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Everton v Spurs, 03.11.13

(1.30 PM)

Attendance:- 38,378

Referee:- Mr. Kevin Friend
Assistants:- Mr. G. Beswick & Mr. J. Flynn
Fourth official:- Mr. R. Madley

Everton (4-2-3-1):- Howard; Coleman, Jagielka (Capt.), Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Mirallas (sub Deulofeu, 63), Osman (sub Barkley 63), Pienaar; Lukaku (sub Jelavic, 86)

Subs not used:- Robles; Stones, Oviedo; Naismith

Booked:- Howard, McCarthy (foul on Vertonghen), Mirallas (Dissent), Lukaku (foul on Lloris)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Chiriches, Vertonghen; Paulinho, Sandro (sub Dembele, 61); Townsend, Holtby (sub Eriksen, 86), Lennon (sub Sigurdsson, 69); Soldado

Subs not used:- Friedel; Kaboul; Lamela; Defoe

Booked:- Paulinho (foul on McCarthy)

Those Everton fans are a funny lot, you know!

Itís one of the most partisan crowds in the country, which is fine, but the Goodison Park crowd are never slow to get on the back of the referee or opposition players. When Hugo Lloris raced out to the edge of his area to sweep away a loose ball from the path of the advancing Romelu Lukaku, and the Chelsea loanee hit Lloris with his knee, thus injuring the Spurs goalie, the fans behind the Gwladys Street goal showed no sympathy for the clearly semi-conscious Lloris. There was considerable delay and confusion, as the medics wanted to take Lloris off, and Friedel was stripped down and ready to take over. Lloris was clearly confused. He didnít want to go off, and eventually, before leaving the pitch, he persuaded the medics, and the referee that he was okay to continue. Lloris did a competent job when required for the remainder of the game too.

Sadly, that incident is one of the most memorable events of a goal-less game. The draw was the fair result, despite the fact that Spurs opened so well, and controlled and dominated proceedings for the first 25 minutes, during which I donít believe Lloris actually had a touch! Everton eventually got into a rhythm, but the Spurs defence was well drilled; deployed its high line very effectively, and my recollection is that Lloris was not sorely tested apart from the Lukaku chase. On the other hand, Tim Howard made a two fisted punched clearance in both halves. The one in the second half came from a good shot by Spurs substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson.

There had been some torrential rain in the morning, but the sun was out by the time the match started. The temperature was considerably colder than we have experienced to date this season. Andre Villas-Boas picked the same starting line-up as played against Hull in last Sundayís Premier League game, with Lennon again on the left. Indeed, in the opening minutes, Lennon, Holtby and Vertonghen worked well to create an opening on that left flank, playing towards the Gwladys Street End. That move ended in a Sandro shot punched out for a corner by Howard. A minute later, Townsend came inside and hit a left foot shot wide.

Spurs were concentrating on probing the left hand side. A Vertonghen cross missed the Spurs attack, and then a Lennon cross also beat everyone. Paulinho latched onto an Everton mistake in the Everton midfield, and after an exchange with Lennon, Paulinho failed with his shot. Spurs had been totally on top but had nothing to show for their efforts.

Another Townsend run inside led to touches by Lennon, Paulinho and Holtby, with Townsendís attempt on goal getting a big deflection and looping out for a corner. McCarthy was booked for a foul on Vertonghen. Dawson had been having success with his long balls to the left flank, but on one occasion the success of the pass was down to Vertonghenís ability and skill in gaining control and possession. Kyle Walker hit a free kick which Howard punched clear, and in the follow-up, Townsend won a corner.

My notes suggest that Llorisís first touch came on 21 minutes. Vertonghen had a decent exchange with Paulinho forging his way into the box, going down, but failing to win a penalty in the eyes of referee Kevin Friend.

Lewis Holtby was playing very well, in my opinion, and showed skilful touches in his advances down the centre and left channel, winning a corner after a one-two with Soldado, and then hitting a shot wide. Soldado tried to get a shot in a tight situation, but had no joy.

At last, the home side managed a genuine attempt on goal, which was a shot from 25 yards by Osman, which passed well over. As half-time approached Sandro handled the ball when falling to the ground, and Mirallasís free kick was deflected wide for a corner. Spurs had lost the momentum, and Everton had been gaining a foot-hold, without any penetration, something that was lacking on both sides.

Early in the second half, Lukaku and Mirallas got forward for Everton, and Vlad Chiriches stopped Mirallas with a great block tackle. The ball ran out of play and the referee awarded a goal-kick, upsetting that Gwladys Street End, and Mirallas, who got a yellow card for dissent. Everton saw more of the ball now, and Baines had a shot blocked.

Kyle Walker picked up a loose ball by Barry, feeding Jan Vertonghen who pierced the defence with a good pass, only for Paulinhoís shot also to be blocked.

Sandro was replaced by Dembele, and Martinez made a double substitution of Mirallas and Osman with Deulofeu and Barkley. Barkley was soon in action, hitting a left foot shot over the bar. Deulofeu fed Coleman, who passed across the inside edge of the box, taking a half fall, before getting up and still managing a shot which passed wide. Technically there could have been a foul here, but again, the referee was not interested.

Aaron Lennon was replaced by Sigurdsson, who was involved in several Spurs attacks down that left side. A Dawson defensive header went as far as McCarthy, whose shot was deflected. Then McCarthy hit a low cross from deep on the right-hand side. If Lukaku did get a touch in the middle, it was too faint and the ball passed across the Spurs goal.

Overall, Iíd say that Spurs looked the stronger side in added time (There was 9 minutes of it!), but only after Deulofeu had squeezed his way into the box, with the Spurs defence afraid to tackle, for fear of conceding a penalty. Lloris was strong and saved!

In added time, Eriksen hit a free kick was near the right corner flag, which passed across the 6 yard area, with nobody making contact. Soldado got down the right bye-line and fed the ball to Townsend, who passed to Sigurdsson, whose shot passed wide across goal. Then Townsend forced another save from Howard.

There was special applause from the Spurs crowd for Hugo Lloris at the end of the game, no doubt in recognition of his bravery; his determination to carry on, and his successful completion of the game.

A win for either side would have given that team second place but Spurs did enough to regain fourth place above Manchester City, despite their seven goal thrashing of Chris Hughtonís Norwich yesterday. Spurs, of course need the extra point because 9 goals from 10 league games is no good for a goal difference, is it?

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