Everton 0-0 Tottenham - Premier League Match Report

Everton 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

 As the players lined up at Goodison Park for today’s game, there was a sense of expectation about the stands. So much on offer for both teams; three points for either club would grant them a rare second place spot, early on in this season’s Premier League race. A mere point separated André Villas-Boas’ and Roberto Martínez’s squads, both having had impressive starts in the opening nine games; Spurs winning all but one of their away games (aside from the match at high-flying Arsenal), and The Toffees having not last home since last December. With the game perfectly poised for an all-out battle, some things are inevitable: the teams, in the end, managed to cancel each other out.

With plenty up for grabs, Everton fans sat inside Goodison and watching at home would have been hugely disappointed with their team’s first half performance. From the onset, it was Tottenham Hotspur that made the immediate impact on the game; Roberto Soldado heading wide from a tricky – but unmarked position – in the box, after just five minutes. It was an opening twenty minutes in which Spurs dominated; Andros Townsend and Jan Vertonghen particularly instrumental in creating an early six chances, to Everton’s zero. In the 22nd minute Tottenham fans may feel aggrieved to have not been given a penalty when Vertonghen was brought down by Everton defender Séamus Coleman inside the box. Yet, in true support of the old cliché ‘the decisions even out’, the Irishman could – and probably should have – been given a penalty at the other end, mid-way through the second-half.

Everton were utterly overrun in the first half, particularly in midfield; the likes of Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar completely insubstantial in comparison to the likes of Aaron Lennon, Lewis Holtby and Vertonghen; the latter fantastic at both ends of the field for ninety minutes, and fully deserving of his Man of the Match award. For forty-five minutes Everton struggled to get into the game, Romelu Lukaku remaining a frustrated figure at their head. It was a game where service was tough to come by for strikers on both teams, and Soldado also remained ineffective in front of Tim Howard’s goal.

It was a game of few clear-cut chances, but in the second half Everton looked a much brighter and more effective outlet. Within ten minutes of the restart, the second half possession stood 60-40% in the home side’s favour – and, more importantly, they were starting to take control in more important areas of the pitch. The Goodison faithful had started to come to life and there was a sense that they could go on and get more than a point from this game. The idea in the 64th minute from Martinez – to bring on Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu for Osman and Kevin Mirallas – proved inspired, as Everton pushed forward in search of three points.

Stretching to reach onto a through-ball in the 77th minute, the big Belgian Lukaku accidentally collided with Tottenham goal-keeper Hugo Lloris, his right knee crashing into the Spurs man’s head. Evidently there was some concern from the Tottenham players, as Lloris received serious treatment on the field. What followed, however, was a bizarre sequence of events. On the side-lines, substitute goal-keeper Brad Friedel waited to make his entrance, and it looked like the precautionary measure to take off Lloris, had already been decided. However, in a series of comical arguments with his players, the Tottenham first choice had made his own decisions: he wandered back onto the field, left Friedel to sit back down, and got on with the match.

It was game that raced to a close, with both teams enjoying periods of possession where it seemed like they could push for three points – a familiar theme throughout the ninety minutes. There were chances at either end: Tim Howard saving a shot from Gylfi Sigurðsson, and Hugo Lloris – proving that his faculties were all firmly intact – coming out smartly to stop Deulofeu late on. In the end, a draw seemed a fair reflection of the game, as both teams struggled to do enough to take all three points. For the moment at least, Chelsea remain second in the Barclays Premier League table.

Written by Ben J. – @driftedoffside

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