COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 9th December 2012
VENUE Goodison Park






Everton have had an unusually good start to their season, being in the top eight even though they have been on a poor run of results of late.  However, a win at Goodison could put them level with Spurs on points, while a Tottenham victory would see them move level on points with fourth placed Chelsea.

In recent history, Spurs have enjoyed playing Everton, with a long unbeaten run of 13 games from 1997 to 2003, but without a win at Goodison in five years, it is perhaps time Spurs redressed that balance.  In the even more recent history, the Toffees have a decent record against us.

The success of their side has been built on David Moyes getting the most from shrewd signings and young players coming through.  There have not been many big money signings, who would immediately turn a team around, but the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Nikita Jelavic have become wanted men playing within the Moyes set-up.  Fellaini's presence in midfield and at set-pieces make him a difficult player to cope with, but Spurs might now be able to do that, but might have done so better with Michael Dawson's availability.  Jelavic plays on the shoulder of the last defender and thus has been caught offside more than any other player in the Premier League this season.  Not blessed with the greatest pace, it is his speed of thought and innovative finishing that makes him so dangerous.

The new signing of Kevin Mirallis has added a pacy wide option for Moyes' side and having had a relatively solid back four, other additions have been with a mind to being more offensive, with Darron Gibson and Steven Pienaar being installed in the midfield.  Pienaar has settled back into the team at Everton, after a spell at White Hart Lane where  he suffered injury and not being able to get into the side much.  A nimble player, who comes alive around the box, he is a dangerous creator, as well as scorer of goals. Gibson is more of a driving force in midfield, having the ability to win balls there and spring attacks from that.  The only drawback is that there are not too many defensive midfielders in the Everton squad these days.  Another player brought in on the cheap from the Glasgow Rangers debacle was Steven Naismith, who likes to get wide, but can also come infield to make his way into the box - arriving late and sometimes evading being picked up.

They are not entirely necessary as the back four of Baines, Jagielka, Distin and Hibbert all know each other's game well.  Hibbert and Distin are the two weaker links in the defensive chain.  Strong in the air, they may suffer on the ground and that will be Tottenham's best approach.  After Aaron Lennon's recent performances, his threat should keep Baines from going forward too much.  Tim Howard in the Everton goal has had an up and down time of things lately and may be lacking a bit of confidence, so some shots on target might test his mettle and he does have a habit of beating the ball out rather than holding it or pushing it wide, so players following in could find some joy from loose balls in the box.

Everton come into the game off the back of three straight 1-1 draws, while Spurs have four straight wins, with the most likely outcome another point apiece, with Everton, unbeaten at home since March, being better able to deal with a Spurs team without Gareth Bale.

PREDICTION Everton    1      Tottenham Hotspur   1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , history, etc.
Phil Neville (knee) and Victor Anichebe (hamstring) are out, while Kevin Mirallis (hamstring) and Seamus Coleman (knock) are doubts.
Spurs are still missing Michael Dawson (hamstring), Gareth Bale (hamstring), Scott Parker (Achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee) and Younes Kaboul (knee).  Some of these players may be available next week, but the bilk of the side that played on Thursday might will feature at Goodison Park, with Hugo Lloris returning in goal and Dembele coming back in to replace Tom Carroll.

Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.25 (highlights)  Also available online.

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Everton  2 (0)     
Premier League
Sunday 9th December 2012                              
Venue :  Goodison Park
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)

Kick off  15:00
Pienaar 90
Jelavic 90+2
Dempsey 76
Baines (foul on Lennon) 42
Osman (foul on Walker) 70
Jelavic (celebrating in crowd) 90+2

Defoe (dissent)  32 
Vertonghen (foul on Coleman)


Crowd :   36,494 Weather :  Cold
Referee :  Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. C. Breakspear; Mr. J. Flynn
Fourth Official :  Neil Swarbrick -
Everton kicked off and played towards the Park end in the first half.
Everton : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
24  Tim HOWARD

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

21  Leon OSMAN      (27  Apostolos VELLIOS 81)
25  Marouane FELLAINI
  4  Darron GIBSON
22  Steven PIENAAR 

  7  Nikita JELAVIC         (  5  Johnny HEITINGA 90+3)
11  Kevin MIRALLIS (
14  Steven NAISMITH 46)

Unused subs: 
  1  Jan MUCHA
  8  Bryan OVIEDO
20  Ross BARKLEY

  25  Hugo LLORIS

28  Kyle WALKER
33  Steven CAULKER
13  William GALLAS (c)
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN     

  2  Clint DEMPSEY 
19  Mousa DEMBELE (22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON 77)
  Aaron LENNON (  6  Tom HUDDLESTONE 72)

