One of the more theeye-catching fixtures of the weekend will be taking place at Goodison Park. Everton welcome Tottenham to Merseyside, in a match that will offer a good indicator of where both sides are. The hosts are looking to close the gap on the top six this season and this will be a good opportunity to show that they can compete. Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are trying to maintain pace with the leading pack and a victory over a good Toffees’ side will strengthen their title credentials.
There have been signs that there is an improvement under Marco Silva, but there is a feeling that there remains more to come from Everton this season. They signed a number of talented individuals during the summer, such as Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes and Richarlison. All three have made an impact, but the balance of the team remains an area that could improve. The Christmas period will be a good test for this squad of players and it will show whether they have the durability to challenge for a top-six finish. Their recent form hasn’t been great and they will be looking to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.
Tottenham have had an interesting week. The sacking of Jose Mourinho at Manchester United has ramped up speculation regarding Mauricio Pochettino’s long-term future. The Argentine coach has done excellently at Tottenham, but the lure of a bigger club could be too much to turn down when the summer rolls around. Supporters will be hoping that it doesn’t have an impact on the team’s season as results have been good since the North London defeat to Arsenal in the Premier League. They are six points behind Liverpool, into the knockout stages of the Champions League and in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. This is shaping up to be Spurs’ best season for a long time.
Richarlison has scored four goals in his last four Premier League matches at Goodison Park.
Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 11 matches against Everton. This is a record that will give the visitors confidence at the weekend.
There were a lot of doubters during the summer when Everton splashed out a club record fee to land Richarlison. The Brazilian did well for Watford during the first-half of the season, but his form dropped off a cliff thereafter. The decline coincided with the departure of Marco Silva and it is clear that the forward has a good relationship with the Portuguese coach. It was a risk for Silva to make such a big play to be reunited with the 21-year-old during the summer, but it has already proven to be a great piece of business. He has scored eight Premier League goals and played his way into the Brazil national team due to his performances at Everton. The links to bigger clubs are already being reported and the Toffees are set to make a huge profit on their prized asset in years to come. The coming weeks will be important for Richarlison as he needs to prove that he can deliver over the course of a season and not suffer a decline in form after the first half of the campaign. Due to his impressive form at Goodison Park, he will be the player that Tottenham fear at the weekend.
Pochettino has done excellently to rotate the squad as much as he has during recent weeks and continue to pick up victories. Some of the changes have been enforced due to injuries. Despite the lack of transfer business during the summer, the squad has a lot of depth to it and that has shone through over the course of the season to date. Eriksen remains one of the most important players in the squad and his season has yet to take off. A combination of rotation and injuries has prevented him from performing to the level we have come to expect from him. In the Premier League, he has contributed one goal and six assists. His creativity remains as impressive as ever, but the Danish international will be looking to score a few more over the coming weeks. His only goal came last weekend against Burnley and it could set him up for a much better output over the fixtures ahead.
Richarlison and Andre Gomes are both expected to be passed fit, despite missing training sessions during the week. Idrissa Gueye faces a battle to be passed fit after sitting out of the defeat to Manchester City.
Davinson Sanchez is in contention to return to the starting eleven for the first time in over a month. Son Heung-min remains available ahead of international duty next month. However, Eric Dier, Serge Aurier, Mousa Dembele, Victor Wanyama and Jan Vertonghen won’t be available.
This is going to be an open match with chances at both ends. Everton can consider themselves to be in with a chance as the game is at Goodison Park. However, their confidence will be low after a difficult period on the pitch recently. That said, a game against one of the top-six can provide the freedom to perform to a high level. They will go at Tottenham on Sunday, but their frailties at the back mean that they are unlikely to keep a clean sheet. It will be a difficult test for the visitors, but they should have enough to claim the three points.
Everton 1-2 Tottenham