COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 30th November 2014
VENUE White Hart Lane






A Sunday game after a Europa League tie does not bode well, but Everton are in the same boat and have had a trek back from Germany to boot.  While the Merseyside side sit one place above us, they are on a good run and despite some injury worries, they are playing well after a dodgy start to the season.

Primarily, their strength is up front, with Romelu Lukaku, Samuel Eto'o, Kevin Mirallis and Steven Naismith, although the Scot has to prove that he is fully match fit.  Lukaku is a powerful striker both in the sir and on the ground.  He brings other players into the play and knows how to finish, so will need to be closely marked and while Eto'o is getting to the veteran stage of his career (according to Mourinho), he has proven that he can still play a part in a fluid attack and knows where to be when the ball needs to be popped into the net.  Mirallis is a tall (nominally) wide player, but he joins in with the attacks and can deliver a good finish as well as a good cross.  He has the power and pace to burst through from deeper positions and plays a role I would like to see Chadli in, as they both vie for the same place in the Belgian team.  Another option includes Arouna Kone, although he might go out on loan following a long spell out injured.

The Everton goalkeepers are Tim Howard Joel Robles.  Howard had a fine World Cup, but had suffered a little on his return to domestic duty, but he appears to have picked up his game again and is a good shot-stopper, but can be drawn out of position, when he loses his bearings on where his goal is.  Robles was at Wigan Athletic and won a FA Cup with them, but he is a little more suspect than Howard and gets few opportunities to get first team action that if he is called upon, he may be vulnerable. 

With Leighton Baines doubtful and Bryan Oviedo and Antolin Alcaraz almost certainly out, the Toffees defence looks to be in a sticky situation.  They still have veterans Tony Hibbert and Sylvain Distin, who both are still solid, but might lack the youthful legs that John Stones would have added to the back line if he hadn't been out injured too.  Therefore, it may fall to the attacking right back Seamus Coleman to give the pace at the back, as centre half Phil Jagielka is not as quick as he was, albeit a good tackler and very good in the air.  Youngster Luke Garbutt, who made his debut in midweek is a confident lad, but  how he fares in the Premier League remains to be seen.

While Gareth Barry is having a resurgence in form according to Roberto Martinez, he is not yet forcing his way back into the England set-up and in recent gamers against Manchester City, where to he moved to Goodison Park from, he has shown that he is vulnerable to pace and has resorted to some crude tactics to stop people getting away from him.  Ross Barkley is the country's next great hope, but he has been accused of not getting back to defend once he goes up-field, which could leave Everton open to counter-attack, which is ironic, as they play that way too.   Leon Osman has been a great servant to the club and has always been a player who can pop up and score a goal by supporting the front men.  He has energy and an eye to find space, so will need to be picked up if he makes late runs into the box. 

Christian Atsu was a player Spurs had their eye on and the Ghanaian winger joined Everton on loan from Chelsea who signed him from FC Porto. The pacy winger has been used sparingly and may not make the bench for this match, as Everton are reasonably well stocked in midfield, with former Glasgow Celtic man Aiden McGeady above him in the pecking order.  McGeady is a tricky winger who likes to cut inside and hit shots at goal, proving accurate in his finishing, both for club and country. There may be a place for Serbian Muhamed Besic, who is a tough tackler, as Everton could be missing Darron Gibson and James McCarthy from their midfield, with former Spur Steven Pienaar also doubtful.  Besic got caught out trying to be too clever in his first appearance, which gave a goal away, but he hasn't been a regular starter, although he was in the line-up on Thursday in Germany.

For Tottenham it will be a test against a well-drilled side who work hard and have players who can turn a game.  At the moment, Spurs don't look like a side like that, but they sit mid-table, just three points off the top six, but I can't see Tottenham winning this one.  A draw might be the most likely outcome, as Spurs need to find the spark of creation to get Roberto Soldado scoring and to surprise the opposition.  It might be possible, as Everton will be missing players, but when their players come into replace absentees, they drop into the role that has been vacated, whereas Spurs do not have direct, like-for-like alternatives.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    1         Everton    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul, Danny Rose and Etienne Capoue will all be assessed to se e if they can play on Sunday after returning to training following injuries.  Kyle Naughton is suspended for the second of his two match ban, but Federico Fazio is available after being banned form Thursday's Europa League match.  Kyle Walker's return from his hip operation is still a few week's away. 
Steven Naismith, Gareth Barry, Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar all face late fitness tests to see if they are ready to feature at White Hart Lane.  Definitely out are John Stones, Darron Gibson, Bryan Oviedo and Antolin Alcaraz.  Arouna Kone could be on the bench after a long spell out injured.

