|OPPONENTS||Everton at Goodison Park|
|DATE||Sunday 23rd December 2018|
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
|PREDICTION||Everton 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Premier League||Kick off 16:00|
Tottenham Hotspur 6 (3)
Son 26m 21s
|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|
12 Lucas DIGNE
11 Theo WALCOTT
29 Dominic CALVERT-LEWIN
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Moussa SISSOKO (27
Lucas MOURA 83)
Oliver SKIPP 79)
10 Harry KANE
|Manager : Marco Silva||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : SportPesa||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Umbro||Kit Supplier : Nike|
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 !!
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.
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 ?
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.
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|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Bournemouth||2||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||Saturday|
|Cardiff City||1||Manchester United||5||Saturday|
|Manchester City||2||Crystal Palace||3||Saturday|
|West Ham United London||0||Watford||2||Saturday|
|League Table 2018-19|
|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|
Position before match :
Position after match : 3rd
Position after the weekend : 3rd
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