Premier League

Saturday 9th May 2009


A game against Everton is always going to be a tough one, because under David Moyes the Toffees are well-drilled and hard-working, making it a battle to win supremacy in midfield.

With a midfield of the likes of Tim Cahill, Marouane Fellaini, Phil Neville, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman, your own midfield men have to put in an extra shift to keep them in check.  The home game earlier in the season has proved our only setback at the Lane under Harry Redknapp and that was courtesy of a deflected Pienaar shot.  There was not a great deal in the game that night and hopefully, it will be another tight contest, with the Spurs defence considerably better now than at that early part of the campaign.  However, to stop the Everton midfield will mean a lot of energy required from Jenas and Palacios in the middle and with Modric and Lennon tracking back to cover the wide midfielders and the over-lapping runs from full back by Leighton Baines and whoever plays on the other side (Tony Hibbert or maybe Neville dropping back into defence).  Tim Howard in goal is a good shot stopper. but sometimes his positioning leaves openings for players to beat him, especially at his near post.  With the shot son, Tottenham's players will need to take them, rather than try to walk the ball into the net.

It is up front that Everton have suffered this season, with a large number of their forwards being injured, but on loan from Manchester City, Jo has looked a different proposition in a dark blue shirt, while Louis Saha is back although Cahill might play alongside the big Brazilian or even Osman.  The youngster Jack Rodwell has been making a name for himself and he may be used from the bench, with a role just behind the front two to break into the box and finish as he did against Aston Villa in the FA Cup.  Another one to watch in the future is Dan Gosling, bought in from Plymouth Argyle and a player who likes to get forward from midfield too.

Joleon Lescott and Joseph Yobo have been paired to good effect in the middle of the back four, while there is added height to the team and not just in his hair cut by Fellaini.  He is dangerous from set-pieces and in the tackle by the number of cards he has received this season.  Cahill can also lose his discipline on occasion.  However, with the FA Cup just a few weeks away, the Everton players will have it in the back of their mind, although I imagine that Moyes will not let them shirk in the game.

With Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe back, Spurs have the firepower up front and have had joy in getting midfielders forward against Everton in the past.  A committed performance might well earn Spurs a good point or even more if they get it right on the day.  Being a bit cautious, I think that Lennon's pace and the effort put in by Palacios and Jenas could well get Spurs a useful point which might not have looked likely too long ago ...

PREDICTION : -  Everton   1     Tottenham Hotspur   1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


EVERTON :  -   Phil Jagielka (knee); Ian Turner (ankle); Mikel Arteta (knee); Victor Anichebe (knee); Nuno Valente (knee); Yakubu (ankle);  - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Darren Bent (knee); Michael Dawson (ankle); - (-); - (-); - (-); - (-); 


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Everton   0   Tottenham Hotspur    0      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  Goodison Park
Saturday 9th May 2009
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,646
Referee :  Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Stand end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Mild, rainy
Teams : - 
Everton :

24  Howard

18  Neville (c)
  4  Yobo
  5  Lescott     
  3  Baines

32  Gosling (21  Osman 69)
17  Cahill

25  Fellaini
11  Jo (  9  Saha 69)

Unused subs: 
  1  Nash
  8  Castillo
14  Vaughan
15  Jacobsen
38  Wallace

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka

  2  Hutton     
  Modric (  9  Pavlyuchenko 81     )
  6  Huddlestone
  8  Jenas     
  3  Bale

15  Keane (c)

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini
  5  Bentley
16  Gunter
18  Campbell
21  Chimbonda
53  Rose

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  


Tottenham Hotspur


Cards : -  

Lescott (foul)  17
Pienaar (encroaching at a free kick) 18 


Tottenham Hotspur 

Hutton (foul)  56
Jenas (foul)  83
Pavlyuchenko (foul)  90 


Match Report : -  
With Everton the masters of pulling off narrow wins and Spurs nor recently renowned for winning on their travels, a point at Goodison Park was a good result, but in a scoreless match among a season of turmoil and goals in most games, it was a surprising outcome.  With events back in Honduras leaving Tottenham without Wilson Palacios, the "race for seventh place" is a lot less important than what had happened to his kidnapped and murdered brother.  Our thoughts go out to him and his family.

It appears that the sombre mood quickly spread throughout the ground, as the rain fell, the teams failed to play to their potential and the crowd settled back to enjoy the poor fare on display quietly.  Spurs had the better of the opening third of the match and Everton came back into it, but the scoring attempts were few and far between, with neither goalkeeper being over-worked and only the singing of the Spurs crowd disturbed the quiet.  Well, that and Mr. Mason's ever-blowing whistle.

If ever there was a referee who needed to watch either the Champions League semi-final first leg game at Old Trafford or the first leg of the Blue Square Premier play off semi-final between Torquay United and Histon, then Mr. Mason is your man.  Both games showed what can happen when referees accept that there will be contact in what is a physical game and that not all contact is a foul.  Even Rob Styles played some good advantages last week without needing to blow up every time a player touched another one.  Perhaps it was surprising that he failed to do anything when Rodwell almost kicked out at Hutton, when the Scot was on the floor.

With absences due to injury and other reasons, Redknapp set the team up in a 3-5-2 formation, deploying Hutton and Bale as wing backs and Corluka, King and Woodgate as the three centre-halves.  It seemed to upset the 4-4-2 that you expect from Everton.  The home side were content to throw crosses into the box all day, aiming for Jo or Cahill, with Lescott up from the back for set-pieces.  What they failed to do was to put Gomes under sufficient pressure with the direction of their balls into the area, as he was having a day when his decisiveness in coming for crosses was less than certain.

