OPPONENTS Everton at Goodison Park
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Sunday 23rd December 2018
PREVIEW Eleventh placed Everton have spent a lot of money funding new manager Marco Silva's new era at Goodison following the failed experiments with Sam Allardyce and Ronald Koeman, but they are yet to reap the full benefits of the investment. 

Striker Richarlison was well known to Silva, having bought him when at Watford, so was less of a risk, but his recent form of four goals in the last four home games shows that he can be a threat, although his temperament might undermine his performances on occasion.  Big money signing Jordan Pickford is the England number one, but his error against Liverpool recently, where he palmed a ball back into play handing the Reds a last minute winner does raise a few question marks about his decision making.  He is also not the best with the ball at his feet.  They paid Barcelona the best part of 45 million to bring in Yerra Mina, the Colombian centre-half who had a good World Cup and former PSG left back Lucas Digne, who seems to be finding some form now he has settled in at Everton.  Their other signing cost nothing and that was Bernard from Shakhtar Donetsk.  A Brazilian midfielder, who Spurs had looked at a couple of years ago, he is strong on the ball and has a good eye for a goal-making pass.

Everton have also used the loan system and have Chelsea central defender Kurt Zouma and Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes for the season.  Tottenham are said to be interested in Gomes again, after being linked with a move for him during the summer.  A strong midfielder, who has a touch of skill, he is starting to have an impact on his side's play having adapted to their system.  But midfield is an area where they have a number of options.  Our former Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson is still knocking in goal for them, Senegalese international Idrissa Gueye is the ball-winner, young Academy graduate Tom Davies has been touted as a potential England cap of the future and Morgan Schneiderlin can also add some steel to the middle of the team.

With Richarlison scoring the bulk of their goals, some others need to chip in and this is perhaps where they lose out.  Dominic Calvert-Lewin is an up and coming striker, who has not maintained his early promise; Ademola Lookman is another prospect, who we looked at when he was at Charlton, but doesn't seem to win favour with the manager; Cenk Tosun, the Turkish forward cost a lot of money, with some return, as he makes himself felt with his physical approach, but he has not scored as regularly as the Toffees might have hoped and Theo Walcott has been a general disappointment since he scored a hat-trick for England against Croatia ten years ago.  Oumar Niasse is also at the club, but doesn't seemed to be considered for selection.

Defensively,  there is a mix of young and old.  Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines have been there for years, while Zouma, Mason Holgate and Jonjoe Kenny are younger players who are adding some legs to the elder generation.  Mina has yet to be fully integrated into the team and Michael Keane needs an older head alongside him to settle him into a central defensive pairing that will develop an understanding.

Everton try and play football the way that Silva wants them to, but injury, suspension and player's form had forced changes to prevent a settled side being established.  They are advocates of pushing full backs forward or hitting wide-men early to provide service into the box for Richarlison.  He has caused us problems in the past (Sanchez getting sent off at Watford  last season) and our defence need to be on their toes to pick him up.  Also, the threat from set-pieces is present with Zouma using his height and Sigurdsson's delivery can both be dangerous.

Spurs are in good form and with a heavy Christmas programme, Pochettino will rotate the squad, but have the insurance policy of those left out on the bench, so I think that the home side will want to put on a good show for their fans just before the festive period, but Tottenham still might have the edge to get the points that mean we will be safe from relegation.

PREDICTION Everton    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
Premier League Kick off 16:00
Everton  2 (1)  
Tottenham Hotspur  6 (3)

Walcott  20m  18s
Sigurdsson  50m 31s


Son  26m 21s
Dele  35m 00s
Kane  41m 19s
Eriksen  47m 59s
Son  60m 42s
Kane  73m 28s

Crowd :   39,319 Weather :  Chilly
Referee :  Paul Tierney (Lancashire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Adam Nunn; Mr. Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth Official :  Chris Kavanagh  
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + ? minutes.


