This match is being contested between two clubs who are developing into teams that could potentially challenge for the top four on a consistent basis, however, their approaches couldn’t be more different. Everton employed a young, enthusiastic manager in the summer to change the side’s playing style – and their transfer policy has allowed them to form a very talented squad of players. In addition, their academy consistently produces players who can reach the first team, which saves the club money. This is very important to a club like Everton who can’t compete financially with the top clubs in the country. On the other hand, Tottenham have transformed themselves into title challengers by spending over £100m on players in the summer, most of which was raised by the sale of Gareth Bale. Although it’s early in the season, both projects look to have an exciting future. Many betting outlets have good odds on Spurs finishing in the top four, sports betting is easy why not place a bet on them!?
Everton are coming into the match in great form having won 5 from their last 6 matches. Roberto Martinez’s side have only lost once this season and that was away to Manchester City so it’s clear that he Spaniard has his side set up well both going forward and at the back. Many expected Everton to start leaking goals as Wigan under Martinez were extremely fragile at the back, but there is no sign of that at Goodison Park. They are currently sixth in the table but a win this weekend could see them enter the top four, leapfrogging Sunday’s opposition in the process. Many thought that Everton would fall away under Martinez but it looks like the Spaniard has already improved the side and Bill Kenwright’s early claims of a Champions League finish may not be too far off the mark.
Tottenham have had a strong start to the season but there are many things that need to be improved if they are to the Champions League next season. In particular, their home form against the lesser teams needs to be improved and they need to be more clinical in front of goal. Their past two home games have seen an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to rivals West Ham who played without a striker, and a scrappy 1-0 win over Hull. A team as talented as Spurs should be beating both teams with ease. Andre Villas-Boas hasn’t helped the issue by blaming the negative atmosphere created by the home fans. Meanwhile, his side has only scored 9 league goals which is lower than the rest of the top nine. Their impressive defence has won them matches, they have only conceded 5 goals all season. This is only bettered in the Premier League by Southampton who have only conceded 3 times.
This match is huge for both clubs. If Everton are to compete in the top 6 then they will need to be picking up points against the top teams, especially at home. Whereas if Tottenham are going to finish in the top four or even challenge for the title then they will want to pick up at least a point from Everton. It will also be a huge test for Martinez to prove he can get his Everton side to compete against the bigger teams, especially considering the Merseyside derby is just weeks away.
Gareth Barry has won his first five league matches for Everton. Nobody has done this since Alan Whittle in 1968. The loss to Manchester City when Barry wasn’t playing highlighted his importance to the team.
Tottenham have kept six clean sheets in their first nine league matches. On the three occasions that they conceded a goal, they also failed to win the match. This shows that if you manage to score against the strong Spurs back four, you have a great chance of getting at least a point.
Romulu Lukaku has been on fire for Everton since joining on loan from Chelsea. The Belgian has already scored 5 goals at an impressive minutes per goal of 75 minutes. His shooting accuracy (77%) is superb and his chance conversion rate (38%) shows how clinical he is in front of goal. He has also scored all three of his clear cut chances this season which shows that he will punish you if you let him have a clear sight of goal. On Sunday, he will be coming up against a very organised back four who will feel confident of keeping him at bay, but Lukaku’s strength, pace and power make it difficult for any defence to nullify him. It will be during games against the big clubs that Lukaku has the chance to show both Jose Mourinho and Marc Wilmots that he is good enough to be starting games for Chelsea and Belgium.
Spurs have their own in form striker in Roberto Soldado who has four league goals so far this season. An issue for Villas-Boas is that three of his goals have been from the penalty spot. His only goal from open play was against Aston Villa two weeks ago. The Spanish International is a great finisher though and as he adapts to English football, his scoring rate from open play will increase. Spurs have an array of talented play-makers in midfield and Soldado offers a focal point for them to flourish. The striker’s shooting accuracy (60%) is quite impressive while his chance conversion rate (27%) isn’t to be sniffed at. He has scored 4 of his 6 clear cut chances (67%) but this will improve over the coming months as he has showed in La Liga how deadly he is in front of goal.
Arouna Kone (knee) and Johnny Heitinga (groin) are both set to miss Sunday’s match. Antolín Alcaraz (groin) is still missing and won’t be back until the end of the month. Darron Gibson is a long term absentee with an ACL knee injury. Apostolos Vellios has a knock and is a doubt for the match against Tottenham. Martinez has rubbished claims that Ross Barkley is suffering from fatigue so the young Englishman is likely to start at the weekend. The Spanish manager said he will rest Barkley when the time is right. That’s unlikely to be this weekend.
Andros Townsend is likely to play despite having broken bones in his hand after sitting out of Tottenham’s Capital One tie against Hull. Etienne Capoue and Danny Rose are returning to action and could even feature this weekend. Nacer Chadli and Kyle Naughton both picked up injuries on Wednesday and are doubts for the weekend match. If Rose and Naughton both miss out then Villas-Boas has an issue at left back. Jan Vertonghen could step in.
It’s going to be a great game as both sides contain exciting attacking talent and have solid defences. Everton’s impressive run of results has to end soon and a very strong Tottenham side may just have too much for the Toffees. I think both teams will score but Tottenham will come out on top. Tottenham seem to play better football away from home and I expect them to play exciting attacking football at the weekend with their strong defence giving them a platform to do so. Younes Kaboul and Michael Dawson should be able to nullify the threat of Lukaku, while Everton’s defence will struggle to stop Spurs’ midfield from creating chances aplenty for Soldado.
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Feb 28, 2015 0