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Everton v Spurs, 03.01.16

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 3RD JANUARY, 2016
(4PM)
EVERTON 1 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)

Everton scorer:-
Lennon, 22

Spurs scorer:-
Alli, 45

Attendance:- 38,482

Referee:- Michael Oliver
Assistants:- S Ledger, R West
Fourth Official:- M Jones

Teams:-
Everton (4-2-3-1):- Howard; Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines; Barkley, Barry (Capt.); Lennon (sub Deulofeu, 60), Cleverley, Kone (sub Besic, 60); Lukaku

Subs not used:- Robles; Jagielka, Galloway; Mirallas, Osman

Booked:- Coleman (handball/foul)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Carroll; Eriksen (sub Son, 69), Alli (sub Chadli, 83), Lamela (sub Onomah, 88); Kane

Subs not used:- Vorm; Rose, Trippier; Bentaleb

Booked:- Lamela (foul on Coleman), Carroll (foul on Barkley)

The best team drew

Have a look at the graphic on the BBC match report page (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/35155491). It shows the average positions of the two teams at half time, and clearly illustrates how Tottenham dominated Everton, who barely got out of their own half. And yet, with virtually their first attack, Everton took the lead. Ironically, it was former Spurs winger Aaron Lennon who scored the goal. Lennon retains his record of never losing with either Spurs or Everton when he scores. Mind you, Spurs can attribute that record to the scorer of our equaliser today, Dele Alli, whose touch to control and score was magnificent. Yes, Spurs have never lost when Alli has scored, and with five goals already this season for his club, Alli has a far better scoring ratio than had Lennon.

Alli’s equaliser, scored just as we entered first half added time was more than justified after some scintillating football by Spurs who hit the frame of Tim Howard’s goal twice in the first half.

With Dembele injured, Mauricio Pochettino showed faith in Tom Carroll to play beside Eric Dier. Ryan Mason did not even make the bench today, so I wonder if he sustained a knock in training this week. Carroll did some things very well, but he will not be challenging for man of the match in the Spurs Odyssey post-match grades. Pochettino made three other changes from the side which started at Watford. Kyle Walker returned at full back, as did Ben Davies. With Carroll moving back to cover for Dembele, Eriksen started today, playing from the right of midfield, with Ali central, inside Lamela.

Roberto Martinez left Gerard Deulofeu on the bench, presumably to save him for Everton’s Wednesday night League Cup semi-final against Man City, but when he replaced Lennon after an hour, Everton certainly looked more dangerous. Phil Jagielka was also on the bench, returning from injury, but being preserved for that City game.

Spurs were in total control for the first quarter of an hour, and the home fans were very quiet. A Kyle Walker cross was cleared off Alli’s foot after three minutes, and after Walker had a shot blocked, Alli fed the ball to Carroll, whose attempt on goal was badly askew. It was Carroll though who fed the ball to Harry Kane after 8 minutes. Kane was just right of centre and hit a great shot which somehow rebounded off the inside of Howard’s right post and ran clear across goal, rather than going into the net. The laws of physics were against us, and I was crying out for the old style square wooden posts.

Eriksen was fouled just outside the Everton Box at the Gwladys Street End, and he stood over the ball with Lamela who took the kick, which was deflected and went out for a Spurs corner.

Eriksen, who has a tendency to “bottle” out of midfield challenges, was the villain of the piece which led to Everton’s surprise lead. He lost out in his challenge and the ball was crossed deep from that left position. Lukaku, with his back to goal, headed back to the advancing Lennon, who scored with a shot that passed between two Spurs defenders and beat Lloris, hitting the net to the keeper’s far right. I suppose Lennon graciously did not celebrate, but he was smothered by his team-mates, and the home crowd woke up.

Spurs carried on where they left off, but it was seven minutes before they truly threatened goal again. Eriksen had taken a corner on the right, and passed inside to ben Davies, lurking outside the Everton area. Davies hit a rocket of a shot which had Howard well beaten, but unfortunately not the bar to Howard’s right. A Tom Carroll attempt was cleared as far as Lamela, who fed the ball back to Carroll, who this time hit a testing shot for Howard to hold.

Coleman took a booking for a handball and a tug on Lamela’s shirt as the Spurs man was breaking into the Everton half. At the other end, Coleman managed to get forward and crossed deep to the back post where Kone headed wide. The Spurs number 23 responded with a good ball out to Davies on the left. Davies crossed but Kane’s header was off target. Spurs got their deserved equaliser following an excellent long ball into the danger zone by Toby Alderweireld (Dave Mackay used to swing in such balls). Alli’s excellent controlling touch and shot sent us in happy at half time.

At half-time I noticed an Everton fan in the lower seats of The Park Stand (near the Spurs end) wearing only speedo swimming trunks and a bathing hat. It turns out this is “Speedo Mick” and if you Google his name you will find all you need to know about this man’s genuine (although somewhat madcap!) quest to raise funds for a Liverpool hospice.

Davies made another good run down the left after 52 minutes, hitting a good cross which was chested down by Alli for Kane, whose shot went over the target. Eriksen also had a left footed shot after a Carroll pass, but this was held by Howard. Everton defended well when Alli again tried to put in Harry Kane, but the Spurs man was not allowed a shot.

Martinez made a double substitution with Deulofeu replacing Lennon and Besic replacing Kone. With Deulofeu on the pitch, Everton looked more dangerous as the game opened out a lot in the last half-hour. There was plenty of end to end football, but not necessarily much in the way of direct threats on goal. Lamela was given a warning by referee Michael Oliver, who had been watching him carefully throughout

Deulofeu won a corner versus Davies, who sometimes seemed to give the danger man far too much room in which to operate. From the corner Dele Alli had to clear in front of the back post, and Deulofeu had a follow-up shot go over the goal. Both Lamela and Carroll saw yellow, as Spurs seemed to lose their pace and felt the pressure of an energised home side. Son came on for Eriksen and was soon involved in a close-quarters exchange with Dele Alli, before Alli hit a shot that was held by Howard.

Everton had an attack following a free kick given against Vertonghen for a needless foul on Lukaku near the half-way line. This attack ended with a terrific shot by substitute Besic, which Lloris pushed over the bar, arching back to make the save. From the corner and a cross by Cleverley, centre-back Funes Mori’s attempt passed wide across the goal. There were shots blocked at either end, and one more save for Lloris to make from Barkley, but Spurs secured a point in a game where perhaps the “old” Spurs might have succumbed to a late goal.

This is the new Spurs though, and the point secures their place in the top four with rivals Leicester coming to the Lane next for League action on Wednesday 13th January. Before that, we face them in next Sunday’s FA Cup tie!

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