COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 3rd November 2013
VENUE Goodison Park






Sixth meet seventh as Spurs visit Goodison Park to play Everton, who have a very good home record these days.  Over the last few years our good record against Everton has become a little worse and the two very late goals conceded at Goodison last season undid all the good work that going 1-0 up had achieved.

Roberto Martinez having taken over from David Moyes, the Spaniard is looking to put his stamp on the team, as before they were a team who thrived on hard work, but Martinez will be looking to make them the smooth passing side in the style of those that he carved out at Swansea City and Wigan Athletic.  He has made some signings that have marginalised some players that Moyes brought in, while making the inspired loan signing of Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who is a huge physical threat to any defence.  He has height, power and a deft touch, so will be a handful for the Tottenham back four.  With other attacking options in Nicita Jelavic, Steven Naismith and Gerard Deulofeu, Martinez has a choice of who to play.  Much is talked about when Deulofeu is mentioned, as his background is with Barcelona, but he has been used sporadically, although he is another skilful player, who can make and take chances.  Naismith is often preferred with his high work rate a major asset, but as he showed in the Chelsea match, he can pop up in the box to score.  Jelavic was on a hot scoring streak when he arrived, but has since gone off the boil.

Tim Howard's goalkeeping powers have been bolstered by a bushy beard, which he believes helps him, but if a swarm of bees made a home in it, there may be an adverse effect on his abilities.  As it is, he is a brave keeper, but he does have a rush of blood every now and then.  Reserve keeper Joel Robles came with Martinez from Wigan and he looked a bit dodgy in his days with the Latics.

Leighton Baines looked a dead cert to join Manchester United like his fellow Toffee Marouane Fellanini, but he has stayed at Goodison and has been playing well for Everton and England.  An over-lapping full back, he can put in good crosses, but also possesses a fearsome shot from open play or dead ball situations.  With the experienced, but slow, Sylvain Distin partnering England international Phil Jagielka in the middle of the back four, there could be a soft centre if exposed to pace, but that would mean someone coming in off the wing from Tottenham's point of view, but they could be worked to pull them out of position.  Tony Hibbert is a stalwart at right back, but another who lacks a turn of pace, while Heitinga is also not as young as he used to be, but that doesn't stop him going into tackles he might not make.  Youngster John Stones is being nursed through into the first team and a prodigious England youth player, he is seen as one for the future.   Seamus Coleman holds down the left back slot, with an eye to getting up the line to join in the attack and he is another who will arrive in the box unannounced.

Midfield usually consists of Kevin Mirallis, Ross Barkley, James McCarthy and Gareth Barry.   Barry is on loan from Manchester City, so is trying to get playing time to secure a place in the England team for next year's World Cup finals.   He has been playing well and has shored up the defensive midfield, with Ross Barkley and James McCarthy more interested in the attacking side of the game, while Mirallis is almost an out and out winger, who can cut into produce problems, but he is also a good runner through the line at the right time.  Our high line will need to watch this.  Energetic forward support player Leon Osman has been relegated to the substitute's bench on occasion and also there is former Spurs midfielder Steven Pienaar, who possesses a lot of skill on the ball, but didn't really get an opportunity to show it at White Hart Lane for Tottenham.

Spurs will have to work hard to match Everton's industry and Sandro and Paulinho will need to put in a big shift, while Capoue may be called on from the bench to add some ball winning properties to the side at some stage.  With the match likely to be tight, as neither side score freely, the use of the ball to Lennon and/or Townsend (more likely to be just Andros), with Sigurdsson on the other flank, as he works harder, will be key to how the match goes.  We need to peg Coleman and Baines back, with our side men needing to work up the line to prevent them the space to attack.

With both sides keen to stay at the top of the chasing bunch, I think that they will be have to be content with a final result that ends all square, even though they both would want to win.

PREDICTION Everton    1        Tottenham Hotspur    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs will be without Danny Rose (toe), Nacer Chadli (hamstring) and Emmanuel Adebayor (match fitness), with Kyle Naughton doubtful with a leg injury picked up against Hull on Wednesday.
Antolin Alcaraz is still out, although on his way back from a hernia operation and Aruna Kone's knee injury keeps him sidelined with Darron Gibson out with the same problem.  Apostolos Vellios has a knock that will make him unavailable for the Spurs game, while Johnny Heitinga has recovered from a muscle injury to be ready for selection.

