Friday, January 13, 2012

Tottenham 2 Everton 0

Spurs managed to maintain their good home form with a comfortable win over Everton who showed greater attacking intent than some previous visitors.  A goal in each half secured the three points with the goals being scored by Aaron Lennon and a wonder strike from Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Everton 0
Scorers: Lennon, Assou-Ekotto                                        

Team: Friedel; Walker, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Pienaar), Livermore, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart, Adebayor (Pavlyuchenko).  Subs (unused): Cudicini, Bassong, Rose, Kranjcar, Defoe

Spurs won comfortably against Everton to move level on points with Manchester United and three points behind City.  Apart from an early strike in the opening minute by Luis Saha which went wide Spurs were relatively untroubled by the visitors apart from a couple of headers from corners.

Everton competed well in the opening minutes with Saha and Victor Anichebe dropping back to support in midfield but as the half progressed Spurs started to create some scoring opportunities.  Rafael Van der Vaart curled a shot just over the bar and Emmanuel Adebayor had two opportunities to put Spurs ahead but lack of control was his downfall.  As the half hour approached Spurs looked to be gaining the ascendency and so it proved as Leighton Baines misjudged a long cross-field pass from Benoit Assou-Ekotto.  This gave Aaron Lennon the opportunity to get behind him and run into the area.  Going across the area he shot to the near post with his left foot to wrong foot Tim Howard as the goalkeeper expected a shot across goal.

In the second half play continued with Everton looking to contain.  Luka Modric was the subject of some tough tackling which the referee chose to ignore, especially on an occasion as Everton attacked, Modric was left lying on the ground but Spurs broke at pace and Howard saved the visitors with a good save from a powerful shot by Gareth Bale who had sprinted from box to box.  As Modric recovered he drew the referee's attention to the damage that had been done to his shin but again the referee was not interested.

It's not often that Benoit Assou-Ekotto scores a goal but when he does they are goals to remember.  With just over an hour gone the full back advanced up the left to be an attacking option as he does so often, he received the ball and cut in towards the middle and as Everton's defence opened up in front of him he shot from over thirty yards and while the ball took a slight deflection, the goalkeeper didn't get near it.  Ekotto scored an equally memorable goal against Liverpool at the start of the 2009 - 2010 season.

Two nil and Spurs were comfortable with few anxieties got through to the finish and the visitors relieved to accept that scoreline.

Spurs played some lovely football with Bale showing Phil Neville that he wasn't going to be intimidated as happened last season.  The only disappointment would be that Spurs in a season when they have played their best football for many years, haven't managed to run up a big score against any team.  They have lacked the goalscoring instinct to accept enough of the numerous opportunities that they've created in so many matches. 

After two games of this season, Spurs were in despair but now at just past the halfway point they are three points behind the League leaders and have opened a gap of eight points on Chelsea and nine ahead of Arsenal.  Next Saturday's game with Wolves is vital to maintain this strong position and the challenge at the top of the table.

The opening match of the season may have come five months late but on this occasion, it was well worth waiting for!



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