Saturday’s clash between Everton and Tottenham is their 40th Premier League meeting and 150th league clash. The home side are full of confidence, due to their eight match unbeaten run, with just two defeats in 15. The visitors will travel with confidence, knowing Everton have won just six of the other 39 Premier League meetings. However, it is over five years since Tottenham last won at Goodison Park. Since Tottenham’s win on 21st February 2007, there has been a rare Everton victory and three draws.
Everton dismal home defeat to Bolton is proving a turning point with Everton unbeaten in their last five at home. Tamworth, Blackpool, Manchester City and Chelsea left defeated, whilst strugglers Blackburn earned a point. Before their capitulation at the Emirates, Tottenham were unbeaten in their last three away games with draws at Anfield and Stevenage following a cup win at Watford. Everton’s last league outing was a disappointing 1 – 1 draw at QPR; Tottenham were unfortunate to lose 3 – 1 at home to Manchester United.
The return of key midfielder Scott Parker will boost the visitor’s midfield. Parker, returning after a one-match ban, offers a protective screen in front of the back four. His defensive presence allows Modric, van der Vaart, Lennon and Bale to create.
Managers expect defensive midfielders to excel in defensive aspects and Parker does just that. Unsurprisingly, the England captain comes out on top in terms of tackling; nobody has attempted more, this season. Parker is vital to Tottenham’s passing game with attacks often starting with him. This is clear by his number of attempted passes; his passing accuracy is a big advantage to Spurs’ attacking style.
Two of Parker’s main traits are his work rate and eagerness to win possession. His 60 interceptions, this season, is testament to that – only Assou-Ekotto (68) can better that for Spurs. However, these traits often prove to be his downfall. Leading the way in terms of fouls conceded and yellow and red cards are a problem; discipline issues can make him a liability. His tackle success rate (69%) is low, given his position; Everton’s leading midfielder Marouane Fellaini has a tackle success rate of 87%. Parker adds a lot to Tottenham’s midfield but he needs to be more aware of his tackling and positional discipline.
More on page 2: Stats for Drenthe Vs Bale…