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Everton  0 (0)                                                                                   Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)
Premier League
Sunday 3rd November 2013                                                                                                                    Kick off 13:30
Goodison Park
Howard (dissent)  6
McCarthy (foul on Vertonghen)  17 
Mirallis (dissent)  49
Lukaku (foul on Lloris)  78


Paulinho (foul on McCarthy)  68 



Crowd :   38,378 Weather :   Sunny, mild
Referee :  Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. G. Beswick; Mr. J. Flynn
Fourth Official :  Mr. R. Madley -
Everton kicked off and played towards the Gwladys Road end in the first half.
Playing time : -  90 mins + 10
Everton : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
24  Tim HOWARD     

23  Seamus COLEMAN
  6  Phil JAGIELKA (c)
  Sylvain DISTIN
  3  Leighton BAINES

  Gareth BARRY

21  Leon OSMAN  (20  Ross BARKLEY 63)
16  James McCARTHY     
  Steven PIENAAR
11  Kevin MIRALLIS       (10  Gerard DEULOFEU 63)

17  Romelu LUKAKU       (  7  Nikica JELAVIC 86)

Unused subs: 
  1  Joel ROBLES
  Bryan OVIEDO
26  John STONES
14  Steven NAISMITH

  25  Hugo LLORIS

  2  Kyle WALKER
20  Michael DAWSON (c)

  8  PAULINHO     
30  SANDRO  (19  Mousa DEMBELE 61)

17  Andros TOWNSEND
14  Lewis HOLTBY (23  Christian ERIKSEN 86)
  7  Aaron LENNON  (22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON 69)

  9  Roberto SOLDADO

Unused subs: 
  4  Younes KABOUL
18  Jermain DEFOE
11  Erik LAMELA

Manager :  Roberto Martinez Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Chang Shirt sponsor :  Hewlett Packard
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

What looked to be a close contest on paper turned out to be a game of two halves, neither of which could separate the two sides in a 0-0 draw.

Everton kept their substitutes in from the last game, while Spurs reverted to the tried and tested XI to try and break the Toffees' good home run.  The sun shone down at the start of the game and the expectancy buzzed around the ground after the well-observed minutes' silence for those who fell in the defence of our country.

Spurs started brightly and having worked the ball in tight areas on the left wing, forced the opening save of the game with Sandro's third minute shot from 30 yards making Howard dive to his left to push the ball wide for a corner. The pressure continued, with Townsend shooting wide from 25 yards out and Soldado getting onto Lennon's left wing cross with an unchallenged header, but he put it wide of Howard's left hand post.  Spurs were closing Everton down quickly and when Paulinho was presented with the ball by Mirallis, he didn't make the most of it as he passed the ball back to a blue shirt. Vertonghen then made a good run up the left before running straight into two defenders, with Townsend shooting after good possession, but it took a flick off a defender and went over.

From a free-kick for McCarthy's tug on Vertonghen, Walker struck it hard through the wall and Howard had to punch the ball away not taking any chances as the sun was shining in his eyes, then Townsend's shot was blocked for a corner.  Holtby worked hard to win ball off Pienaar and put Soldado through but ball caught under his feet and cross knocked out for corner. From it Holtby got the ball back after clearance and hit low shot but not enough power.

In contrast, Everton's first effort on goal came when Osman wasn't shut down and hit a 20 yard shot that flew over in the 27th minute.  After this the game settled down into a pattern of Tottenham keeping the high line and Everton failing to use the ball effectively, but there were few efforts on goal in the last quarter of an hour, with Everton's main threat coming from dead ball situations and Tottenham lacking players in the box when they broke, so Soldado had a shot from outside the box almost on half time, which flew over the bar of Howard's goal.

Lennon robbed Baines down by his own dead ball line early in the second half and he pulled it back to Holtby whose shot was blocked from corner of box. When Everton did break, with three on two, Mirallis was played in on the right of the box and Vlad Chiriches produced a fine sliding tackle to prevent his shot and win a goal kick. For his protestations, Mirallis went into the book.

In the 56th minute, Walker's run across from his right back position fed Vertonghen and the Belgian played the ball into the penalty area for Paulinho. As he tried to turn, he was blocked by Distin, who twisted his knee in the process, but was able to carry on.  Keeper Tim Howard was lucky, when, under no pressure, he kicked the ball straight at Holtby, but the ball bounced to an Everton player.