18  Jermain DEFOE      (27  Yago FALQUE 85)
10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL
31  Andros TOWN

Manager :  David Moyes Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Chang Beer Shirt sponsor :  Aurasma
Kit Supplier :  Le Coq Sportif Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

From a game that looked like it was heading for a draw, Tottenham took the lead and then somehow managed to lose that lead and end up forfeiting all three Points within a minute at the end of the match to leave Everton 2-1 home winners.

Spurs arrived on Merseyside having restored Gallas, Dembele and Lloris to the starting line-up, with Naughton, Carroll and Friedel making way.  AVB opted to go with the 4-4-2 formation and during the first half, it didn't really work, with neither forward doing that well to hold the ball up when Spurs hit the front.

Everton started the more cogent of the two outfits and had a shot from Osman blocked and Jelavic was denied when Lloris rushed out to make a well timed reach to knock the ball away form the striker's feet without fouling him.  All that Spurs had to show for their effort was a long range low, drilled shot from Mousa Dembele, who took the ball 30 yards out and the save wasn't too easy for Howard, with the ball keeping low and bouncing just in front of him.

Everton were making inroads down the right of their team, with Coleman getting forward and Spurs did not learn this from last season.  There were numerous moves on that flank and while most of them were blocked or the eventual crosses poor, the two goals late in the game came from this area.

Jan Vertonghen was given a yellow card for a foul on Coleman, who tried to get away down the Everton right, but the play should have been stopped before that when Fellaini stopped Dembele going forward by grabbing him and holding him to a standstill right in front of referee Friend.

Everton pushed on the Spurs goal just before half-time and there were good defensive tackles and blocks preventing the home side getting to close to goal, but the Goodison crowd were yelling for penalties.  They must be built differently on Merseyside, as handball was claimed wherever the ball hit the Spurs players in the penalty area.  Dempsey and Gallas were both claimed to have handled and while the Gallas one might have struck his hand, it was only because he couldn't get out of the way.  Dempsey was plum on his chest.

So, the teams turned around without scoring and Everton brought on Scot Steven Naismith to replace Kevin Mirallis, who had a hamstring problem coming into the game.

Straight after half-time, a free kick outside the D saw Leighton Baines smack the ball into the wall, but the rebound came to him and his follow-up shot was going well wide until substitute Naismith ran onto it and put the ball wide when in on goal.  Although it wasn't given, he looked well offside, but missed the target completely from eight yards out.

Some speculative shooting from Spurs - including a 40 yard effort from Gallas - brought a couple of corners, but nothing came from them.  Sandro's deflected shot that left Howard standing went a couple of yards wide and then Vertonghen's rocket shot from a short touched Walker free-kick stung the keeper's hands as he did well to cope with the swerve to push it over.  It was a good spell of pressure for Tottenham and Vertonghen's header from a corner wasn't too far away from Adebayor, who might have been able to divert it in.

Lennon had a particularly disappointing game, especially so when Spurs were missing Bale on the other flank and needed some pace to test the Toffees on the breakaway.  It was not a surprise when he was replaced by Tom Huddlestone, who is surely not doing his bit for Tottenham's traders by refusing to have his hair cut until he scores for Spurs again.

After a  passage of passing across the Spurs penalty area and Tottenham's players being unable to clear it effectively, the ball ran to Leon Osman, who hit a low shot and Lloris had strong enough wrists to push the ball out and well wide of the goal, as it looked like it might creep in inside the post.

When Spurs moved forward in their next attack, Clint Dempsey got the ball and looked to be going nowhere, after he received a pass from Huddlestone 25 yards from goal.  He looked to shoot and while it often ends disappointingly, this time, it was difficult to tell where the ball might have ended up, as it hit Sylvain Distin who was in front of him and looped up and then dipped down over him and inside the post to ripple the net. It was an unlikely goal, but a welcome one and the way that Tottenham had controlled the ball and the play to a certain extent contrasted with the more direct style of Everton.

Five minutes from the end, a tackle on the right hand side saw the ball go across the pitch near the halfway line to the left hand side.  Moving the ball to Sigurdsson, on as a sub for Dembele, the Icelander opened his body up on the edge of the box and curled a shot that dipped over Howard and rattled the crossbar.

