The Premier League meeting of Everton and Tottenham on Sunday will be fascinating to watch on Sunday. Despite neither team being towards the top of the table, they are each led by world renowned managers in their own right. Rafa Benitez is the manager at Goodison Park, while Antonio Conte has taken the job in North London. It underlines the strength and attraction of the Premier League that these two coaches are operating outside of the top four. The visitors will be hoping to get back within those places before the end of the season. Meanwhile, the home side will be focused on stabilising after a disappointing run of form.
It has been a mixed start for Rafa Benitez at Everton. Due to his links with Liverpool, it won’t be long before the fans turn on the Spaniard, unless their form turns around soon. They have lost their last three matches and there are concerns about how thin the squad is. The absences of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison have left them weakened, but the manner of the defeats have been disappointing. Richarlison is now back and Benitez will be hoping for an improved performance against Tottenham. They are well placed in mid table. If they continue to lose matches, this season will become a write-off and the pressure will build.
Tottenham have hope again, following the appointment of Antonio Conte. Supporters will feel like the last few months have been wasted, but they should now look forward to a brighter future with a world class coach. Conte is a winner, but this is one of the most difficult jobs he has taken in recent years. There is a lot of work to do to transform Spurs into a side capable of competing for major honours. During the week, there were positive signs against Vitesse. However, they continued to look suspect at the back. Everton will try to exploit that.
If Everton lose, it will be their tenth league defeat in 2021. This will match their most home defeats in a calendar year.
Tottenham are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League matches against Everton at Goodison Park.
There is a lot of pressure on Richarlison this weekend, as he is the talisman of the Everton team until they get Doucoure and Calvert-Lewin back. The Brazilian has the talent to be the match-winner against any team. The weakness in Tottenham’s defence should give him encouragement that he can have a good afternoon on Sunday. He has contributed two goals and one assist in the Premier League this season. Richarlison will want to get ten for each by the end of the season. He is now ready to take the next step. In order to do this, he needs to become more consistent in the final third. After playing the full match last weekend, he should be closer to full fitness and Everton will benefit from that. Benitez is very good at developing specific game-plans for certain matches. The Spaniard will have a plan this weekend and Richarlison will be central to that.
The South Korean international has been Spurs’ best player this season. Due to the disappointing form of Kane, Son has had to step up and he will relish the opportunity to work under Conte. The new coach has the quality to take Son to a new level. He is already one of the best players in the Premier League, but he could be ready to take another step in the coming months. During the first half against Vitesse, he was electric. Although he only scored once, he was a constant threat and he looks ready to score a lot more frequently under the new manager. In the Premier League this season, he has contributed four goals and one assist. This was under Nuno Espirito Santo, whose side was struggling to create clear cut chances. The attack will be a lot more threatening under Conte. As a result, Son will benefit and he will be crucial over the coming weeks.
Calvert-Lewin and Doucoure will remain on the sidelines, with their return date yet to be confirmed. Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina are also expected to be missing for the weekend. However, Lucas Digne has been confirmed as available by Benitez.
Bryan Gil is a doubt with a thigh injury, while Ryan Sessegnon is unavailable. Conte set up with a 3-4-2-1 formation in the Europa Conference League and it is likely he will persist with this for the time being, due to the number of wide options available to him.
The recent form of Everton makes it difficult to believe they are capable of spoiling the party on Sunday. However, Tottenham were far from convincing at the back during their midweek fixture and Benitez is skilled enough to take advantage of that. It will be an intriguing contest. Conte won’t be able to fix Tottenham over night, which means some poor results will happen over the coming weeks. However, they should have enough to take three points on Sunday.
Everton 1-2 Tottenham