Everton suffered their first loss of the season last Sunday in the 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester City. It was a more than satisfactory performance from the toffees but in the end the quality of the City side was just too much for Everton who fell to only their 4th defeat in the last 19 home league games against Man City. It’s been a week that has seen Everton turn down a transfer request from Chelsea target John Stones. The League Cup kicked off again this week for Everton with the blues making hard work of League 1 side Barnsley with a 5-3 win after extra time. After it seems that the John Stones saga has finally come to an end, attention turns to Saturday evening’s away fixture at Tottenham. The 2 sides last met on the last day of last season at Goodison when a single goal from Harry Kane won the game for the visitors. Spurs also won the last meeting at White Hart Lane, a 2-1 victory for the London side back in November despite Mirallas giving Everton an early lead.
The last fixture between the 2 sides back in May, remains Tottenham’s last league win after a poor start to this season has left them with just 2 points off the opening 3 games. Last weekend, Spurs could only manage a 1-1 draw away to Leicester. It was the 81st minute before the deadlock was broke at the King Power when Spurs’ summer signing Dele Alli put Tottenham 1-0 up with a simple header at the far post. Tottenham’s lead didn’t last long however and just 90 seconds later, Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez levelled the game with his 4th goal of the season. Everton meanwhile slipped to their first defeat of the season last Sunday afternoon when Man City won 2-0 at Goodison. Goals from Kolarov and Nasri won the game for the Manchester side but there were positives for Everton to take from the game. It was a solid performance from the Everton side that could have picked up points had City not been on top form, with both goals arguably down to goalkeeping errors from Tim Howard. Midweek saw Everton pick up an extra time win at Barnsley in the League Cup in an 8 goal thriller. An own goal, 2 goals for Romelu Lukaku and 1 each for Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas meant Everton would progress to face Reading in round 3. Gerard Deulofeu was the standout performer on Wednesday night after coming on as a half time substitute.
After suffering an injury in last weekend’s defeat to City, Brendan Galloway is expected to miss out despite being called up to the England U21s squad earlier this week. Martinez has once again indicated that John Stones will start and is focussed on the game despite him having a transfer request. Leighton Baines, Darron Gibson, Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar are the only certainties to miss out as they remain out through long term injuries. As for the home side, Christian Eriksen will remain absent with a knee injury but Andros Townsend looks likely to return to the squad after overcoming an ankle injury. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has indicated that Saturday’s clash could come too soon for the Club’s latest two signings Clinton Njie and Heung-Min Son with the latter still needing international clearance and a work permit which may not be completed in time.
After a start for Joel Robles in midweek, Tim Howard is set to return to start in goal this weekend despite a couple of mistakes last Sunday. Coleman will surely start at right back after being rested in midweek for young debutant Matthew Pennington. Martinez has confirmed that he will start John Stones this weekend despite the media frenzy that has surrounded the 21-year-old this week. He’ll start alongside captain Phil Jagielka who – like Stones – is yet to miss a minute of football this season. With Baines still injured and Galloway not yet 100% fit, another start for Bryan Oviedo at left back is looking likely. The other possibility is that Gareth Barry will start at left back with McCarthy and Cleverley as the centre midfield pairing. If not, Barry will once again start alongside James McCarthy which has been Martinez’ preferred centre midfield pairing ever since he signed them back in 2013. Ross Barkley will then surely start in front of them and just behind the striker after having an excellent start to the season. After playing 110 minutes of football on Wednesday night, Kevin Mirallas could start on the bench as he rarely plays a full 90. This opens up the opportunity for Cleverley to start again who has also has a good start to what is his first season with the club. After an outstanding display on Wednesday night in which he picked up 2 assists, Deulofeu is likely to start on the other wing in what will be his first start since re-joining the club in the summer. Romelu Lukaku will start upfront after he picked up his second brace of the season at Barnsley.
Tottenham will be desperate to pick up their first win of the season on Saturday evening in front of their home fans but Everton won’t make it easy for them and will be looking to build on the 4 points this season that sees Everton sit in 7th. A week that has hopefully seen the end of the Stones saga will want to be ended by 3 points at White Hart Lane, a ground that hasn’t brought the best of luck to Everton over recent years. Christian Eriksen is a big loss for Tottenham and Everton will look to take advantage of that, an entertaining game is in prospect.
Score Prediction 1-2 Everton.
Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Oviedo, Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Lukaku.