Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tottenham v Everton Preview

Spurs and Everton finally get the opportunity to play their 'opening match of the season' - in January.  This match which has been so important to Spurs and  Everton supporters, when calculating League tables and the position of their team taking account of their 'one game in hand'.  It is about to come to pass and all will be revealed by 21.40 (approx) this evening - will the gap to those clubs above have narrowed and will the advantage over to those below be three points greater?

Everton took four points from Spurs last season and so will believe that they can do a repeat job this year.  They are in 11th position in the Premier League with 24 points - 13 points having been earned away from Goodison Park.  They have won 4 and drawn 1 of their nine away matches, having scored and conceded 10 goals on their travels.  The goals tally shows immediately that they keep it very tight, giving little away and their away record shows a number of games going in their favour with late goals.  

The first away game of the season was at Blackburn and they took the three points with a penalty scored in the 92nd minute, Arteta's gift before leaving for Arsenal.  At Fulham, after taking an early lead but then looking set to lose the match only for Bobby Zamora to miss an open goal very late in the match, Everton turned the match on its head by scoring twice in added time to win 3 - 1.  A similar style of win came in  their last away match against WBA on New Year's Day.  A dull game was drawing to a scoreless conclusion only for Everton to score with three minutes left through substitute, Victor Anichebe.  Their fourth away success came at Bolton with two second half strikes - so Spurs need to be wary of Everton making a late push to snatch the points.  Everton's other away point came at Sunderland on Boxing Day when they equalised in the second half through a Leighton Baines' penalty, to deny Martin O'Neill's rejuvenated side - the only points Sunderland dropped over the holiday period.

Everton lost early in the season at Manchester City (0 - 2), Chelsea (1 - 3), Newcastle (1 - 2) and at Arsenal (0 - 1) in mid-December.  Last weekend they progressed in the FA Cup at  home to non-League Tamworth (2 - 0) with an early goal from Johnny Heitinga and a second half penalty scored by Baines.

Leighton Baines, the penalty and free-kick specialist, is Everton's leading goalscorer with 4 goals from 4 penalties (three in the League) .  Spurs know to be wary of him as he scored with a stunning free-kick to give Everton the lead in last season's game at White Hart Lane.  Leon Osman and Apostolos Vellios, their Greek striker, have each scored three goals.

Everton have a problem with a number of injuries and it was added to when defender Phil Jagielka and Jack Rodwell went off in their last League game with Bolton.  Seamus Coleman also suffered a recurrence of a thigh injury in the FA Cup tie with Tamworth.  Tim Cahill, Leon Osman,  and Tony Hibbert are all injury worries for Everton.   Landon Donovan has returned to the club on a short term loan from Los Angeles Galaxy.

Spurs have their own injury concerns with Ledley King and William Gallas out of defence while Sandro and Scott Parker will be missing in midfield.  Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon played in the FA Cup against Cheltenham Town and could be available for the match.

Home Record in Premier League against Everton

P  19  W  11  D  5  L  3  For  37  Ag  24

Home League Record v Everton (inc. PL)

P  74  W  37  D  21  L  16  For  145  Ag  91

Recent PL Home Games
Oct. 2010  PL  Draw 1 - 1 Van der Vaart
Spurs went into the game on the back of their thrilling dedeat in the San Siro and everyone was expecting a repeat preformance from Gareth Bale.  Everton took the lead with a free-kick from Baines in the first half and Rafael Van der Vaart levelled three minutes later from an assist by Peter Crouch.  It was Van der Vaart's fifth goal in four home appearances.  Bale had a quiet game as Phil Neville used all his experience to nullify the threat posed.

Feb. 2010  PL  Won 2 - 1  Pavlyuchenko, Modric
Two goals in the first half hour from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Luka Modric set Spurs up for the win but and Everton goal early in the second half made it more difficult than it had first appeared as Everton showed improved form after the interval.

Nov. 2008  PL  Lost 0 - 1
After their long sequence without a win at Tottenham, Everton took advantage of a loss of concentration by Spurs to score the only goal from a quickly taken free-kick.  The first half was scoreless but Steven Peinaar put Everton ahead within six minutes of the restart getting the ball from the free-kick, which Spurs didn't react to quickly enough.

Aug. 2007  PL  Lost 1 - 3  Gardner
Spurs start to the season went from bad to worse.  Having lost at Sunderland on the opening day, they compounded it but losing comprehensively in their first home game.  Everton were ahead after three minutes but Tony Gardner equalised after twenty minutes.  Everton scored twice in the eight minutes leading up to the interval and Spurs with a number of injuries in defence never looked like recovering.

Aug. 2006  PL  Lost 0 - 2
It was exactly twenty one years from Everton's last League win at White Hart Lane but two second half goals secured their win.

Oct. 2005  PL  Won 2 - 0  Mido, Jenas
Everton played with five in midfield and they held out for an hour.  Then Mido and Jermaine Jenas scored twice with headers within six minutes to secure the points.

Memorable Matches
1st January, 2005  Spurs 5 Everton 2 Marney (2), Ziegler, Mendes, Keane
What a way to start the New Year especially for Dean Marney who scored his only goals for the club.

12th January, 2003  Spurs 4 Everton 3 Keane (3), Poyet
Five goals in the second half after Spurs levelled in the first half through Gus Poyet, Everton having gone ahead in the tenth minute.  After the interval Everton twice pulled Spurs back after Keane put then ahead but Keane completed his hat-trick with seven minutes remaining.
3rd October, 1993  Spurs 3 Everton 2 Sheringham, Anderton, Caskey
Everton were ahead at the interval but Teddy Sheringham equalised on the hour.  Everton regained the lead and with two minutes remaining seemed to have earned the points.  Darren Anderton then drew Spurs level and Darren Caskey scored the winner in the last minute.
11th October, 1958  Spurs 10 Everton 4 Ryden, Medwin, Harmer, Smith (4), Stokes (2), Robb
What a way for Bill Nicholson to start his managerial career.  Appointed on the morning of the match the players responded and produced this outstanding result - a sign of the great times ahead at White Hart Lane when 'Sir' Bill was in charge.

25th December, 1956  Spurs 6 Everton 0  Medwin, (2), Harmer (pen), Smith R (2), Stokes    
A memorable way to mark the last time Spurs played a game on Christmas Day at White Hart Lane.  The tradition of playing matches on that day was finally brought to an end in 1958.

Once again, as against WBA, Spurs face a side with a better away record that home and a team who have benefited from late goals.  Spurs can expect to face tactics similar to those employed by Sunderland and West Brom and even Chelsea in their initial approach to the game.  All three teams sat back and filled the area in front of their defence to stop Spurs' quick passing movements and to frustrate the opportunities for Kyle Walker, Bale and Lennon to run with the ball at pace.  Chelsea started the game in that way but became more expressive after Spurs went ahead.  

Everton will come to defend and restrict Spurs with a well organised game plan.  Even if they are weakened due to injuries David Moyes will expect his team to work hard in front of  Spurs to ensure they have no time on the ball and rely on Tim Howard to produce another sound display in goal.  Everton will attempt to wear Spurs down through time and then in the final part of the game hope to gain some extra reward for their effort with late attacking substitutions attempting to make their mark with a late goal as they have done previously in their away games. 

Spurs will hope for an early goal to upset any defensive plan which Everton might have set up so as to provide them with space to play in and the opportunity for the win to strengthen their position by moving level on points with Manchester United and create an eight point advantage over Chelsea in fourth place.


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