COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 29th August 2015
VENUE White Hart Lane






Everton arrive at White Hart Lane with a win and a draw and a loss behind them.  An opening day home draw with Watford was a disappointment, but they went to Southampton and won 3-0 with a good display.  They have looked capable of scoring goals, but when they came up against Manchester City last week, they hit the buffers, as many teams will do this season.  Under Roberto Martinez, they have perhaps failed to live up to their potential, with a decent defence, a hard-working midfield and a powerful striker in Romelu Lukaku.  Their 5-3 extra time League Cup win over Barnsley on Wednesday might have taken a bit out of them in terms of fitness and in confidence, as they were behind 0-2 and 2-3 before edging through.

The fact that Tim Howard leads the goalkeepers in the Premier League for saves after three games perhaps says something about the defence at the club.  He is a decent shot topper, but his abilities have been fading and mistakes cropping up in his game that weren't there before.  I have always thought there was a bit of the Grobbelaar about him, so giving him plenty to do could expose some weakness.  Spurs might not yet be in the groove enough to do that quite yet though. 

In front of him, Phil Jagielka leads the back four, which is currently missing Leighton Baines and might be without youngster Brendon Galloway.  Alongside him John Stones has been affected by the continuing transfer speculation about Chelsea's ever-increasing bids for him and his transfer request indicating he wants away from Goodison.  The club have told him he is not going and he was reported to have had a rocky time on Wednesday back at his old club.  Whether Spurs will have the attacking options to exploit any weakness in his game, we will have to see.  Brian Oviedo has overcome a badly broken leg to resume at left back, while Seamus Coleman has been right back, but often can be found considerably further up-field than his defensive position suggests.  There is only a couple of other options available to Martinez at the back, with Mason Holgate the latest defensive signing from Barnsley fresh at the club and another youngster Tylas Browning, who has a couple of sub appearances to his name.  Tony Hibbert is a full back who has been at the club since its foundation, but appears to be out with a knee injury at the moment.

The midfield area of the Toffees team lacks some imagination, although there are good numbers of players with experience there.  Gareth Barry is perhaps the longest in the tooth, with his place in the team almost cemented despite a lack of pace.  This is where Spurs might be able to capitalise, as his performances over the last few seasons for Manchester City and Everton have seen him caught out by quick movement.  Pace in the midfield comes from left winger Kevin Mirallis and he enjoys getting into positions to shoot at goal, like the goal he got at the Lane last season. 

Spurs were after both Mirallis and James McCarthy earlier in the summer, but both signed new deals to stay at Everton, with McCarthy a dynamic midfielder, but one who sits in front of the back four mostly, thus does not contribute regularly to assisting the front men.  Mo Besic is more offensive, but can also be deployed as a ball-winning midfielder, allowing Tom Cleverley to get forward and provide opportunities from dead ball situations.  Tottenham will need to be alive to this, as defensive laxity is costing us goals at the moment.  Darron Gibson has been reportedly involved in a hit and run incident in Manchester, so may not be picked in the match-day squad as he has a foot injury too.  The star of the Everton midfield is Ross Barkley, who is seen as the future for both club and country. Personally, my view is that at the moment, he still gives possession away too cheaply and his attention to defensive duties is not that great.  If Tottenham can press him when on the ball, it could turn over possession and moving it quickly, could take him out of the game.

Aiden McGeady is a jinking winger of the traditional Scottish type, but he has not been a regular under Martinez, while veterans Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar (hamstring) are yet to feature this season. 

In attack, Romelu Lukaku is a beast.  Strong, powerful in the air and with the archetypal good touch for a big man, he is a handful for any defence when on his game.  Strange that Chelsea sold him, when Didier Drogba was approaching the stage of no further use for Mourinho, but he has the attributes to be a top goal-scorer.  Service has been a bit of an issue over the last season or so, but it looked like Aaron Lennon would be one solution, although that seems to have been shelved for now.  Steven Naismith and Aroune Kone are the two more experienced options, with good Premier League experience, while Gerard Deulofeu spent last season there on loan from Barcelona before signing permanently this summer.  Naismith is an annoying striker, who niggles and fouls, but is a penalty box predator, while Kone has had a chequered career at Goodison, missing a large part through injury, but he scored goals before his move there and appears to link well with Lukaku.  Deulofeu is a wide player, with good dribbling ability and is direct, providing supply for his fellow forwards and being able to score himself.  The only drawback with al the Everton forwards is that on occasion they are peripheral figures and this has hampered the side over the last season in scoring the goals required to get results.