Trippier (foul on Calvert-Lewin) 33
Eriksen (Not retreating 10 yards) 71


Everton : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Jordan PICKFORD

12  Lucas DIGNE
  4  Michael KEANE
  Kurt ZOUMA
23  Seamus COLEMAN (c)

11  Theo WALCOTT   
26  Tom DAVIES
  Gylfi SIGURDSSON  (14  Cenk TOSUN  83)
  8  Andre GOMES  (  2  Morgan SCHNEIDERLIN  53)


Unused subs: 
  Yerry MINA
19  Oumar NIASSE


    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
33  Ben DAVIES

17  Moussa SISSOKO  (27  Lucas MOURA  83)
  8  Harry WINKS 

  7  Heung-Min SON      (52  Oliver SKIPP  79)
20  DELE Alli    (11  Erik LAMELA  46)
Christian ERIKSEN      

10  Harry KANE   

Unused subs: 
16  Kyle WALKER
  3  Danny ROSE
1  Juan FOYTH

Manager :  Marco Silva Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   SportPesa Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Umbro Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Tottenham's fine away form continued with an expected Christmas bonus handed out to them by Everton lax marking and some super finishing from the Spurs players putting three points and a 6-2 win in the sleigh for the trip home to start the hectic festive period in fine style.  Everton could not live with Spurs and the gap might be eight place in the table, but it might as well be eighty miles, as the home side were handed the lead before Spurs surged back to take advantage of a error at the back by Everton and then race away as the Spurs fans sung their hearts out like a cockerel chorus !!

It was a little changed side that took the field at Goodison Park and they took to the game moving the ball about smoothly as Evertonís lone striker Calvert-Lewin was in front of a five-man midfield that left is time on the ball at the back. It did mean that midfield was a bit congested and the idea for the home side was to    crowd Tottenham out and take possession as they forced hurried passing. Some loose touched by Spurs let the Toffees have possession, but they won the ball back and when playing out of the back, Everton were looking for the longer ball to find Calvert-Lewin trying to get behind the Spurs defence with his pace.

The tenth minute saw the first attempt on goal and it came from Everton.  A move on the right saw a cross pulled back for Richarlison, who had a clear header, but put it wide, although it almost fell at the far post for a couple of blue shirts just couldnít reach it. Spurs hit back with a vengeance. A run down the left by Son produced a ball across that Eriksen just got a toe to, but couldnít control and then Kane had an air shot to a ball in from the right. Trippier drove the ball back in, but Pickford saved and this was after Sonís vision picked out Kane running beyond Keane and as Pickford came out, Harry took the ball down neatly, but his lob went two feet over.

Fifteen minutes in, Kane ran onto a through ball into the box and was clattered by Zouma. The referee didnít give anything, but on TV replays, it showed Kane got the first touch and Zouma went  in recklessly. Eriksen was pulling the strings with passes that cut out Everton players and it was keeping the home defenders on their toes. Kane struck a 25 yard free kick well wide, as it dipped enough, but didnít curl back at goal. Then, against the run of play, a bouncing ball went over Winksí head and Sigurdsson threaded a pass through to Calvert-Lewin, who pulled the ball across and Walcott ran in unmarked to squeeze a shot past Lloris at his near post.  Spurs would have to come from behind to salvage anything from this game.

The game was furious, with Kane flashing a shot over from 20 yards out, then Calvert-Lewin heading in, but he had pushed Sanchez before meeting the cross. Next time the ball hit the net, it did count. Eriksen played a pass to Kane on Halfway line and his first time ball saw Zouma and Pickford go for it outside the area and the ball bounced off them to Heung-Min Son, who was just inside the side of the box on the right and took a look at the goal before putting away a really difficult half-volley to  equalise. It was a fine piece of finishing and what had been missing from Tottenhamís build-up play so far. Walcott showed his true class when he had space in the box to line up his shot and put it high into the crowd. Harry Kane still didnít have his sights on goal quite right, as a good move between him, Dele and Son ended with a shot that looked to bend into the far post, but to went a couple of feet wide. Perhaps they were just sighters for efforts to come ? A neat one-two between Sissoko and Dele saw the Frenchman play it left to Son, who was into the  ox on his own. He drove a low shot at goal, which Pickford got a good hand to getting it to the penalty spot, but Dele had continued his run and buried a low right foot shot that flew under the keeper to give Spurs a lead.

