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Tactical Analysis: Tottenham 2-1 Everton

It was ‘Déjà vu’ at the Lane as Tottenham Hotspur defeated Everton at home again on Sunday evening. Both sides came into the game having played Europa League matches in midweek, and were also level on points in the Barclays Premier League table. Everton scored the first with a cracking goal from range, but Christian Eriksen scored just six minutes after the opener. The winner came from Roberto Soldado, scoring his first goal in the league this season. The first 20 minutes were comfortable for Everton, but how did it fall apart? What went wrong for the Toffees and how did Tottenham win the game?

Spurs 2 Everton 1


Tottenham Hotspur lined-up in a 4-2-3-1, making five changes from the win against Partizan Belgrade in midweek. Kyle Naughton, Benjamin Stambouli, Moussa Dembele, Paulinho and Erik Lamela were all replaced by Federico Fazio, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. The whites started with Hugo Lloris in goal, Jan Vertonghen, Federico Fazio in the centre-back spots with Vlad Chiriches and Ben Davies as the full-backs. Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason in the two defensive midfield spots were just behind Christian Eriksen, Aaron Lennon and Harry Kane. Roberto Soldado started upfront.

Everton also lined-up in a 4-2-3-1, making 4 changes in the starting team. Tony Hibbert, Luke Garbutt, James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady came out, being replaced by Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines, Gareth Barry and Ross Barkley. The toffees started with Tim Howard in goal, Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin being the defence. Muhamed Besic and Gareth Barry started as the two defensive midfielders. Ross Barkley, Samuel Eto’o and Kevin Mirallas were the 3 attacking midfielders. Romelu Lukaku the starting striker.

Was James McCarthy A Miss?

We all know how Everton play in terms with there full-backs, the press highly on the wings with the two defensive midfielders covering there spots, but that didn’t happen today. James McCarthy pulled his hamstring in midweek, so Gareth Barry was rushed into his position, Muhamed Besic started in the midfield for the first time in two consecutive matches after Europa League games (starting the European game and then the next match in the league). Here is Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines doing there usual attacking roles.

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Here are the two full-backs labeled on the picture, whenever Leighton Baines or Seamus Coleman get the ball in the final third, one of the full-backs would make a run into the area. As you can see neither Muhamed Besic or Gareth Barry are in the final third because they are covering the two positions.

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This is moments later, with Seamus Coleman already making a run into the area. We’ve seen a few goals this season from Seamus Coleman and all have come inside the area, but Coleman didn’t touch the ball in the penalty area in the match and only made two touches in the last third of the pitch. Spurs used there runs to their advantage, and when the countered, they countered hard.

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This is when they countered, as you can see the black boxes represent the space and that space is where James McCarthy and Gareth Barry would’ve been covering. Besic was too central and didn’t cover that space. In this situation, they didn’t score but it was a early warning.

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Once again, Spurs didn’t score from this situation, however it could’ve been a lot worse. Any header from Soldado into the black space would’ve spelt trouble for Everton, as Harry Kane was already making a run. Also, Muhamed Besic or Seamus Coleman should’ve been covering the black space.

Tottenham Counter From Poor Everton Errors

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Here is the winning goal. Harry Kane makes a great tackle on Gareth Barry and Aaron Lennon sprints forward. Leighton Baines was pressing way to far and is already behind the Spurs counter, leaving Sylvain Distin having to deal with 4 Tottenham players. If Leighton Baines wasn’t to far forward, then it would be much easier for Distin to defend.

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Aaron Lennon has plenty of easy options, the only thing Sylvain Distin can do it try and tackle him. Normally, there would be a Everton defender covering one of the two places and Lennon had the easiest pass to make all day. Poor defending from Everton but great counter-attacking football from Tottenham.

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This continued into the second-half, here is all 23 interceptions made by Tottenham players, 4 of them in the Everton half. This stat was almost double the amount of interceptions Everton made in the game (12).

Hosts Pressing Helped the Victory

In the second half, rather than sit back and defend, Spurs applied more pressure on the Everton defence, forcing mistakes. Sometimes there would be 4 or 5 Tottenham players pushing onto two or one Everton defender.

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You would normally see one striker pushing up on a defender when it’s close to the end and you sit back and defend, but there are 4 Tottenham attackers pressing highly on the only Everton defender back for them. If the Toffees defender would’ve played a sloppy pass or lost the ball, the Spurs attackers would pounce on that opportunity and it would probably be 3-1 to the hosts.

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Here is another picture close to the end of the match, but there a still 5 Tottenham Players adding pressure on Aiden McGeady, who actually loses the ball in this situation. This happened constantly and the hosts could’ve scored a third goal with ease.

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As I said, this forced Everton into mistakes, here are Everton’s failed passes map, and as you can see many came from the Everton half. In total, 88% of Everton passes were a success (which was a higher percentage than Tottenham’s) but they were poor round the defence.

Man of the Match: Harry Kane

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It was a easy choice for my man of the match, Harry Kane was fantastic for Tottenham and was a constant pain for Everton. The English striker got back and defended well for his team, making tackles, made a clearance and was also a key player in the final third. He created 3 important chances in the game and the Everton defence couldn’t handle him.


A superb week for Tottenham who finished it with a great victory over Everton who were in good form. Everton controlled the first 20 minutes but it all went down hill. 78% of the teams that have the most possession go on to win the game, but unfortunately that stat doesn’t go into the favour of Everton, who once again had the possession but didn’t know what to do with it.

Joel Parker
Joel Parker
Big Evertonian and love writing about Football!!
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