losing to Sporting Lisbon in Portugal in the Europa League
on Thursday and Spurs beating Bolton Wanderers, you might
think that this will be a foregone conclusion for Tottenham.
However, with all things Spurs, nothing is ever that
straightforward, with a virus sweeping through the club and
leaving a few players under the weather.
With injuries on
both sides too, there will not be the two first choice
elevens out there battling it out, but with Tottenham
picking up after a mediocre introduction to the year and the
Toffees on a good run, it should be a fairly evenly matched
keeper Tim Howard has stopped two penalties from Tottenham
this season, so I hope we are not awarded another spot-kick,
as he seems to have the sign over us, but he is a good
shot-stopper, although can be rash in coming for crosses and
can be beaten when exposed one-on-one. Behind him in
reserve is Carlo Nash, who is experienced, but does not get
much of a look-in at Goodison.
has been strengthened with the signing of Sylvain Distin in
January, but he is a player who often has problems when
playing against Spurs, so hopefully, he will continue that
trait on Sunday, while he may line up alongside Phil
Jagielka, who is back after a cruciate injury. At left
back and pushing for an England call-up is Leighton Baines,
who likes to get forward in support of the attack and is a
bit of a dead ball specialist too, but can leave gaps behind
him which are ripe for counter attacks. At right back,
Moyes could start with youngster Dan Gosling, who has
impressed lately and made the difference to the team when he
came on at Goodison, inspiring them to pull back from 0-2
down. Youngsters Shane Duffy and Seamus Coleman are
both capable of coming in and doing a job in defence, but
are more likely to be used from the bench, if at all.
Johnny Heitinga is also available after sitting out the
European game in midweek, so his experience might be
preferred to that of Gosling, with Jagielka playing wide on
the right and Joseph Yobo is another central defender, who
could be picked, but is out of favour at the moment.
Other players who won't make the game are Phillipe Senderos,
the former Gooner, who is on loan at Everton and Tony
Hibbert, who has a hernia.
As far as
midfield goes, this is another strong area for the
Merseyside Blues, with Steven Pienaar in good form and the
returning Mikael Arteta adding some more creativity, the
supply lines are flowing well at the moment. The dirty
work is done by Phil Neville and
Jack Rodwell, but the young
England hopeful is another who might start on the bench.
Moyes might plump for the Russian Bilyletdinov, who plays
wide, but can cut inside and has a fearsome shot on him.
The options continue with Leon Osman's ability to play
anywhere in the midfield and can push up to play in behind
the front two to link play and break into the box.
It is in attack that
Everton have had a few problems, with injuries to a number
of their forwards. Louis Saha, Yakubu, Victor Anichebe,
James Vaughan and Jo (now returned to Manchester City
following the termination of his loan) meaning that they
have not been scoring regularly and 1-0 ground out wins have
become a bit of a trademark of Moyes' reign. It has
stood them in good stead, but with Saha in good scoring form
and Yakubu coming back into the reckoning, the introduction
in January of American Landon Donovan has also sparked a bit
of a scoring revival. Donovan has been around for a
while, but failed to stay on in Germany when he had a chance
to make it there. He seems to have settled pretty
quickly at Goodison, with good movement around the area and
just behind the front man, so expect a 4-4-1-1 formation,
which can switch to a more traditional 4-4-2 if they need to
chase the game.
Tottenham's ability to
break quickly might provide Everton with enough problems to
stem their own attacks, with Modric key to opening up the
visitors' defence, with Pav and Defoe keen to stick away any
chances that come their way. It will be a tough game,
with lots of midfield possession, but it might come down to
the simple fact of who finishes the openings that come their
: - Tottenham Hotspur 2
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