Everton vs Tottenham - Match preview and predicted line-ups

One of the more attractive fixtures of the opening weekend, Everton versus Tottenham Hotspur pits one of last season’s under-achievers against one of last season’s over-achievers. Ronald Koeman has been brought in from Southampton to help an already talented Everton squad realise their potential, while Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping Spurs can maintain the high level of performance they had for the majority of last season. Both sides will view this as a tough opening game, so expect an even game with the focus on not losing rather than winning.

 

Recent Form

Everton had mixed results in pre-season with two wins, two defeats and a draw. A slight concern will be the lack of goals, with just two in their final four pre-season friendlies. Spurs look very lightly raced with only three friendlies under their belt; perhaps this is a tactic to allow Pochettino to work the players harder in training. They had two defeats against Juventus and Atletico Madrid in Australia, but did thrash Internazionale 6-1 in their final friendly in Oslo.

Predicted Line-ups 

Everton predicted starting XI                                             Tottenham predicted starting XI

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Injuries and suspensions 

Phil Jagielka returned from a hamstring injury to play against Espanyol, and new defender Ashley Williams’ move from Swansea City should go through in time for him to feature. Defensive midfielder Muhamed Besic is a long-term absentee after a knee ligament injury in pre-season. Romelu Lukaku needed stitches in his heel after the Espanyol friendly, but should make it.

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For Spurs, centre back Jan Vertonghen is back in full training injuring his ankle ligaments at Euro 2016 with Belgium. He did not feature in pre-season, and starting him comes with a risk but his partnership with Toby Alderweireld was so integral last year that Pochettino will want him back as soon as possible. Moussa Dembele is still serving the six-game ban handed to him following last season’s infamous fracas against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which means new signing Victor Wanyama could be set for a full debut. Clinton N’jie misses out with a calf problem.

Conclusion 

If recent meetings are anything to go by, expect a tight game with few goals. Just one of the last six Premier League meetings between these two has produced more than two goals, with the last three clashes at Goodison Park reading 1-1, 0-1 and 0-0. Spurs have the advantage of continuity; they have the same manager and the same spine of the team that was outstanding last term, losing only three games away from home.

With the amount of money in the Premier League, Spurs fans will be pleased they have got through the summer with Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier, Harry Kane and Dele Alli still in a Lilywhite shirt. Everton, understandably, are in a bit more flux with a new manager, John Stones recently departed and uncertainty over Romelu Lukaku’s future. Expect the Toffees to go well this season, but things could take a few weeks to settle down. With no Dembele, a Dier-Wanyama midfield axis gives Spurs a defensive base that suits a tough away game and we’re plumping for them to edge this by the odd goal.

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