Arsenal vs Liverpool? Behave, son, this is the game of the weekend…
Yes, it may only be sixth against fourth compared to first vs third at the Emirates, but these two are the league’s form teams. Everton
have won five of their last six and are unbeaten at home. Spurs
, meanwhile, have won four times in the same period and have three victories from four on their travels. Sparks could fly.
- Aston Villa 0-2 Everton (Prem)
- Everton 2-1 Hull (Prem)
- Man City 3-1 Everton (Prem)
- Everton 3-2 Newcastle (Prem)
- Fulham 2-1 Everton (Prem)
- Tottenham p2-2 Hull (LC)
- Tottenham 1-0 Hull (Prem)
- Sheriff 0-2 Tottenham (EL)
- Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham (Prem)
- Tottenham 0-3 West Ham (Prem)
Roberto Martinez deserves immense credit for an impressive start to his Everton career, evolving the Toffees’ from pragmatic artisans under David Moyes into something altogether more aesthetic. The days of centre-back pair Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin firing long balls forward towards the departed Marouane Fellaini are long gone, replaced by midfield conduits James McCarthy and Gareth Barry providing the Blues’ attacking midfielders with a constant supply of possession.
Though the defence has shipped 10 goals this season, full-backs Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman offer attacking vigour – the 25-year-old Irishman completing 36 of 45 passes in last weekend’s 2-0 win at Aston Villa. Throw in Romelu Lukaku’s continued good form and the maturity of Ross Barkley just behind the leggy Belgian and you have a well-organised 4-2-3-1 dusted with individual talent and goals.
If Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas is to be believed, games away from White Hart Lane come as something of a light relief because the north Londoners “play with no fear”. Slightly fortunate to beat Hull last Sunday thanks to another cool Roberto Soldado penalty, Spurs kept the ball well in centre midfield – completing 86% of 542 attempted passes – but were too content to pass in front of the Tigers instead of turning the defence.
A formidable home force, Everton’s attacking philosophy may play into Spurs’ hands, leaving gaps for Andros Townsend and the improving playmaker Lewis Holtby to exploit.
Everton have no fresh injury concerns to add to mid-to-long-term absentees Arouna Kone, Johnny Heitinga, Darron Gibson and Antolin Alcaraz.
Spurs hope Townsend will play through a couple of broken bones in his hand after colliding with a photographer against Hull. Danny Rose could return after missing five games with an ankle injury.
Key battle: Romelu Lukaku vs Michael Dawson
Despite a prodigious leap and the bulging upper body that could start revolutions, the Belgian centre-forward lost a number of attacking duels against Villa last weekend. Though Lukaku helped out manfully defending set-pieces, he will hope to fair better in the attacking third against Spurs captain Dawson. Winning every header he contested and making a number of key interceptions, the 29-year-old impressed against Hull, but must maintain his concentration against the ever-dangerous Lukaku. It promises to be an intriguing battle.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- Spurs 2-2 Everton (Prem, Apr 13)
- Everton 2-1 Spurs (Prem, Dec 12)
- Everton 1-0 Spurs (Prem, Mar, 12)
- Spurs 2-0 Everton (Prem, Jan 12)
- Everton 2-1 Spurs (Prem, Jan 12)
Two Iberian coaches who encourage flowing football, Martinez and Villas-Boas games are usually entertaining. Last season the Spaniard’s Wigan took four points from Spurs as his high pressing game harassed AVB’s men into errors. Now, with better players under his command, expect more of the same on Sunday.
Facts and figures
- Everton have taken 28 points from their last 10 Premier League home games.
- Tottenham have won four games by one goal to nil in the Premier League this season, equalling their total from last season.
- Tottenham lost only two of their first 15 Premier League games at Goodison Park but have won none of the last six (D3 L3).
- Spurs last scored more than twice at Goodison Park in a league game back in August 1984 (W 4-1). They have played 28 games there since.
- Andros Townsend has had 22 shots from outside the box this season, only one fewer than Hull City have in total.
- Spurs have scored more penalties than any other side in the top-flight this season (3).
- No player has assisted more Premier League goals than Kevin Mirallas (4) this season.
- Tottenham have played more long passes than any Premier League side this season (557).
- Everton have made more last-man tackles (7) than any other side.
- Romelu Lukaku has five goals and one assist in five Premier League appearances for Everton.
- Tottenham are yet to concede a goal to a non-London side in the Premier League this season.