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Everton v Spurs, 03.02.24


Everton scorers:-
Harrison, 30
Branthwaite, 90+4

Spurs scorer:-
Richarlison, 4, 41

Attendance:- 39,321

Referee:- Michael Oliver
Assistants:- Dan Cook, Wade Smith
Fourth official:- Andy Madley
VAR:- Stuart Attwell
Assistant VAR:- Harry Lennard.

Everton (4-4-1-1):- Pickford; Godfrey (sub Coleman, 75), Tarkowski (Capt.), Branthwaite, Mykolenko; Young (sub Chermiti, 80), Gueye, Garner, McNeil (sub Dobbin, 85); Harrison; Calvert-Lewin (sub Beto, 85)
(Coleman took the armband when replacing Godfrey)

Subs not used:- Joao Virginia; Patterson, Keane; Hunt, Metcalfe

Booked:- Godfrey (dissent), Garner (dissent), Dobbin (foul on Dragusin)

Spurs (4-2-1-3):- Vicario; Pedro Porro, Romero (Capt.), Van de Ven, Udogie; Hojbjerg (sub Dragusin, 89), Bentancur (sub Sarr, 64); Maddison (sub Gil, 86); Johnson (sub Kulusevski, 64), Richarlison, Werner (sub Skipp, 86)

Subs not used:- Forster; Emerson Royal, Davies; Scarlett

No bookings

Everton grab late lifeline after Richarlison brace

Everton v Spurs, 03.02.24

Thanks to Andy Park for this picture

Everton, who bear the distinct disadvantage of a 10-point penalty imposed last November, dragged themselves out of the bottom three (until tea-time at least) with a last gasp goal from a free kick four minutes into added time. Their first goal had also come from a dead ball when it looked like Dominic Calvert-Lewin had broken a 16-game drought without scoring, but his two-yard header had gone in off team-mate Jack Harrison.

Spurs took the lead twice through former "Toffee" Richarlison who was apologetic towards his former fans who appreciated the gesture. Both goals were of the highest quality.

Spurs, who perhaps were intimidated by Everton's uncompromising style, especially when pressurising Vicario at corner kicks, missed out on the chance to open up a three-point gap over fifth-placed Aston Villa, playing at tea-time.

Ange Postecoglou made two changes with Hojbjerg taking Skipp's place and Johnson starting in favour of Kulusevski. The Spurs coach said he wanted to freshen things up after Wednesday night's game. Pape Sarr made the bench and replaced Bentancur, who perhaps has yet to gain his best form. Having endured such a long spell with little in reserve, you could say that Spurs had the luxury of Sarr and Kulusevski on the bench.

Everton welcomed back Gueye from his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations. Club captain Seamus Coleman was on the bench, but neither Doucoure, Onana or former Spur Danjuma made the squad. Sean Dyche included three young players on the bench, one of whom (Dobbin) did get some minutes.

One of Everton's problems has been a lack of goals and the starting line-up had managed just 12 league goals this season.

Everton kicked off and played away from the Gwladys Street end. Everton had the early possession, but Spurs took a fourth-minute lead with an incisive move and superbly taken goal. Werner had advanced down the left wing and passed inside to Udogie who supplied the final pass, cutting the ball back towards "Richie" who made half a step back to enable his left-footed angled shot across Pickford.

Calvert-Lewin was in a good position in the centre of the Spurs area but headed over Ashley Young's cross. Young was playing on the right of midfield, outside Gueye. Spurs attacked down the right side and after a pass inside, Richarlison acted as provider for Maddison, whose left-footed shot was deflected for a corner, after which Hojbjerg lifted a shot too high.

After 10 minutes Everton fans held aloft yellow cards in protest against their club's 10-point deduction. Everton led the corner count and in the first half Vicario was put under severe pressure all too often. Spurs didn't help themselves with poor play-out football, spending too much time in their own half and allowing Everton to put the pressure on.

Richarlison had a half-chance just inside the box after Maddison teed him up, but the Everton defence blocked and cleared the ball. Left back Mykolenko received a pass down the left and crossed into the middle where McNeil's shot was blocked by his own team-mate, Calvert-Lewin. The Ukrainian full-back had however been offside. Calvert-Lewin was caught offside when Garner sprinted for another longish pass down the left. Such passes were a feature for the home side, and Micky van de Ven's pace and defensive ability was to the fore.