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Tottenham Hotspur  2 (2)                                                                   Everton  1 (1)
Premier League
Sunday 30th November 2014                                                                                                         Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
Eriksen 21m 56s
Soldado 45m + 1m 06s
Mirallis 15m 24s
Chiriches (foul on Coleman)  57
Lamela  (foul on Baines)  88
Davies (foul on Lukaku)  90
Bentaleb (foul on Barry)  91
Eriksen (foul on McGeady)  93


Mirallis (dissent) 44



Crowd :   35,901 Weather :  Mild, dry
Referee :  Michael Oliver (Northumberland) Assistant Referees :  Mr. D. England; Mr. L. Betts
Fourth Official :  Neil Swarbrick -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Everton : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS (c)

  6  Vlad CHIRICHES       (15  Eric DIER  70)
21  Federico FAZIO
33  Ben DAVIES      

38  Ryan MASON
42  Nabil BENTALEB     

  7  Aaron LENNON  (11  Erik LAMELA 61     )
18  Harry KANE
23  Christian ERIKSEN      

  9  Roberto SOLDADO    (  8  PAULINHO 81)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
  4  Younes KABOUL

19  Mousa DEMBELE
22  Nacer CHADLI

  24  Tim HOWARD

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

18  Gareth BARRY
  5  Samuel ETO'O  (21  Leon OSMAN 61)
20  Ross BARKLEY
17  Muhamed BESIC

11  Kevin MIRALLIS         (  7  Aiden McGEADY 61)
10  Romelu LUKAKU

Unused subs: 
  1  Joel ROBLES

  2  Tony HIBBERT
19  Christian ATSU
22  Steven PIENAAR
29  Luke GARBUTT

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Roberto Martinez
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Chang
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Umbro
Match report

With a sweep of his right foot, Roberto Soldado changed the perception of him being a goal-scorer who had lost the magic touch and in the process his goal was the deciding one of the contest putting Spurs into a 2-1 lead that lasted to the end against a disappointing and tetchy Everton side.

On a run of unbeaten games, Everton were perhaps favourites and when their line-up was announced with Baines, Coleman and Barkley all pronounced fit, Spurs looked to have a tough task on their hands.  Little did they know that the toughest opponent would be the highly disappointing performance put in by the referee Michael Oliver.  One of the more reputable officials in the Premier League, he had a mare today, ending up booking five Spurs players, which is fine if that was what he believed suitable punishment, but once more the lack of consistency in his application of the laws of the game allowed Everton players to escape the same offences unpunished.

Fazio returned after European suspension and Davies, Chiriches and Aaron Lennon retained their places in the side from last Thursday's win over Partizan Belgrade.  Kane played as a support striker from an attacking midfield role and Soldado a lone striker up front.  The two work well together, but usually it is Kane supported by Soldado, so we would have to see how this worked for Poch.

Spurs kicked off and made a decent start, moving the bal and moving into space well.  Working the ball wide, Spurs found space to cross the ball, but most were to Everton heads or goalkeeper's hands.  Everton's first effort came when Baines pulled a ball back to England wonder-boy Ross Barkley, who fired way too high from just outside the box.  Barkley then tried to barrel through the Spurs defence and without meaning it and taking a couple of touches off Spurs men, he set up Lukaku (standing offside)  for a shot that Lloris took well low down.  However, when Everton won a free kick out on the left it was cleared when it was played in, but it feel to Kevin Mirallis, who beat Soldado to the ball and curled a powerful shot in off the underside of the bar in Hugo's top right corner.  It was a fine goal and unfortunately, they all seem to be going in against us at the moment.

The goal set Spurs back a bit and Everton knocked the ball around comfortably, with Spurs chasing them down and making a few unforced errors.  While Tottenham had a good start and played quickly, they had not troubled Howard in the Everton goal.  That was until the 20th minute, when the old saying about 'you won't win the raffle if you don't buy a ticket' came true.  Spurs broke on Everton and when Harry Kane carried the ball forward, he let fly with a low shot from 25 yards, slightly out to the right.  The shot failed to carry any real threat, but Howard could only dive to his right to knock it wide, but it found the Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen running in to delicately dink the ball over a challenge and the prone keeper, with Gareth Barry showing his lack of speed by not reacting at all to the ball as he guarded the goal-line and let it go in to make it 1-1.  Barry is a Spurs fan, but I wouldn't have thought I would see anything like this in a match !!

