Creative Carroll and 4 other tactical stats from Everton 1-1 Tottenham
1. Everton anxious in first half
Having won just once in their last five games, Roberto Martinez has felt the pressure in recent weeks. Everton looked extremely nervous straight from the start and a couple of misplaced passes caused tension around Goodison Park.
Even when they scored first, it still wasn't enough to ease the anxiety. It wasn't until the second half that the Toffees began to play without fear. This showed as they had just three shots in the opening 45 minutes, but managed seven after the break. "In the first half we didn't have as much of the ball as we wanted, as Spurs pushed us," said Martinez in his post-match press conference.
Everton's problems were compounded by the positivity shown by Tottenham; centre-back Toby Alderweireld confirmed to the cameras immediately after the match that it was "one of the best halves of the season for us".
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said that the players were disappointed not to claim all three points and that they normally play music after the game, but this didn't happen due to the sense that they had nothing to celebrate.
2. Lennon eager to remind former employers of his quality
'There's only one Aaron Lennon,' sung the away supporters, who clearly harbour no ill-feelings
The pacy winger was a surprise inclusion by Martinez, in for only his fourth league start of the campaign. However, the former England man certainly justified his manager's judgement with a goal against his old side.
In the 22nd minute, from Romelu Lukaku's knock-down Lennon hit a superb half-volley past a helpless Hugo Lloris. A few moments before the strike, Martinez had given some instructions to the winger, but even the Spaniard wouldn’t have expected that outcome so soon after his advice.
Just two minutes later, Lennon brought the Goodison supporters to their feet once again as he ran at Ben Davies before supplying Arouna Kone, but the Ivorian attacker saw his shot blocked.
"I thought Aaron had an impressive performance against Newcastle," said Martinez. "It was tough for him because when he signed on the last day of the window he was catching up and he couldn’t get a proper pre-season. Today, he was the perfect profile for what we needed; he took his goal really well and he is such a reliable footballer."
The decision to substitute Lennon was met with jeers, while the standing ovation came from both sets of fans. "There's only one Aaron Lennon," sung the away supporters, who clearly harbour no ill-feelings towards their former hero.
3. England's attacking youngsters shine
Barkley in my eyes had the most mature performance in three years
Ross Barkley has scored or assisted 13 Premier League goals this season, which is more than his previous four campaigns combined (10). "Barkley in my eyes had the most mature performance in three years," enthused Martinez. "It was a really good game to see English talent. In two-and-a-half seasons he has gone from a player that had to be fitted into a structure; now he is a player who can play in different roles and master them.
"He worked very hard to receive the ball in every single situation and I thought it was a joy to see so many English and British players on both sides, with young ages and with a lot of big roles in the game."
The Everton midfielder is progressing nicely, although perhaps not at the same speed as his No.10 rival. This is Dele Alli's first season in the top flight and he has had an astonishing ascent in the last few months. He was also fantastic in this game, creating three chances and making 22 passes in the final third. Alli constantly looked to run past Harry Kane and was a goalscoring threat throughout with six shots on goal.
In first-half stoppage time, Alderweireld played a direct ball to the 19-year-old, who controlled it superbly on his chest and dispatched it past goalkeeper Tim Howard. "Fantastic," declared Pochettino.
Then, seven minutes into the second period he made an unbelievable shoulder pass to Kane which almost gave Spurs the lead, though the striker was unable to test Howard on this occasion.
4. Spurs creative across the board
Only Manchester City average more shots on target in the Premier League
It wasn’t just Alli who gave Tottenham the cutting edge in the final third, with the away side carving out 19 attempts on goal; Tom Carroll provided four chances and Christian Eriksen another three.
Spurs may have conceded the first goal but they didn't alter the way they played and created attempts regularly throughout. With under 10 minutes gone, Kane hit the post from 25 yards with an angled drive out of nothing.
In the 30th minute, Eriksen pulled an intelligent corner back to the edge of the area where an unmarked Davies was able to ghost towards the space and rifle a shot against the crossbar.
It’s very difficult to stop Spurs fashioning goalscoring opportunities, as they have a variety of players in all positions capable of different types of passes. Only Manchester City average more shots on target in the Premier League, which explains why Spurs are now being talked about as potential title challengers.
5. Everton showed defensive resilience
Having conceded nine goals in their previous five matches, Everton defended well against the potential Spurs onslaught. The Toffees blocked 11 shots on their goal, with John Stones responsible for four of them.
"We wanted to defend with intensity and we defended really well throughout," concluded Martinez. "We stopped their main players getting on the ball: [Erik] Lamela, Eriksen, Harry Kane and even Dele Alli, had a few shots from distance."
Ramiro Funes Mori made 12 clearances, six more than any other player, and completed all four of his tackles. "[There's] a little bit of understanding with the partnership of John and Ramiro, they are developing a stronger partnership now," said Martinez. "Leighton Baines' experience helps the back four; Seamus Coleman, everyone plays a part. Off the ball everyone has to defend in the modern game."