Calvert-Lewin headed a Godfrey cross wide. Everton won another corner after another failed play-out by Spurs. They paid the ultimate penalty when Everton scored from the corner. Dwight McNeil swung the corner over the 6-yard box to the back post where Tarkowski headed back. Calvert-Lewin thought he had broken his duck, but his header actually went in off Jack Harrison.

It took a while for Spurs to have another shot, but when they did, they regained the lead! Udogie was involved again, feeding the ball to Werner who got to the bye-line. He cut the ball back to the edge of the area where Maddison slipped a short pass to Richarlison who hit an unstoppable right foot shot past Pickford in front of those Gwladys Street fans to whom he again showed contrition. "Richie" now has 10 league goals, 9 of which have been scored in our last 8 league games.

Incidentally, Spurs have extended their record of scoring in 35 league matches.

There was more defending required as Pedro Porro covered and cleared from Calvert-Lewin when Harrison crossed from the right. A poor error by Romero gave Gueye a great chance, but his shot went wide, thanks to a deflection. Spurs had more trouble from the corner but were relieved to find Branthwaite had fouled Maddison in our area. Vicario made a good save from another shot, but Van de Ven had been fouled in the approach play in any case. Vicario made a brilliant save with his feet, under pressure after another corner.

There were no changes on either side and Spurs kicked off the second half. They did manage to take more on the initiative and control in the opening phase of this half. Maddison went down but was apparently not fouled. Pickford made the first of several good saves as he pushed round Pedro Porro's shot. From the corner and a header by Richarlison, Hojbjerg fired wide.

Everton's long ball strategy continued, and Van de Ven made his best recovery to catch and clear from the feet of Harrison. Vicario held this corner, and was having less trouble, mainly because were conceding less corners!

Werner had a chance after taking a pass from Maddison, but Pickford had advanced to block him off. It turned out Werner had been offside. Werner had a great chance when Johnson crossed, but the Everton number 22 Godfrey got the better of Werner to concede a corner. Godfrey didn't do so well dealing with another cross, heading straight to Maddison, whose left foot shot required another good save by the England goalkeeper. Godfrey was shown the first yellow card of the game when he argued against the referee's decision not to give him a corner.

Udogie made a powerful run and got into the box, cutting back to Richarlison, but the defence cleared. The tempo of the game and the atmosphere had increased significantly.

Now the substitutions began with Kulusevski on for Johnson and Sarr replacing Bentancur. A Richarlison lay-off for Maddison was intercepted. I felt that Spurs had been in more command during this phase than at any time previously in the game. Significantly, that would change as Spurs allowed the home side to press for an equaliser.

There was a lot of midfield battling going on with the home crowd urging on their team. Further changes saw Skipp and Gil replace Werner and Maddison. One of Everton's subs - Chermiti - had a great chance in the middle of the box after Dobbin crossed from the left, but his shot was straight at Vicario.

Dragusin came on for Hojbjerg, presumably to shore up our defence, but he gave us a couple of scares when the home crowd bayed for two penalties when he challenged Beto. Neither Mr Oliver nor VAR was interested.

Spurs did pay the penalty though when Everton had a free kick deep on the left. It was Romero who got a head to the ball which flew towards Vicario's left post. Branthwaite was first to the ball though and he headed into the net to cue massive celebrations. The 21-year-old got to celebrate twice as VAR examined the question of offside when the free kick was taken, before confirming the goal. Branthwaite hadn't scored a Premier League goal since his debut in December 2021.

The question of whether Spurs can hold onto fourth place this weekend, and indeed at the end of the season, remains to be seen. Everton's next appointment is to try and give Pep Guardiola as hard a time as they did today. Spurs now have three consecutive home games which they surely have to win.

In my preview I mentioned Michael Oliver's previous games in charge of these two teams. These have been two home wins for Spurs and two draws at Goodison Park. The trend continues. Spurs have gained four points from "The Toffees" this season and their Premier League points per game record against this club is 1.796 - better than that against most teams in the league.

. Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
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