After Eriksen's free-kick hit the post last week, it appears that our players have been told to chase in and Stambouli profited on Thursday and now Christian did to get Tottenham back into the match.

Tottenham picked off the ball at the back with Jan reading the play, and from there the side pressed forward and Kane was running left to right across goal and produced a clever chip over Howard, but he needed a little more angle on it to find the far side of the goal rather than the roof of the net.  Harry wasn't finished and put in a shot that Howard could claim comfortably, then the Everton goalkeeper was stood still as Eriksen hit a shot from 18 yards that took a deflection and ended up missing the goal by a yard.  Everton did get Lloris working when Coleman cut inside from the right wing to hit a low shot that Hugo took well, but at the other end, Besic got a header back to Howard all wrong and Soldado close don it, but couldn't get a controlled touch on his effort as he stretched at the ball dropping over his shoulder.

The game got a bit heated when Mirallis didn't like being chased back and tackled by Aaron Lennon, so much so that he fouled the winger and then hoofed the ball away, earning a booking for it and then he continued his back-chat to the referee ... who did nothing else.  But Soldado's tie was nigh.  Harry Kane chased down Barry as he dawdled on the ball and took it from the former England international.  This set three men on their way to goal, running shoulder to shoulder.  And they were soon joined by Kane, regaining his feet, but it was Lennon who had the ball and as the one Everton defender faced them, Aaron slipped the ball right to Soldado and Robbie coolly stroked the ball past Howard as he dived one way and the ball went the other to hit the net with a release of emotion from both player and crowd.  The majority of Spurs fans desperately want the Spanish striker to do well and the "He came from sunny Spain" song rang out in appreciation, as he enjoyed his celebration with the rest of the team.

Coming just before half time, it was a good time to score and send Spurs into the dressing room on an up and Everton looking at themselves at their part for losing a goal that put them behind after they had taken the lead.

The Spurs crowd were entertained at half-time with an interview with the great Steve Perryman, whose love for the club shine through and it was so good to see him back at the Lane after the health scares he has had over the last few years.  And interesting to hear his views on Garth Crooks too !!

The second half started with Tottenham playing at a good tempo, but Eto'o made one of his few contributions to the game from a deep lying midfield position, hitting a shot form inside the box, but skewing it so wide, but it only just managed to go off for a goal-kick and not a throw-in.  Spurs did get moving forward with Soldado glancing a header wide, Kane forcing Howard to save his shot and Mason's pacy cross was touched by Fazio at the near post, but he just didn't get enough on it to direct it at goal.  Lukaku curled a weak effort straight at Lloris and a Spurs free-kick from Eriksen hit the wall before he put the ball into the path of Mason running onto it, but firing it way over.  And that was where Vlad Chiriches effort ended up when he tried an effort from over 25 yards out.

Tottenham were breaking up Everton's moves and breaking on them, but failed to make the most of these opportunities.  Eriksen was thwarted by COleman's block and then Bentaleb's pass through to Kane was just too heavy.  With twenty minutes to go, Barkley produced his best moment, slipping a pass through the Spurs defence in the area to put Coleman in on the right, but Lloris flew off his line and did enough to put the Irish international off and make him shoot wide.  It was a good opening, but the failure to make the most of their chances did cost Everton in the long run.

The yellow cards started coming Tottenham's way with 86 minutes gone, with Lamela picking up one for a tackle on Baines, which didn't look too bad apart form the England defender holding his ankle.  It may have been for a number of fouls Erik had made since coming on, but it was soon followed by one for Ben Davies on Lukaku, Bentaleb on Barry and then Eriksen on McGeady as Spurs lost their composure a little and they just needed to calm down to see out the victory.  And this they did without too much trouble, as Everton went high and long to Lukaku and Fazio did well, although there were big shouts for a penalty when the Belgian striker headed on and the ball appeared to hit the Argentine defender's hand up in the air.  It hit his hand rather than he stopped the ball deliberately, so it wasn't given and neither was Besic's arm wrapped around Kane's as the Spurs man ran into the box and was dragged down.  Inconsistently consistent ?