With 65 minutes gone, substitute Ross Barkley hit a rising left foot drive over the top, as Everton snapped back at Spurs with a sharper start to the second half. When there was a reverse of the penalty claim in the first half, with Vertonghen going in on Coleman and the Irishman going down, at least Friend was consistent and failed to point to the spot.  Chiriches was forced to clear a difficult ball into the six yard box and then Dawson did well challenging Lukaku as McCarthy's low cross came in from their right wing. Sigurdsson had Tottenham's first effort of the second half after he had come off the bench, but Howard punched it clear with 75 minutes gone. 

For the second game running, Spurs had a serious injury concern, with Lloris laid out by Lukaku, who followed through and kneed Hugo in the head.  The French keeper had a Led Zeppelin moment (dazed and confused), but like Townsend against Hull, he fought to stay on, despite medical advice and the Everton crowd's reaction did them little credit, as they booed him and abused AVB on the touchline.

Lloris had to do well, as Deulofeu drifted past three players to break into the box and his cross was blocked by Hugo's dive, coming out to the left of his goal. Dawson cleared after Barkley had knocked him off the ball, just as the fourth official showed nine minutes of added time was still to be played. He later came to punch a corner through a bunch of players, showing how much keeping a clean sheet means to him.

When Distin fouled Soldado out near the right wing corner flag, Eriksen had the chance to fire in a free-kick and it was so pacy that it beat Jan at the far post. In the next attack Vertonghen got a cross in from the left and when it was cleared, three Spurs players were under it and Eriksen's shot was charged down. A minute later, from a similar position to the left corner of the box, Sigurdsson pulled a shot across goal and wide, then Townsend cut in from the right to hit a shot that Howard grabbed on the edge of the six yard box.  Spurs were still on the attack when the final whistle blew.

For a lot of the game Everton were poor. Passes went astray and their movement was poor, making penetration difficult. But, even when they came forward with more purpose in the second half, there were few worrying moments for Tottenham, with only a couple of crosses giving concern. 

As for Spurs, the solidity that has ensured yet another away clean sheet makes it hard to get shots on goal, with Soldado expected to battle away on his own against three defenders for most of the time. Spurs looked good going forward with the ball, especially Vertonghen, as Townsend had a tough time up against Baines and the defence looked comfortable against what looked, on paper, a scary forward and midfield line-up.

While Spurs probably just about edged the game, each side should have had a penalty and a point might have been a suitable outcome before the match kicked off, bearing in mind Everton's very good home record.  But Spurs go back into fourth, just behind Liverpool and just ahead of Manchester City. It means nothing at the start of November, but if the situation is the same at the end of the final game, then it might prove to be a very good point.

Keith Mendament


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 2 Liverpool 0 Saturday
Fulham 1 Manchester United 3 Saturday
Hull City 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Manchester City 7 Norwich City 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 2 Chelsea 0 Saturday
Stoke City 1 Southampton 1 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Crystal Palace 0 Saturday
West Ham United 0 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
Cardiff City 1 Swansea City 0 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 10 8 1 1 22 9 25 +13
2 Chelsea 10 6 2 2 16 8 20 +8
3 Liverpool 10 6 2 2 17 10 20 +7
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 10 6 2 2 9 5 20 +4
5 Manchester City 10 6 1 3 28 11 19 +17
6 Southampton 10 5 4 1 11 3 19 +8
7 Everton 10 5 4 1 14 10 19 +4
8 Manchester United 10 5 2 3 17 13 17 +4
9 Hull City 10 4 2 4 8 10 14 -2
10 Newcastle United 10 4 2 4 14 16 14 -2
11 West Bromwich Albion 10 3 4 3 10 10 13 0
12 Cardiff City 10 3 3 4 9 13 12 -4
13 Swansea City 10 3 2 5 12 12 11 0
14 Aston Villa 10 3 2 5 9 12 11 -3
15 West Ham United 10 2 4 4 8 8 10 0
16 Fulham 10 3 1 6 10 15 10 -5
17 Stoke City 10 2 3 5 6 9 9 -3
18 Norwich City 10 2 2 6 6 20 8 -14
19 Sunderland 10 1 1 8 7 22 4 -15
20 Crystal Palace 10 1 0 9 6 21 3 -15


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  4th
Position after the weekend :  4th

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