The best chance for Spurs in this match will be to try and keep things tight at the back and shut down Everton when they have the ball in midfield.  Goals are at a premium for Spurs at the moment and the midfield will be needing a lot of energy to support Kane up top as well as keep Everton in check.  Lacking pace for quick breaks and with Eriksen out injured, the inclusion of Dele Alli could help remedy those failings, with Clinton Njie also reported to be a rapid striker, an introduction from the bench, if he is ready, could pose issues for the visitors' back line.

It will be a game of attrition and with few goals and the way both teams are playing at this early stage of the season, a draw is the most likely outcome.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    1         Everton    1
Last season's corresponding match.
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs will be without Christian Eriksen again, as his knee knock keeps him sidelined, while some other players will be assessed before the game, but Andros Townsend is now over his ankle injury and is available for selection.  New signing Heung-Min Son has not received his work permit or international clearance yet, so cannot be considered for the match at the Lane. 
Brendon Galloway is a doubt with a knee injury, while injury keeps out Leighton Baines (ankle), Darron Gibson (foot), Hibbert (knee) and Pienaar (hamstring).  New signing Leandro Rodriguez is not eligible to play as he only signed Friday.

BT Sport 1 - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Game of the Day -  Saturday 20.00
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.25 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:30 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 10.30 (repeated at 21.00)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
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Commentary may be found on
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Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 15.00 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
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South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)

Premier League
Saturday 29th August 2015
White Hart Lane
Everton  0 (0)

Kick off 17:30

None None
Alli (not getting back 10 yards at a free-kick)  57
Bentaleb (foul on Kone)  60
Dier (dissent on conceding a foul)  62
Chadli (kicking ball away)  90+1
Pritchard (throwing ball down)  90+3


Barry (pulling back Kane)  39 



Crowd :   35,865 Weather :  Mild, rainy
Referee :  Mike Jones (Cheshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. A. Garratt; Mr. M. Scholes
Fourth Official :  Charles Breakspear -
Everton kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 9 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Everton : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
  3  Danny ROSE

  6  Nabil BENTALEB
15  Eric DIER

19  Mousa DEMBELE  (20  Dele ALLI  53)
  8  Ryan MASON  (24  Alex PRITCHARD  85)
22  Nacer CHADLI

10  Harry KANE

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
33  Ben DAVIES

16  Kieran TRIPPIER
11  Erik LAMELA

  24  Tim HOWARD

23  Seamus COLEMAN
  5  John STONES
  Phil JAGIELKA  (c)
  8  Bryan OVIEDO

16  James McCARTHY
18  Gareth BARRY
20  Ross BARKLEY
15  Tom CLEVERLEY  (11  Kevin MIRALLIS  46)

 9  Arouna KONE  (19  Gerard DEULOFEU 84)

10  Romelu LUKAKU  (14  Steven NAISMITH 69)

Unused subs: 
  1  Joel ROBLES
17  Muhamed BESIC
27  Tyias BROWNING
38  Matthew PENNINGTON

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Roberto Martinez
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Chang
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Umbro
Match report

In a match that saw Spurs dominate and Everton have few dangerous moments at the Tottenham end, it was the referee who took the spoils as that was what he did to the game in a one-sided performance that put to be a lie about referees being homers.

The game was a non-event because of the man in black's persistent inconsistency in judging fouls in favour of Everton and booking Spurs players, when he failed to apply the laws of the game equably when the visitors committed fouls just the same on our players.  Despite the inept officiating (and the linemen are included for not bringing things to the referee's attention), Tottenham should have had three points in the bag instead of allowing Tim Howard to walk away with Man of the Match praise ringing in his ears.  In short, rather than him earning the MotM award, Spurs failed to capitalise on the openings they created and some of the saves Howard did make were more than routine, but made to look trickier than they were.

Eriksen's absence prompted the thought that we would struggle to create much, but the side were a bit sharper in their attacking intent, with the midfield looking quicker and some good passing out of the back exposing Everton's slow back four.  Mason was elevated into the attacking three in midfield and got into the box occasionally, which is something we want to see from our midfielders, much as Alli did for his goal last week.  .