As it was Spurs held out and towards the end, Kane took the ball into the corner and Besic blatantly ran straight into the back of him, knocking him flying.  No booking.  Eriksen pulled McGeady back as he ran through, receiving a yellow card, but this had happened to Spurs players in the first half, but Oliver booked none of them.  Consistency whether it is the first or last minute ?  I don't think so.  Things were getting a bit silly, as every time an Everton player hit the ground, Oliver got his yellow card out and we got four bookings in the last five minutes.  The only good thing about his lack of consistency is that he didn't book Lamela for a foul, the sort of which he did book him for about three minutes before.

The final whistle went and the Spurs crowd celebrated and it was just a little sad at the end that the Everton fans couldn't accept being beaten without causing a rumpus with stewards and fans being got at.  The Good Doctor suggested to me that there might have been a 40" TV in there somewhere.  But for Everton in their change kit, it turned out to be a very black Sunday.

Tottenham moved the ball much quicker today and that suits their play and makes it a lot more difficult for the other side to close you down, when they are chasing the ball.  Lloris looked to release people wide with throw-outs as soon as he got the ball and that also put the onus on moving the ball into Everton's half quickly, making them turn and run back towards their own goal.  There was some fine one touch football, mainly involving our Academy recruits and this again put the focus on Everton to try and get the ball off them.  The partnership of Bentaleb and Mason seemed to work well as the defensive two; winning tackles and distributing the ball well.  Kane ran himself into the ground and his closing produced the second goal, while his powerful running with the ball, previously not seen on the pitch, gave Everton trouble in trying to dispossess him.  Chiriches had a good game until he got injured, with Fazio and Vertonghen playing well as a central two at the back.  Davies showed a dogged determination and won over some of the crowd in the process, while Eriksen passed well and finished well when his chance came, with Lennon also showing a willingness to work up and back, with some impressive tackling back.

Then there is Roberto Soldado.   Class is permanent, form is temporary and while that old saying might have seemed inappropriate when applied to the Spaniard, today, he showed a fine display of holding the ball up and how to play in supporting players, as well as his undoubted finishing ability.  He has never hidden in matches and always looks like he is willing to receive the ball.  When the players around him can play to his strengths, we will see a lot more of his skills in and around the box.

A good three points and a much needed win, especially at home.  Maybe things are coming together.  It may be a slow job, but there are some signs there and hopefully, this win will give the side confidence to play like that.  The addition of the younger players is a factor in this, with them playing with the confidence of youth and it may be that it was a similar story for Poch at the New Dell.

Chelsea up next without Costa, but that might not make a lot of difference, but a good showing will again add to the team's 'mentality' and then it is Palace at home. 

Good things could be coming and hopefully sooner rather than later.

East Stan




Everton are the "real" Liverpool team having had to change their name from Liverpool, when the club from across Stanley Park copyrighted the name, forcing their neighbours to take the name of a local mint.

It is a little known fact that Everton are the only team never to be relegated from the Pontins League.


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What you thought
Barry Canham Funny how this is the first time in a long time we haven't had the majority of possession and have ended up winning.

It just goes to show how it's not how much possession you have, but what you do with it.

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Burnley 1 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Hull City 0 Saturday
QPR 3 Leicester City 2 Saturday
Sunderland 0 Chelsea 0 Saturday
Swansea City 1 Crystal Palace 1 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Arsenal 1 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Southampton 0 Manchester City 3 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 13 10 3 0 30 11 33 +19
2 Southampton 13 8 2 3 24 9 26 +15
3 Manchester City 13 8 3 2 27 13 27 +14
4 Manchester United 13 6 4 3 22 15 22 +7
5 West Ham United 13 6 3 4 21 16 21 +5
6 Arsenal 13 5 5 3 21 15 20 +6
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 13 6 2 5 18 18 20 0
8 Swansea City 13 5 4 4 17 15 19 +2
9 Newcastle United 13 5 4 4 14 16 19 -2
10 Everton 13 4 5 4 23 21 17 +2
11 Liverpool 13 5 2 6 16 18 17 -2
12 Stoke City 13 4 3 6 13 16 15 -3
13 West Bromwich Albion 13 3 4 6 13 18 13 -5
14 Sunderland 13 2 8 3 12 19 14 -7
15 Crystal Palace 13 3 4 6 18 22 13 -4
16 Aston Villa 13 3 4 6 7 18 13 -11
17 Hull City 13 2 5 6 14 21 11 -7
18 QPR 13 3 2 8 14 25 11 -11
19 Burnley 13 2 5 6 9 21 11 -12
20 Leicester City 13 2 4 7 13 21 10 -8

Position before match :  10th
Position after match :  7th
Position after the weekend :  7th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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