Just before the 90 minute mark, Spurs failed to clear a lumped ball into the box and when it went out right, Steven Pienaar raced in at the far post to power a header low past Lloris from 15 yards out.  It was a poor goal to concede and when Spurs started to sit back and allow Everton to come onto them, the ball would not be cleared to stay away from the goal and the ball kept coming back.

A minute later, it came back again and ended up in the Spurs net again.  Another lumped ball forward, substitute Vellios jumped with Caulker and the ball went through to Jelavic who prodded the ball through to beat Lloris from five yards out.

To say this was typical Tottenham is not an understatement.  By removing Defoe and replacing him with the inexperienced Falque, it left Spurs with no out ball and it was not Falque's fault, but the team suddenly panicked and then fell asleep at the back. With three points thrown away, we must look to cut out the unnecessary mistakes.  For the first goal, Caulker kicked the ball out, when it looked like it would run through to Lloris.  Then for the second, Gallas let Jelavic run in behind him without knowing he was there.

Small mistakes, but ones which could make a big difference come the middle of May.

Kirk Hammerton



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What you thought
Benny The Ball Why is it that a game is never over with Tottenham Hotspur ?

The day that we are able to wrap up wins when the other team haven't been in the game much will be the day that we win the league.  And that could be this season according to someone who posted a message on line that Spurs would be top if the games this season had ended after 80 minutes.

I heard on TalkSport (so a large pinch of salt is needed) that this wasn't true and Spurs would have been second, but even if that is true, it would leave us well placed for a title challenge and a better bet for a Champions League place than the fifth position we sit in at the moment.

The disappointing thing is that we looked comfortable at 1-0 up and then it all went pear shaped as it got closer to the end of the match.  Some sensible defending and maybe pushing a bit higher up the park and thus further away from our own goal might have helped preserve that lead a bit more.

The noted high line disappeared, as we backed off towards our own 18 yard line and it was nobody's fault but our own that Everton got two incredibly late goals within such a short time. 

Having been in this position already this season, you have to worry that they are not putting the wrong right.

Andy Briggs From the outset I would like to say that I am fully committed to supporting all Spurs players.

I think you can tell that there is a 'but' coming and you would be right.

I believe I have spotted a pattern in the Tottenham (AVB Strategy) I don't want to call it a flaw or start a new Gareth BALE hoodoo BUT.

When we bring on Tom Huddlestone as a sub we concede a goal soon afterwards.  Usually a goal we can little afford to lose.

I don't have the resources to analyze this supposition/observation.

Can anyone either confirm or knock back my observation, as I am starting to worry when I see Tom listed as a sub.

Yours in Football

Andy Briggs.


Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 2 West Bromwich Albion 0 Saturday
Aston Villa 0 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Southampton 1 Reading 0 Saturday
Sunderland 1 Chelsea 3 Saturday
Swansea City 3 Norwich City 4 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 2 Queens Park Rangers 2 Saturday
West Ham United 2 Liverpool 3 Sunday
Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3 Sunday
Fulham 2 Newcastle United 1 Monday
Sunderland 3 Reading 0 Tuesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 16 13 0 3 40 23 39 +17
2 Manchester City 16 9 6 1 30 14 33 +17
3 Chelsea 16 8 5 3 27 16 29 +11
4 Everton 16 6 8 2 27 20 26 +7
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 16 8 2 6 29 25 26 +4
6 West Bromwich Albion 16 8 2 6 24 21 26 +3
7 Arsenal 16 6 6 4 25 15 24 +10
8 Swansea City 16 6 5 5 26 21 23 +7
9 Stoke City 16 5 8 3 15 13 23 +2
10 Liverpool 16 5 7 4 22 20 22 +2
11 West Ham United 16 6 4 6 21 20 22 +1
12 Norwich City 16 6 7 3 17 24 22 -7
13 Fulham 15 4 5 6 25 26 17 -1
14 Newcastle United 15 4 5 6 17 21 17 -4
15 Sunderland 16 3 7 6 17 21 16 -4
16 Southampton 16 4 3 9 22 32 15 -10
17 Aston Villa 16 3 6 7 12 23 15 -11
18 Wigan Athletic 16 4 3 9 17 30 15 -13
19 Reading 16 1 6 9 19 32 9 -12
20 Queens Park Rangers 16 0 7 9 13 29 7 -16

Position before match :  4th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th

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