In the early stages, both teams probed in attack, but the final pass or a well-timed tackle prevented any threats on goal, with Dembele getting back to stop a link-up in our area by Cleverley and Lukaku.  Spurs were being kept out of the Everton box and Dier hit a 25 yarder that was blocked by Barry and then Kane worked a yard to get a shot away but it was pulled wide of Howard's right hand post.  Dembele was working hard, both going forward and getting back and his pass put CHadli through, but I don't know if it was a lack of confidence, but he had a shooting chance that was spurned by passing wide right to Ryan Mason, whose cross went off for a throw-in on the other side of the pitch.  The crossing by Spurs was not of a high quality today, with too many hit way over the penalty area at heights nobody (not even Ian Ormondroyd on Peter Crouch's shoulders [ask your Dad]) could reach.

The pre-match rain did not help things, making passes skid through beyond their intended target, while Everton looked to keep their passing long to Kone or Lukaku, before picking up the knock-downs and then slickly trying to get wide and beyond the Spurs defence.  At the start of the game, this tactic worked, but as the game went on, Dier, Vertonghen and Alderweireld won more aerial balls and the two Everton targets were marginalised, with both being substituted before the end.

It took Spurs 14 minutes to get a decent shot on goal and it was well manufactured, with Chadli on the left laying the ball back to the edge of the area for Bentaleb to have a shot and while he tried to place it just inside Howard's left hand post, he dragged it a bit too much and the ball went a yard wide.  Then Spurs almost made their own undoing a through ball going to  Walker, who tried to control the ball, but it squirmed from under his foot, allowing Cleverley to nick to off him 25 yards out.  The former Manchester United midfielder took the ball to the edge of the box and let go a fierce drive, but it was rising and Lloris was behind it to make sure it cleared the crossbar.  When Spurs did break out, there was more pace to their attacks, with Rose adding more than Davies had going forward.  He had a fine game defensively as well, up against much more physically built opponents, even winning headers against Kone !!  His running up the left wing produced a half-chance for Mason, putting a low ball into the box, but Ryan couldn't get enough on it to trouble the goal.  

Harry Kane was seeing more of the ball than he done so far this season, but his finishing was not accurate and he blazed over from distance before Everton's starlet Ross Barkley did the same from 25 yards at the other end.  Then Kane had the sort of chance he was tucking away nonchalantly last season.  23 minutes in and Mason threaded a pass from deep in his own half to set Kane running unmarked into the Everton half.  From where I was he looked a distance offside, but there may have been someone playing him on over this side of the pitch.  With a way to go to goal, players were catching him as he reached the 18 yard line, but with only Howard to beat and with the keeper advancing, Harry shot low and the ball ballooned off the keeper's body and the chance was lost.   Five minutes later, Chadli played a cute pass inside the Everton defence in the box to pick out Mason's clever run (similar to Man United at home last season) and his low shot from the left of the goal a couple of yards out was blocked for a corner by Howard's legs.   From another corner a couple of minutes later, Alderweireld rose high above everyone to head powerfully at goal, but it was a foot too high.

Bearing out the preview's comments about Gareth Barry, Kane skipped round him in the centre-circle and was heading for the last third when Barry cynically pulled him back and earned a yellow card,  which was reminiscent of yellow cards he had picked up in the past (both recent and further back) for the same offence in the same place).  Tottenham should really have made more of the fact that this leaden footed midfielder lacks speed, but we allowed him to plod around and rely on his passing to get him through.  He was part of the move that set up Barkley for a shot from outside the box, but it wasn't too hard and was low, straight at Lloris, making it a simple stop for the Spurs keeper.  That was just before a lengthy stoppage, when Cleverley was injured after Dier had won a tackle wide on the right of the box and the ball went out for a throw-in.  The midfielder unfortunately needed to be taken off on a stretcher, as he could not carry on.  That brought Mirallis on just before half-time, with play in the area from where he scored his goal against us last season.  History did not repeat itself this season.

The half ended with Jan putting in a well-timed challenge on Coleman as he had run into the penalty box, winning the ball and averting any danger.  Coleman had been on the end of the ire from a section of the East Stand Lower following an exchange when the ball went out for a throw-in and I am not sure if Stones was involved as well, but he was on the end of come chanting and booing from the Spurs section as well.  The player coveted by Chelsea had a particularly shaky game, as he did not deal with being put under pressure for all Roberto Martinez's words after the match saying how he was 'a rock'.  Rocky maybe, but not a rock.  He is obviously trying to smooth over the kerfuffle caused by Chelsea's interest, but on this performance, GBP 40 million looks a good deal.

