today). Mirallis was denied a shot on goal by a Vertonghen block and then he did get through, but hit his shot into the Paxton End.
Having survived until half-time, it was a bit of a relief, as Roberto Martinez looked as though he would continue his good run at the Lane since his 1-9 thrashing when Wigan boss. Gary Mabbutt made an appearance at the interval and the rain started lashing down as the teams came out for the second half. That came on top of the pitch being watered at the interval !! I thought that if the rain had carried on, it would have looked like the Somerset Levels.
Tottenham started off moving the ball markedly quicker, gaining an early corner, when Dembele's ball to Rose on the left was out put for a corner. As expected with Spurs, nothing came from it !! Breaking up the other end, McCarthy dragged a shot across goal, which was his major contribution to the game other than holding onto players as they went past him or trying to intimidate Bentaleb. Our young midfielder stood up to him and also showed that he is not just about good work on the ball, but tracking back to tackle and re-gain possession when Everton had it. The whole team seemed to be hunting the ball down better in the second half with the result that Everton turned over possession, as we did in the first 45 minutes. We got a couple of quick corners, with Eriksen putting good balls in, with the first causing panic,, then the second meeting Emmanuel Adebayor's head, but he could not direct it on target.
Sherwood's first change was to bring on Townsend for Eriksen. The Dane had found it a little difficult, with Everton players closing him down and roughing him off the ball when in possession, but he didn't hide and kept wanting the ball. Townsend should be used to push Coleman back and to run at players. As it turned out, he did little of either, as the play mainly stayed away from him. Rose got away down his flank to put in a low cross that beat everyone. Ross Barkley came on for former Spurs midfielder Steven Pienaar, who had a busy game, but without producing much to worry us.
Then, Dembele tried to break into the Everton half from halfway, but was dragged back by Steven Naismith. Gareth Barry put the ball down and Walker looked up, took the free-kick quickly, playing it high to Adebayor, on the edge of the box. Everton were asleep and Ade used his chest to control the ball and to move it past Coleman, who was then the wrong side of him. Jagielka was too far off him, so the Spurs forward hit an early left foot shot low to Howard's right and beat him at his near post to give Spurs the lead. I don't think that Howard had a shot to save up until that point, but it was a well taken goal and came out of nothing.
Tim brought on Capoue for Paulinho, to protect the back four and to track Barkley. The Frenchman did a good job in winning the ball and closing people down in the short time he had on the pitch. Through a mixture of Naismith's inability to keep the ball in play tight on the touchline and Spurs catching Everton players offside, there was little threat on the Tottenham goal. The only effort by the visitors came when Distin played Barkley in and he hit a shot that went wide of the goal. Tottenham create done good opening, when Dembele set up Adebayor, but the Togo striker struck his shot over the bar.
Then came the sentimental appearance by Jermain Defoe, who played the last five minutes, coming on for Lennon. Having been loaned back to Spurs, this was his last Premier League game at the Lane and he almost marked it with a goal, as Ade put him through on the right and he cut in to hit a low right foot shot that Howard kept out with his feet. After the final whistle, Vertonghen and Adebayor carried Defoe on their shoulders and he then made a solo lap of honour, as some Spurs fans stayed behind (those who hadn't gone five minutes before the end that is) to thank him for the goal she had scored for the club.
This was not a handsome win, but then Everton have had enough scruffy victories against us over the years to deserve one back. They had a late shout for a penalty, which was at the other end to me, but on the Internet, it was said that Capoue got the man, as the ball had been pushed just out of his reach when he made the tackle. However, it was on Coleman and he has form in this area of the game. With Osman hitting the floor every time he received any contact, perhaps it was a case of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.
I am sure that the Everton followers will feel hard done by and perhaps the failure to convert their early chances would have seen them out of sight, but having lost games we should have won this season (Newcastle at home for example, this time the shoe was on the other foot. Perhaps we can redress the balance of that earlier game when we visit St. James Park on Wednesday.
Kyle Walker's 100th Tottenham Premier League appearance.
Jan Vertonghen's 50th Tottenham Premier League appearance.
Sylvain Distin's 150th Everton Premier League appearance.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||0||West Ham United||2||Saturday|
|Crystal Palace||3||West Bromwich Albion||1||Saturday|
|Norwich City||0||Manchester City||0||Saturday|
|Swansea City||3||Cardiff City||0||Saturday|
|15||West Ham United||25||6||7||12||26||33||25||-7|
|18||West Bromwich Albion||25||4||11||10||29||37||23||-8|
Position before match :
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 5th
Back to homepage