Two of the top seven sides in the Premier League will meet each other at White Hart Lane as Tottenham host Everton this Sunday.
Spurs are riding a wave of optimism at the moment, high in spirits after their 4-0 demolition of a hapless Stoke City side at home. That emphatic victory put them close to Chelsea, in second place, but any hopes of mounting a late title challenge with only 12 games to go, are very slim, at this point in time. Although, with their exit from the Europa League, the North London side do have a thinner fixture list from now till the end of the campaign, which can help them shift their focus back on the league leaders, something their manager Pochettino will expect from his well drilled Tottenham Hotspur as they count their days to bid farewell to their fabled home in White Hart Lane.
Everton, on the other hand, have turned a corner since Christmas. Boosted by a change in formation and the success of January signings, Ronald Koeman has made Everton not only hard to beat, but also good to watch again. The Blues of Merseyside are on the up and probably more upbeat about their future than their closest rivals, what with the prospect of a new stadium nearer to the heart of Liverpool. They are on a nine game unbeaten run in the Premier League, including some memorable wins at home against Arsenal and Manchester City, but their trip down South come Sunday could be their first real litmus test to see how far they have come under the Dutch manager.
Toby Alderweireld (groin) remains a doubt for the Sunday clash after being taken off against Stoke. Spurs will definitely miss left-back Danny Rose who still is ‘a few weeks away’ according to the Argentine manager. Defender Jan Vertonghen is expected to reclaim his position at the heart of back four that has conceded the second least number of goals this season.
Everton have no fresh injury concerns for the trip to north London, with joint top scorer Romelu Lukaku expected to lead the line.
Tottenham have won their last 8 home matches (Premier League) and are still unbeaten at White Hart Lane.
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Everton‘s last 3 away games (Premier League).
Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 7 home matches (Premier League).
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
If Harry Kane scored the majority of goals for Tottenham in 2017, Eriksen was the chief architect behind a sizable portion of them. Eriksen, after a slow start to the league much like Spurs themselves, has clicked into gear lately and is now having a more decisive influence on the outcome, on a regular basis. With 5 goals and 10 assists (highest in the league) in 25 appearances, Eriksen is one of the main men leading the top four charge at Spurs. His partnership with Kane and Alli has proved vital for Tottenham in their recent resurgent form and will continue to be the difference between Spurs and the other four teams behind them in the league table.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
Lukaku has been a revelation for a good few seasons now. With five goals in the last three games, and seventeen goals for the season so far and a further four assists in 24 appearances, the Belgian will take some stopping. It’s easy to forget he is only 23 years old and is yet to reach the peak of powers, given his consistent goal return for a team that has had two different managers in the last three years that he has been at Everton. His conversion rate has been one of the best in Europe, let alone England – with an average of 2.7 shots per goal suggesting his predatory nature in front of goal. An awful lot will depend on how well Lukaku is involved in the game which is why he is the player to watch for the visitors.
I do not see plenty of goals in this one as the home side is known to be assured at the back – only five goals conceded at White Hart Lane by Spurs this season. Everton to get away with a well earned draw in a cagey affair.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Everton