The presentation of Pat van den Hauwe at half-time was one where an ex-player of both sides was put in a difficult position in the interview, but Psycho Pat, looking tanned and lithe, grabbed the microphone from a terrified Paul Coyte and said a few words ... quietly and menacingly, before he was gone.

When the second half started with no further changes, Spurs were sharper than before the break and going on the attack.  Chadli had an early shot after Rose set him up, then Dembele won a corner that was cleared, but the ball stayed around the Everton box for the next few minutes, with some neat passing putting Chadli in on the left, but his touch took the ball through to Howard.  Mousa opened up the visitors' defence with a good turn on the dead ball line in the box on the left, pulling the ball back to Kane, but the ball was cleared and came to Walker, who put the ball into Harry again, with his chest down to Nacer being fired at goal, but wide.  Meanwhile, Dembele had stayed down and received lengthy treatment off the pitch, which resulted in him being stretchered away with what seemed like a very painful ankle injury.  He must have turned it when playing the ball across goal, but he was replaced by Dele Alli making his home debut.

The young midfielder made an immediate impact with his short passing in tight areas setting Ryan Mason in on Howard.  Coming in from the right side, Ryan hit a  low shot that the keeper once more blocked with his legs.  There were some nice touched by Alli, trying a nutmeg here and lobbing the ball over his own head and the man marking him too closely, but he must learn not to pick up cheap yellow cards, as he did in stopping a quick free-kick being taken.  It then restricted his tackling for the remainder of the match.  Obviously, he was not the only Spurs player to fall foul of the dodgy refereeing.  Bentaleb saw yellow for dragging back Kone, which was fair enough, but Dier was booked for disputing winning the ball cleanly off Barkley, who for a big man hits the turf with consummate ease.  To make it look that simple must be the mark of a good player !!  Three cautions in five minutes, while Oviedo got away with a talking to (being told he had committed two bad fouls) while Spurs player were getting booked for their first offence.  And I thought that a foul from behind was a booking, but after a number of Everton fouls of that type, it appears that there has been a re-interpretation of the rule this season, which must inform officials this only applies against Spurs players doing it rather than anyone else in the 91 other teams in the league set-up.

Mirallis hadn't done a lot since he came on, but produced a cross that was just too far ahead of Lukaku and then Spurs created an opening for Alli, with some good passing in the box, but the final pass was just a little too far ahead of him on the right of the goal and although he swung a boot at it, he couldn't make a telling connection, making Howard's save straightforward.  Dele's technical ability is there for all to see, with his ability to receive and play the ball in tight situations a great asset.  He was popping up in the box regularly and taking Rose's cross, he was knocked over, but got the ball away to Kane, but numbers prevented him getting any further.  Just before that Chadli set up Harry for a shot that was blocked by a group of blue shirts, but in the melee Kane laid it off to Nacer, who was following up and skied his effort over the goal.

With the ball deep in our defence in the 70th minute, Jan Vertonghen strode forward with it and with unerring simplicity ate up the ground, keeping going past people, until he was in the Everton area, where he slightly over-ran the ball and had to stretch to get a shot off, being unable to control it and seeing it fly narrowly over the crossbar.  It was the sort of run he used to make under AVB and when faced with packed defences, it can create problems, because defenders of the other side have to commit themselves to coming out to meet him. 

There were few efforts from Everton in the second period, as they dug in for a point, but there was one worrying moment within a couple of minutes of Vertonghen's run, when Oviedo played a cross in from the left wing and Kone had continued his run after playing it wide, meeting it with a header from the penalty spot, but he glanced his header wide.  It looked for all the world that it was going to be like the goal that equalised for Stoke two weeks ago.

By the end, it was getting to be a bit of a sick joke, as every tackle on an Everton player resulted in the feeble Jones blowing his whistle.  One particularly incompetent piece of refereeing saw him give a handball against Walker, who had been shoved hard in the back by Gareth Barry, who, while Spurs players were receiving yellow cards like they came free with every tackle, managed to walk the tightrope of being on one booking from the 38th minute even though he went on to commit numerous more fouls (not all of them spotted by the three officials).

Kane did get the ball in the net, but only after the whistle had gone for offside, having been played through by Mason, then Rose hit a hurried shot way over the Paxton Road goal.  Then Jones decided that to have the temerity to try to take the ball off an Everton player was suddenly an offence punishable by a free-kick, so the last ten minutes of the game saw a procession of balls lobbed high into the Spurs box.  The referee was so keen to get involved on Everton's behalf, he twice intercepted passes to break up Tottenham moves.  Normally one of the more unnoticeable refs, he had a biased mare today and hopefully, he will get pulled up about it, but you know what the assessors are like.

