Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur: Preview and Prediction
Two sleeping giants of the Premier League era, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur will lock horns on Monday evening at Goodison Park with different goals and agendas for each side. For the Toffees it’s all about trying to avoid falling into the relegation scrap and Spurs want to finish in the top four to secure UEFA Champions League football next season. One thing that unites the two sides is that they are both currently in a transitional phase.
After parting ways with Italian coach Antonio Conte, the Lillywhites have handed over the reins to Cristian Stellini who will hope to begin his tenure with a victory. Apart from the Conte debacle, director of football Fabio Paratici is also expected to leave the club. With so much happening behind the scenes, Stellini must keep the players focused and they can ill-afford to get distracted at such a crucial juncture of the season.
On the other hand, the Merseyside outfit is in 15th place on the league table and just 3 points separate the Blues from 20th-placed Southampton. It has been a very disappointing campaign for them so far. Every game between now and the end of the season will be crucial for Sean Dyche who only took over from Frank Lampard in January.
Talking about the recent form of both these clubs, neither team has been at their best in the past few weeks. Starting with Spurs, their 3-3 draw with Southampton proved to be the final straw after their Champions League elimination and FA Cup exit in nearly a week’s time.
The North London club currently sit in fourth place with 49 points from 28 games. On the other hand, the Toffees sit just five places from the bottom. Dyche’s men have accumulated just 26 points from 28 games, and with 10 matches remaining, they need to buckle up.
The Merseyside-based club did well to hold Chelsea to a 2-2 draw in their last match before the international break but with matches against Spurs, Manchester United and Newcastle United to come in the upcoming weeks, they need to pull up their socks.
The Lillywhites have won three in their last five but it’s their overall form and particularly the manner of defeat against the Saints and then Conte’s outburst which led to the Italian’s exit. It had been coming but the timing does them no favour as they need to hold onto that final Champions League qualification berth with all their might.
The two Premier League sides have come face to face against each other a total of 171 times across all competitions with Spurs having an upper hand as they recorded 65 wins, whereas the Toffees have 49 victories. 57 matches finished all square between them whereas the reverse fixture earlier this season finished 2-0 in the favour of the Lillywhites.
Dyche’s men are likely to be without Dominic Calvert-Lewin, he has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since the start of February. Andros Townsend is another long-term absentee but apart from the two aforementioned players, the Toffees have no more injury concerns for their upcoming Premier League clash. Spurs though have quite a few players missing, and some important ones too.
Ryan Sessegnon, Emerson Royal, Ben Davies, Yves Bissouma, and Rodrigo Bentancur are all expected to miss the trip to Goodison Park while Richarlison won’t be fit to feature in a reunion against his former club. Hugo Lloris has only just returned to training but the match may have come too soon for the Frenchman.
For the home side, Jordan Pickford will keep his place in goal, behind a back four of Seamus Coleman, Michael Keane, James Tarkowski and Ben Godfrey. Abdoulaye Doucoure, Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana will start in the engine room behind the trio of Alex Iwobi, Dwight McNeil and Demarai Gray.
Spurs meanwhile are likely to lineup in a 3-4-3 with Fraser Forster in goal, behind Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, and Clement Lenglet. Ivan Perisic and Pedro Porro will start as wing-backs while Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Oliver Skipp will form the midfield duo, behind the front three, Son Heung-min, Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane.
Predicted Starting XIs
Everton (4-3-3): Jordan Pickford; Seamus Coleman, Michael Keane, James Tarkowski, Ben Godfrey; Abdoulaye Doucoure, Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana; Alex Iwobi, Dwight McNeil, Demarai Gray.
Tottenham Hotspur (3-5-2): Fraser Forster; Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, Clement Lenglet; Ivan Perisic, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Oliver Skipp, Pedro Porro, Dejan Kulusevski; Son Heung-min, Harry Kane.
Given the recent difficulties of both sides, expect a closely contested game although Spurs might just nick this one given the difference in quality between the two teams.