It was an even game at Goodison Park as Everton and Tottenham drew on the opening day of the Premier League season. Both sides are probably happy with a point, as it gets them on the board and there were positives across the board. It is only one game and too much impetus can be put on the opening match, but a good start can be crucial in building up momentum for the season ahead. Here are three players who performed well:
The Dutchman may not have been signed to be the club’s number one and there could yet be another keeper signed before the transfer deadline. However, he played very well on Saturday, making some crucial late saves to clinch a point for Everton. He has had a mixed time in English football and has yet to establish himself as a first choice in the Premier League, but he showed his ability during the opening weekend.
Koeman obviously trusts him from their time together at Southampton and he repaid that faith. His save to deny Erik Lamela late on was incredible and is an early contender for save of the season. As his side were playing a back three, Stekelenburg was important in organising them due to his familiarity with the formation from his time at Southampton.
His distribution was good throughout and Everton have a reliable goalkeeper between the sticks. Although he is unlikely to be the long term option in goal, his performance on Saturday gives Everton time to find the right person to come in to take the shirt. There is certainly no rush for them to buy another keeper.
The new signing from Aston Villa shone on Saturday, with his intensity and relentless running unsettling Tottenham in the midfield. He was underrated last season at Aston Villa and it was surprising that nobody came in for him sooner.
At the price of £7.1 million, he is a bargain and could prove to be one of the signings of the summer. His ability to retrieve the ball in midfield areas helped relieve the pressure on the back four and set up counter-attacks. Gueye has found the perfect environment to showcase his talents and he will be vital as Everton target a top eight finish.
Since joining Tottenham for a huge £30 million fee in 2013, Erik Lamela has yet to justify his price tag, but he was their best player on Saturday. He is being tipped for a breakout season this year after showing some great form in pre-season and he justified those claims at Goodison Park.
His movement in the final third was superb and was highlighted by the equalising goal. The Argentine stole a march on his marker and scored an excellent header into the bottom left hand corner. He also nearly won the game late on with a powerful drive, which was only kept out by a magnificent save from Stekelenburg. The majority of the Spurs’ front line were disappointing on Saturday, but Lamela was superb and looks set for a big year.