The first decent cross that was played into the Toffees box was one which caused some concern.  Bale's ball in from the left fell kindly for Robbie Keane, but Jospeh Yobo threw himself in the way to block the Irishman's eighth minute effort.  A couple of minutes later, the ball came in from the other side, when Hutton's low cross was stepped over by Keane and it took Joleon Lescott to get there first to kick it out for a corner ahead of Defoe.  With Gomes choosing to punch on most occasions, one of them went out to Modric, who passed to Defoe and although he was stopped in his progress, Bale picked up the loose ball and couldn't get the ball beyond Howard.

Tottenham's wing backs were pushing Everton back and the passing from the midfield were giving the home side plenty to think about, but the usual failing of not making the possession pay had reasserted itself in the Tottenham players' minds.  Too often good passages of play ended with crosses which did not make their intended target, which, with two short men up front was vital or the ball was picked off too cheaply.  One good move just after the quarter hour was put together and Hutton was brought down from behind by Lescott, which earned the Everton defender a yellow card.  Gareth Bale lined up the free-kick, but by the time he reached the ball, Steven Pienaar was less than five yards away, such was his desire to close down the shot.  He too got a yellow card.  With the wall back 10 yards, Bale took the second opportunity to hit the ball with some pace and it fizzed inches over the angle with Howard not even close to it.

Halfway through the half, Spurs put together a flowing move, with Gomes finding Modric, who linked with Jenas and Keane, before JJ put Keano in for a shot that was well blocked by Lescott.  This produce done of a string of corners, but again, nothing positive came from them, as they were easily cleared by the taller Everton defenders ... or where they were played in to the near post, some of the smaller home players.

Everton started to come into the game a bit more after the half hour, with Pienaar volleying at goal, but Woodgate blocking it and then the South African almost put Jo through on goal, but Ledley King got back to slide in and stop his shot.  Shortly afterwards, Baines headed into Fellaini's path, but the Belgian shanked his shot well wide.  Then right before half-time, Jack Rodwell burst forward to hit a 25 yard shot that flew powerfully at goal, but Gomes was comfortable in letting it go over the top.

The second half was a much more sedate affair.  Everton have a FA Cup Final on their minds, while Spurs were perhaps down about their team-mate's bad news and Mason wanted to interrupt play at every possible opportunity.  It didn't flow and Spurs moved to a more traditional 4-4-2, which saw it almost cancel out the Everton system. 

Cahill's header early in the second half was blocked by King and just before the hour, the Australian midfielder hit a shot across goal with Gomes diving to his right, but the effort went just wide.  The Spurs keeper almost gifted Everton a goal when he caught a corner, but then dropped it before getting it at the second attempt.  He had already given Spurs fans heart attacks with some nervous footwork in his own box, when Jo closed him down and he only just got past the striker.

The closest to a goal came in the 68th minute, when Gomes flapped and Gosling fired a shot down into the ground, which bounced up and hit the outside of the post on the way off.  it could have gone anywhere, but fortunately, it went into the ground, which took a lot of the pace off it and it wasn't likely to hit too many players, which a low shot might have done.

Strangely, the best Tottenham chance came just a minute later, with Corluka playing the ball infield to Jermaine Jenas and he put a short pass in to Jermain Defoe, with his back to the goal, on the edge of the D.  In one move, he spun around to hit a left foot shot inches wide of the goal, with Howard rooted to his line.  In the remaining 20 minutes, Everton had a coupe of long shots that went wide, while Spurs tried to see out time, leaving the game scoreless and the home crowd roundly booing the referee at the end.

There haven't been many 0-0 results for Tottenham this season, but with the defence improving at home and Tim Howard keeping a record 16th Everton clean sheet in a season, perhaps it was the most likely outcome here.  The new system seemed to provide the home team with problems and I guess Harry's comments about trying players out and learning a lot about them means that it was a worthwhile exercise.  But for those travelling that far, it seemed like a day trip to forget.  Unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons, that will not be the case for Wilson Palacios.





Reaction : -







Other League scores this weekend :
Fulham 3 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 2 Portsmouth 0 Saturday
Hull City 1 Stoke City 2 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 3 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
West Ham United 0 Liverpool 3 Saturday
Manchester United 2 Manchester City 0 Sunday
Arsenal 1 Chelsea 4 Sunday
Newcastle United 3 Middlesbrough 1 Monday
Other League scores this mid-week :
Wigan Athletic 1 Manchester United 2 Wednesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 36 27 5 4 67 24 86 +43
2 Liverpool 36 23 11 2 72 26 80 +46
3 Chelsea 36 23 8 5 63 22 78 +41
4 Arsenal 36 19 11 6 64 37 68 +27
5 Aston Villa 36 16 10 10 52 47 58 +5
6 Everton 36 15 12 9 50 36 57 +14
7 Fulham 36 13 11 12 38 31 50 +7
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 36 13 9 14 42 41 48 +1
9 West Ham United 36 13 9 14 39 41 48 -2
10 Manchester City 36 14 5 17 56 48 47 +8
11 Wigan Athletic 36 11 9 16 33 43 42 -10
12 Stoke City 36 11 9 16 35 51 42 -16
13 Bolton Wanderers 36 11 7 18 40 51 40 -11
14 Blackburn Rovers 36 10 10 16 40 58 40 -18
15 Portsmouth 36 9 11 16 35 55 38 -20
16 Sunderland 36 9 9 18 31 48 36 -17
17 Newcastle United 36 7 13 16 40 57 34 -17
18 Hull City 36 8 10 18 38 62 34 -24
19 Middlesbrough 36 7 10 19 26 54 31 -28
20 West Bromwich Albion 36 8 7 21 36 65 31 -29



Position before the match :  10th
Position after the match :   8th
Position after the weekend :  8th

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