Mirallis put a free-kick from the edge of the D over the bar by a couple of feet, Barkley shot well wide, before Vertonghen made a good block as Deulofeu looked to put in a dangerous low cross from their right wing.  Spurs brought on Alex Pritchard, who got booked for throwing the ball away (having had a foul given against him against one of the biggest players on the pitch), which he did so hard that McCarthy fell to the floor some 20 yards away !!  Stones won a header but by putting a set of studs in Bentaleb's back, Kane was wrestled to the ground in the box and Alli blocked cynically when nut-megging an opponent, while Barkley had won a free-kick earlier for running straight into a Spurs player, who simply could not disappear to get out of the way.

There was one last chance from a free-kick (surprised ?), when McCarthy swung it into the box and Mirallis cushioned a header at goal, making it a simple stop by Lloris.

It was a game Tottenham might have won last season, but Everton defended resolutely and Lloris had little to do for the majority of the afternoon.  Lukaku and Kone can be a tricky pairing to deal with, but Spurs coped well and Dier in front of the back four had a very good game.  With Alli and Mason getting forward, it gave Spurs more options in attack, while Dembele and Bentaleb put in good performances.  Kane was looking keen to get shots on goal and had he taken the one clear chance, it might have been a different game, but he will not be kept out of games with this sort of service and the goals will come. 

The pleasing things about the performance were the pushing up in the second half, which put sustained pressure on the Everton goal and the bringing of the ball out from the back, with Vertonghen and Alderweireld making good ground going forward when Everton dropped off.  What wasn't so good was our passing in the first half, with Bentaleb a notable guilty party (although his second half performance was back to that of last season) and playing the ball out from goal-kicks or when Lloris had the ball.  Often the ball was played short to players who were under pressure or the ball was played in the direction of a Spurs shirt (sometimes not !) and it went straight out of play.  By keeping hold of the ball we can ensure the opposition are not able to do anything with it, but by turning it over to them straight away or putting our players in situations where they might lose it close to our goal only gives the other team better opportunities to create chances.

With a referee who knew what he was doing and a bit of luck, along with some better finishing, Spurs could well be top half and putting the 'crisis' headlines away.  There are now two weeks before the next match at Sunderland, who are scoring goals, despite not getting wins.  We could have a different squad by then, so it might be the start of our season, in which we will now be playing catch up.

Sterling Performance




Everton were once based in the outlying suburb of Liverpool known as Ever Town. 

The principle of the town's name came from the fact that there was always thought to have been a settlement on the land there, spawning the theory that it was the oldest town in England and had therefore had been there for ever. 

Thus the football team took their name from the location where their first matches were played and it has been corrupted over time to the diminished version we use today.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 2 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Bournemouth 1 Leicester City 1 Saturday
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2 Saturday
Liverpool 0 West Ham United 3 Saturday
Manchester City 2 Watford 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1 Saturday
Stoke City 0 West Bromwich Albion 1 Saturday
Swansea City 2 Manchester United 1 Sunday
Southampton 3 Norwich City 0 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 4 4 0 0 10 0 12 +10
2 Crystal Palace 4 3 0 1 8 5 9 +3
3 Leicester City 4 2 2 0 8 5 8 +3
4 Swansea City 4 2 2 0 7 4 8 +3
5 Manchester United 4 2 1 1 3 2 7 +1
6 Arsenal 4 2 1 1 3 3 7 0
7 Liverpool 4 2 1 1 2 3 7 -1
8 West Ham United 4 2 0 2 9 4 6 +5
9 Everton 4 1 2 1 5 4 5 +1
10 Southampton 4 1 2 1 5 5 5 0
11 Bournemouth 4 1 1 2 5 6 4 -1
12 Aston Villa 4 1 1 2 4 5 4 -1
13 Chelsea 4 1 1 2 6 9 4 -3
14 Norwich City 4 1 1 2 5 8 4 -3
15 West Bromwich Albion 4 1 1 2 3 6 4 -3
16 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 0 3 1 3 4 3 -1
17 Watford 4 0 3 1 2 4 3 -2
18 Stoke City 4 0 2 2 3 5 2 -2
19 Newcastle United 4 0 2 2 2 5 2 -3
20 Sunderland 4 0 2 2 6 10 2 -4

Position before match :  16th
Position after match :  15th
Position after the weekend :  16th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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