Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton – Preview

A week is a deceiving amount of time – it seems like an age ago that we were all pinned back to our seats following Riyad Mahrez’s immediate equaliser. To be fair, a lot has happened between that goal and now.

We thought the deal to bring Saido Berahino to White Hart Lane was just waiting to happen, before we’ve now discovered that West Bromwich Albion are unlikely to sell at any price. Victor Wanyama has also made his intentions to join Spurs clear, but again, his club probably won’t be selling up at this time.

Oh, and we were successfully linked with and signed Bayer Leverkusen winger Heung-Min Son.

With only a few days of the transfer window to go, there are still some blindingly obvious gaps to feel – we still have no natural defensive midfielder, and as it stands, new boys Clinton N’Jie and Heung-Min Son will have to double up as strikers when needed.

We also discovered our opponents in this year’s UEFA Europa League group stage – whilst trips to Monaco and Anderlecht will certainly be less fatiguing, our group is considerably harder than in previous years.

So yeah, a lot has happened since our draw with Leicester, which may have covered up some of the disappointment of that day. We didn’t trouble Ranieri’s men enough, and we yet again switched off from kick-off and made it easy for our opponents to take the initiative.

The standard of our build-up play considerably declined from the game against Stoke City, making the majority of the match dull and lifeless – against a side as possession-hungry as Everton, we’ll need to up our game.

Alternatively, we could resort to a defensive system used to do the double over the Toffees last year. In our home game against Roberto Martinez’s side, we quickly overturned a 0-1 deficit, before allowing Everton to dominate possession, but without them troubling us (cue the comparisons between our clubs).

On the last day of last season, we took advantage of counter attacks, with Harry Kane heading the winner at Goodison Park.

Despite Everton being in the same boat as us for the past few years (on the cusp of the Champions League places), we are unbeaten in our last five meetings, winning the previous three. However, the last two times we played Everton at White Hart Lane in August, we’ve been defeated (0-2 in the 2006/07 season, and 1-3 in the 2007/08 season).

Opposing manager Martinez has had mixed fortunes in N17; whilst his Wigan Athletic side were on the receiving end of a 9-1 drubbing in November 2009, he did mastermind two victories here between 2010 and 2013.

Onto team news, and Mauricio Pochettino unfortunately confirmed Christian Eriksen remains sidelined with a knee injury. Clinton N’Jie and Andros Townsend are available but unlikely to feature due to fitness concerns, and Heung-Min Son is yet to receive international clearance.

Everton will be without at least five players, with Brendon Galloway, Tony Hibbert (both knee), Leighton Baines, Darron Gibson (both ankle) and Steven Pienaar (hamstring) are set to miss out, whilst speculation over John Stones’s future could see him dropped.

I cannot stress how much we need Danny Rose back in the side – the width and determination he provides makes our attacking threat far superior, and Ben Davies is barely a safe defensive option. Other than that, I expect the rest if the back four to be unchanged, although I wouldn’t be against Kevin Wimmer coming in for Jan Vertonghen following his mistake last week.

In midfield, whilst Ryan Mason provides a dynamism that’s unmatched in our squad, we miss the metronome of Nabil Bentaleb – I expect the Algerian to partner former Everton loanee Eric Dier.

Erik Lamela’s move to Inter hinges on the Italian side’s deal for Wolfsburg midfielder Ivan Perisic, so I expect the Argentine to play some part on Saturday. I would preferably like to see Alex Pritchard given a start, but I imagine the most he’ll achieve is a place on the bench.

No matter how tired Harry Kane looks right now, we have no other option but to start him.

Will Tottenham Hotspur manage to claim a victory in August, or will Everton come to North London and show just how far behind we are from the rest of the pack?

Expected XI: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Bentaleb; Dembele, Lamela, Chadli; Kane

Sean Walsh

Sean Walsh

The ramblings of a frustrated Spurs fan.
Sean Walsh