Spurs were powering through the Everton midfield, which was leaving a lot of space, which begged the question as to where they all were ? There were enough of them, but they were chasing shadows as the game went towards half-time. Sonís trickery forced Zouma to tread on his heel as he turned the Chelsea loanee, which gave Spurs a free-kick three yards outside the Everton box, right of centre. Trippier and Eriksen stood over it and Kieran took it. He bent it over the end of the wall and although he beat Pickfordís dive, he Saw the ball come back out off the foot of the post. As it went into the middle of the goal, it found Harry Kane waiting for it and he opened his body to ensure that he put the rebound into the net to make it 3-1.  It was nearly 4-1 when Dele was played through in the box, but he was offside. That didnít stop  Pickford going in with excessive force and how the referee didnít at least book him is questionable, having booked Trippier for putting his   foot in Calvert-Lewinís chest when the Everton striker came in behind him. It was a booking, but if that was, what was Pickfordís challenge ? The Everton fans booed their team off, but knowing the history of this fixture, there had been a fair few 3-3 draws, although there had also been a 10-4 to Spurs !! The challenge by Pickford had obviously taken its toll on Dele, who failed to return for the second half, with Erik Lamela replacing him.

The half was only three minutes old when Trippierís ball to Kane put him clear on the right and while he could get a shot away, he crossed the ball that was cleared to an on-running Eriksen, who buried it right footed from 20 yards out to beat Colemanís attempted block and Pickfordís despairing dive to make the gap even bigger. It wasnít going to be 3-3 now, but would it end up 10-4 ?

Five minutes into the half, Gylfi Sigurdsson took Richarlisonís pass and ran from left to right across  our defence, before shooting low past Llorisí right hand to close the score to 4-2. It was a wide open  game and looked like it would be the team who took their chances who might come out on top. Gomes, who had been pretty anonymous went off injured to be replaced by the more physical Schneiderlin, whose passing looked rusty as he tried to pick up the pace of the game. As for Spurs, they were passing it sharper and a one-two between Lamela and Eriksen took Davies out of the game, leaving Erik to run at the defence and release Son between Keane and Zouma just onside. He took the fizzed in pass well and left himself one on one with the keeper, as the two defenders appealed for offside. He steadied himself and shot between Pickfordís legs to make it 5-2.

Kane nearly sent Lamela away through the middle, but the keeper was out of his box to reach it first.  The game was going end to end, but with no end product and despite their position in the game, Everton showed no urgency ion their play. Lamelaís touch was taking the ball away from him but Spurs had plenty of attacking options. They worked the ball from left to right and then right to left, where Alderweireld played a ball down the line to Davies. His first-time touch sent Son away down the line and a low ball into the heart of the area picked out Harry Kane, who left Zouma trailing behind him as he slid in to guide the ball past Pickfordís dive to his left. With over a quarter of an hour left, it might have been a question of how many.  The wide blue spaces on the terraces started to match the space in the blue shorts when Spurs went forward. It looked like being a blue Christmas for the Everton fans ! The score-line allowed Poch to rest Son and bring on Olly Skipp with just over 10 minutes left.

Sigurdsson fired over the top and Kane had a shot blocked, before Gylfi struck a shot that Sanchez got a block on and Lloris dropped on it to safely stop it. It was Sigurssonís last action, as they brought on Tosun to try and batter the Spurs defence, while Lucas Moura took over from Sissoko.

