Friday, April 14, 2006

Spurs need a Win to Boost European Dreams

For the best part of the Premiership years, Goodison Park has been one of Spurs' better away days. Christian Gross loved to play there, he won his first and final games at Goodison, it was a shame about what happened in between. Since the introduction of the Premiership, Spurs have visited Goodison thirteen times, recording five wins, six draws and two defeats, the last defeat being in April, 2004 under David Pleat. However, last season saw Spurs complete a very emphatic 'double' over Everton, 1-0 at Goodison, Noe Paramot scoring his first goal for the club and 5-2 at White Hart Lane when Marney (2), Ziegler, Mendes and Keane scored - all but Keane scoring their first goals for Spurs.

This year Spurs had a comfortable 2-0 win in the home game and will be hoping to complete the 'double' over the Merseyside club. However, Spurs need to take warning from their last away result when looking to build on a comfortable home win against Newcastle they came unstuck at St. James Park. In addition, Everton have showed improved form since the beginning of the year with James Beattie leading the line well and scoring some goals. Everton drew at Sunderland in their last game and like Spurs gave the relegation facing team one of their few points this year.

With five games remaining, Spurs still have crucial games ahead for the first time in over a decade. This game is one they would want to win but Everton will pressurise them and give them very little room to play in. With Dawson completing his suspension and Gardner (Pic: above) having been more composed beside King,the defence will probably remain unaltered but they will need to be alert and ready from the off. They can not afford to start as sloppily as they did a fortnight ago when the match was over within half an hour. The midfield was more solid and balanced last week with Tainio on the left and Lennon on the right to create space, so Davids may again start on the bench. Jol's usual deliberation will be over the partnership of strikers. Keane would appear to be assured of his place with his all round contribution, so Defoe or Mido is the question. With Everton's robust defenders, Mido may well start again, leaving Defoe to wait once again for a late opportunity. Spurs will have to be more clinical in their finishing, taking whatever oportunities arrive. At Newcastle they spurned two clear chances to get back into the game, Keane before half-time hitting the bar and Jenas missing the open goal early in the second half when Newcastle were under serious pressure.

Spurs still hold fourth place, four points clear of Arsenal and Blackburn. To maintain that prime position, taking into account the difficulty of Spurs' final four games, they need to come away from Goodison Park with all three points. That would continue to apply pressure on their opponents and with games running out, give Spurs a little more breathing space. Fortune favoured Spurs this week with their nearest rivals unexpectedly failing to take opportuities to close the gap on fourth place, so if Spurs really want to be in Europe next year they can do themselves a huge favour by defeating Everton.


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