SUNDAY 23RD DECEMBER, 2018
EVERTON 2 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 6(3)
Son, 27, 61
Kane, 42, 74
Referee:- Paul Tierney
Assistants:- Adam Nunn, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth official:- Chris Kavanagh
Everton (4-2-3-1):- Pickford; Coleman (Capt.), Keane, Zouma, Digne; Gomes (sub Schneiderlin, 53), Davies; Walcott, Sigurdsson (sub Tosun, 83), Richarlison (sub Bernard, 75); Calvert-Lewin
Subs not used:- Stekelenburg; Baines, Mina; Niasse
Spurs (4-3-2-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko (sub Lucas Moura, 83), Winks, Eriksen; Son (sub Skipp, 79), Dele (sub Lamela, 46); Kane
Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Rose, Walker-Peters, Foyth
Booked:- Trippier (foul on Calvert-Lewin), Eriksen (encroaching upon free kick)
Spurs stage an exhibition for Christmas!
Mauricio Pochettino and his Spurs team (“He’s Tottenham you know!”) ensured it would be a happy Christmas for Spurs fans with a fine exhibition of attacking football, beating Everton by a margin of four goals for the second successive game, having beaten Sam Allardyce’s Everton 4-0 at Wembley in January. It was also the second time in just over 18 months that Spurs have scored 6 away from home against a Marco Silva team, as he was the Hull manager when we won 7-1 on the last day of the 2016-17 season. This was perhaps our biggest win over Everton since the historic first (10-4) game under the management of Bill Nicholson in October 1958.
Despite going one down to a goal scored by Theo Walcott of all people, Spurs soon equalised, and in truth looked capable of scoring any time they went forward. Pochettino changed his formation and style with Eriksen playing on the left of Sissoko and Winks behind Son and Dele, with Harry Kane up front. Davinson Sanchez made his first appearance since 6th November, and Toby Alderweireld operated to his left with Ben Davies shifting sideways to his usual left back position.
Everton kicked off and played towards the Sir Philip Carter Stand, and they must have fancied their chances against Spurs the way they came at us in the early stages. Perhaps “Poch” anticipated this, and events followed his game plan, but I felt that the game was too open in those early stages, and once the scoring started, it remained that way anyway! There had been lots of rain before the game, but by the time it started, any rainfall was of a moderate nature. Temperatures were moderate.
Digne hit a deep cross from the left flank towards Walcott beyond the far post, but the former Arsenal man could not control the ball, and it went out for a goal kick. Sigurdsson got the better of Harry Winks down the Everton right flank and Gylfi fed the ball to Walcott, whose cross was headed wide by Richarlison, with Calvert-Lewin getting uncomfortably close. Spurs responded with a Trippier ball inside to Kane whose shot hit the side netting of the near post. A minute later Son was sent away down the left flank. He crossed and Trippier’s shot tested Pickford, turning it away for a Spurs corner. Son and Dele combined, feeding the ball to Kane, whose shot was held, and he had been given offside anyway. With another opportunity in the box, Kane was out-muscled by Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma. Dele was fouled about 25 yards out and Kane took this free kick, hitting it wide of the post.
After those several attacks, it came as a surprise that Spurs conceded a goal, which came after they failed to clear their lines, despite several attempts, on the right hand side of their area. The ball was pushed to Calvert-Lewin, who got to the bye-line on the left and cut the ball back to Walcott, who had an easy finish and an elaborate celebration, because he had scored against “the old enemy”. Walcott would suffer plenty of stick as the game progressed.
Winks won a midfield battle and carried the ball forward on a right side diagonal run, feeding it to Kane, who hit a shot just over the bar. Calvert-Lewin had the ball in the Spurs net at the other end, but the whistle had been blown before he hit the ball for a foul. Alderweireld hit a long ball down the left for Davies, who crossed for Son, but his effort was blocked. Son did equalise with a lovely goal in the 27th minute. Harry Kane had hit a ball which caused a mix-up between Zouma and the advancing Pickford, who came out of his area. The ball ran to Son to the right of goal, and “Sonny” hit a delightful shot from fully 25 yards into the net on the far side of the goal. “Nice one, Sonny! Nice one Son. Nice one Sonny! Let’s have another one!” Our wishes would be granted.
Kane, Son and Dele combined with another attack, with Dele providing the final pass to Kane who curled his shot wide. Kieran Trippier had the first of only two yellow cards for a foul on Calvert-Lewin around the halfway line. Spurs scored a second goal in the 35th minute. Sissoko drove forward and exchanged with Dele. Dele fed the ball to Son on his right, whose shot could only be parried by Pickford into the path of Dele, who was happy to snatch a goal with his follow-up. 2-1 became 3-1 before the break. Son was fouled about 25 yards out. Trippier, Eriksen and Son lingered over the ball, but Trippier ultimately hit the shot which beat Pickford, and rebounded off his left post. Harry Kane happily converted the rebound.
In first half added time, Dele Alli hit the ball into the Everton net after an offside decision had been given, but suffered no punishment. I understand that around this time he was subject to a challenge by Pickford, who may yet face official retribution. Dele did not come out for the second half, but I took this as a case of saving him minutes for the busy programme to come. He was replaced by Erik Lamela, who kept busy, not always successfully, but he did make some crucial contributions, including an assist for Son’s second goal. Spurs did have a 4-1 lead early in the second half after Lloris found Trippier with a longish clearance. Trippier passed down the line to Kane, whose cross into the 6 yard box was headed out by Coleman but only to the feet of Eriksen, who latched onto it with a smashing right foot shot to beat Pickford from 25 yards.
Everton got a goal back through ex-Spur Sigurdsson as he ran from left to right across the outside of the area, before beating Lloris with a right footed shot. With nearly 40 minutes to go, the game was not yet won. As the scoreline suggests, Spurs were in total control for most of the game. They passed well, closed down and defended well in their own half, and with Eriksen in particular supporting a dynamic front four, Everton were always in danger. Spurs scored a fifth goal in the 61st minute. Sissoko and Eriksen had moved the ball forward and inside from the right, before Lamela threaded a delightful pass down the inside right channel and Son scored through Pickford. By now Everton fans were leaving in droves, and Spurs fans were singing “Jingle Bells” along with “Theo, Theo, what’s the score?”, remembering of course the time he had signalled the score to Spurs fans when playing for Arsenal in an FA Cup tie in recent years.
Eriksen was shown yellow for encroaching upon an Everton free kick, but was soon one of the team which played exhibition football featuring no less than 18 passes which ended with a fine ball by Alderweireld to Davies in an advanced position. Davies fed Son, who picked out Harry Kane in the middle. Harry beat Pickford with a delightful shot pushed beyond the goalkeeper’s left hand into the net at the far post. Kane now has 11 Premier League goals this season, level with salah and only one behind Aubameyang.
It is worthy of note that Toby Alderweireld enthusiastically gestured towards the Spurs fans in the goal celebrations. He did not look like a man leaving any time soon. Lloris had a save to make from a deflected shot by Sigurdsson, but Spurs managed the remainder of the game. Oliver Skipp was off the bench before Lucas Moura, and the 18 year old looked very comfortable in his midfield role.
Today was Pochettino’s 26th wedding anniversary, and we won 6-2. Next year, we will have to beat someone 7-2! The win puts us just two points behind Man City who are in second place, and five points ahead of both Chelsea and Arsenal. That makes it a happy Christmas indeed!
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