Although the score was 6-2, Lamela was loose with his passing and decision making, which did spark a little revival by the home team, but they only had a Bernard shot blocked to show for it. A sweeping one touch passing move went from back to front where Lamela was brought down by Digne on front of a half empty Everton crowd.  Eriksenís free-kick was driven in and deflected wide for a corner, which preceded a long period of passing the ball around with Everton not that bothered in winning it back. It was played diagonally eight to Kane, who tried to hit it on the volley, but it sliced away for a goal kick.

A late Everton corner was proving difficult to clear, but there was no threat, as Walcott took an air shot and the danger passed. Schneiderlin struck a fierce volley that Skipp blocked as close range and the time ticked away.  A few hardy home fans had remained to clap Tottenham off sportingly. 

The game turned out to be a much easier victory than I thought it might be, as Everton's lack of spatial awareness left gaps that our forwards and midfielders exploited with their runs and passes.  Everton's formation was very loose and the fact that they packed the midfield with five men meant that space should have been at a premium, but with Gomes and Walcott not interested in tracking players, it left avenues to penetrate into their defensive third and players could run unhindered onto the ball from deep positions.  The running of Son and the hold-up play by Kane gave Everton problems they were unable to answer and with some better finishing, it could quite easily have been 10-4 at the end.

Once more, the spotlight shines on Pochettino after this victory, as United won 5-1 away yesterday at Cardiff and the result will be compared to that one.  It would be great to hear Mauricio say he wasn't going to leave, but it is a business and while he has moved on before, you would hope that the culture and relationships he has built up a the club might persuade him to stay and see the project through.

With 14 wins already this season (and no draws), the points total of 42 used to be a thing of late April or even May in years gone by.  I wasn't old enough to be blessed in seeing the Double side, but the football our current team is playing blows teams away and 6-2 is a Christmas Day score from yesteryear and it sends hope that we might be able to challenge for the title with the money rich clubs.  We are not saying we can win it, as we have learned from the two previous seasons that an exeptional season by another opponent might mean that they are uncatchable.  Spurs will concentrate on what they are doing and see where they end up come May.

If they can replicate this sort of performance on a regular basis, it will be a hell of a season anyway.

Paul Stubbs

Match facts

Moussa Sissoko made his 100th Spurs appearance.

Harry Kane became only the second player in Premier League history to score two goals in each of four consecutive games against the same opponent (with Michael Owen being the other).

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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Liverpool 2 Friday
Arsenal 3 Burnley 1 Saturday
Bournemouth 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Saturday
Cardiff City 1 Manchester United 5 Saturday
Chelsea 0 Leicester City 1 Saturday
Huddersfield Town 1 Southampton 3 Saturday
Manchester City 2 Crystal Palace 3 Saturday
Newcastle United 0 Fulham 0 Saturday
West Ham United London 0 Watford 2 Saturday



League Table  2018-19
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 18 15 3 0 39 7 48 +32
2 Manchester City 18 14 2 2 50 13 44 +37
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 18 14 0 4 37 18 42 +19
4 Chelsea 18 11 4 3 35 15 37 +20
5 Arsenal 18 11 4 3 40 24 37 +16
6 Manchester United 18 8 5 5 34 30 29 +4
7 Watford 18 8 3 7 25 25 27 0
8 Bournemouth 18 8 2 8 27 28 26 -1
9 Leicester City 18 7 4 7 22 21 25 +1
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 7 4 7 19 21 25 -2
11 Everton 18 6 6 6 26 28 24 -2
12 West Ham United London 18 7 3 8 25 27 24 -2
13 Brighton & Hove Albion 18 6 3 9 20 26 21 -6
14 Crystal Palace 18 5 3 10 17 25 18 -8
15 Newcastle United 18 4 5 9 14 22 17 -8
16 Southampton 18 3 6 9 19 33 15 -14
17 Cardiff City 18 4 2 12 18 38 14 -20
18 Burnley 18 3 3 12 16 36 12 -20
19 Huddersfield Town 18 2 4 12 11 31 10 -20
20 Fulham 18 2 4 12 16 42 10 -26


Position before match :  3rd
Position after match :  3rd
Position after the weekend :  3rd


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