SATURDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER, 2017
EVERTON 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2)
Referee:- Graham Scott
Assistants:- Richard West, Simon Long
Fourth official:- Kevin Friend
Everton (4-2-3-1):- Pickford; Martina, Keane, Williams, Baines (Capt.); Gueye (sub Vlasic, 80), Schneiderlin; Rooney, Klaasen (sub Davies, 46), Sigurdsson; Ramirez (sub Calvert-Lewin, 46)
Subs not used:- Stekelenburg; Jagielka, Holgate; Mirallas
Booked:- Williams (foul on Kane), Gueye (foul on Eriksen), Rooney (foul on Dele)
Spurs (3-4-2-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Trippier, Dier, Eriksen (sub Dembele, 71), Davies; Sissoko (sub Winks, 78), Dele; Kane (sub Son, 85)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Aurier, Walker-Peters; Llorente
Booked:- Alderweireld (foul on Ramirez)
It’s not August anymore!
“It’s not August anymore!” was the chant that rang out from Spurs fans when Harry Kane scored what appeared to be a stunning 100th club goal to put Spurs into a deserved 28th minute lead at Goodison Park. Harry confessed later that his 35 yard effort was intended as a cross.
“It’s not August anymore!” – Spurs, not Everton, were the team to kick-start their season with a convincing 3-0 win. Spurs have an excellent Premier League record against “The Toffees”, but I could not remember a win by such a margin. Indeed, my good friend Declan Mulcahy has confirmed that the three goal margin equals our two best wins at Goodison Park. In February 1928 we won 5-2, and in August 1984, the score was 4-1 in Spurs’ favour. Interestingly, in both those seasons Everton went on to win the league. On this performance they will be lucky to even challenge for the place in Europe they have won this season. If I was an Everton fan watching today’s game, I’d be quite despondent at my team’s performance bearing in mind the £75 million they got for Lukaku. As mentioned in my preview, they have not replaced the goal-scoring power. We know what a good player Gylfi Sigurdsson is, but he was virtually anonymous today. Rooney didn’t cost any money fee-wise, but he too did not make much of an impression, except upon Dele Alli when he was booked for the foul. That was not the first time he’s been in trouble recently, and Spurs fans taunted him with chants of “He only drinks when he drives!”.
Enough about the hosts. Spurs played three at the back including new boy Davinson Sanchez, who played between Alderweireld and Vertonghen. Sanchez is big and powerful, and certainly impressed, but he will have tougher opposition than that he faced today. Two of Spurs’ other signings (Aurier and Llorente) were left on the bench, and will have to wait till Wednesday night for a debut. The Spurs midfield four was fluid, but eventually settled into a system where Eriksen played next to Dier, and Sissoko had more of a forward role. Eriksen did also get forward plenty of times, scoring as well! I thought Ben Davies was particularly impressive down the left flank, but the truth is that Spurs were in total control throughout the game and dominated in every area. I can’t remember a meaningful save by Lloris, whose most difficult piece of work was to prevent a ball going out for a corner just outside his left-hand post. The partisan Everton fans booed the fact that they had not been awarded a corner, but were remarkably quiet most of the time. Their exodus from the ground started fifteen minutes from the end of the game.
I don’t know who won the toss, but I got the impression that Spurs had been turned round from the normal choice of ends here, perhaps because the sun would be Lloris’s eyes at The Gwladys Street End. It didn’t matter, as Lloris was hardly bothered. Spurs kicked off and were on top. Within five minutes, Ashley Williams (last year’s marquee signing for Everton) was booked for holding Harry Kane. Ben Davies was caught behind Everton’s right back Martina as he sought to break clear. Martina crossed and Ramirez shot, but straight at Lloris. Sissoko, Davies and Eriksen combined at the other end but Eriksen’s effort was blocked. Five minutes later a Davies cross was cleverly dinked back by Dele Alli into Eriksen’s path but this shot passed wide to the left of goal.
Toby Alderweireld got the only Spurs booking of the game at quite an early stage, being adjudged by occasional Premier League referee Graham Scott to have unfairly brought Ramirez to a halt outside the Spurs area. That’s Toby’s second card of the season, which is well above his average! Sigurdsson’s free kick passed harmlessly beyond the area. Sissoko was involved in a lot of Spurs’ moves, and will be criticised by many, but he did win several chants to the tune of the Dembele song, as did Sanchez. Sissoko had a great chance in the middle after the ball had been passed from right to left across the field through Eriksen, before another Davies cross gave Sissoko the chance, which was blocked. The ball was soon returned to the Everton area, and Harry Kane had a chance go wide.
Sigurdsson and Klaasen did work the ball down the left hand side, and Sigurdsson had a shot on goal, but this was well and truly skied to jeers from the travelling support. Dier fed Eriksen in the Everton box, but Everton defended this situation well, and cleared. After a foul on Davies, Eriksen’s free kick was blocked. Spurs subsequently won a corner, after which Trippier touched the ball to Kane deep out on the right. Harry struck the ball which floated over goalkeeper Pickford and into the net. Never mind if it was luck – Harry has got his scoring boots on again!
Only four minutes later, Spurs were two up. After more Dele Alli skill, the ace Spurs man crossed deep to the left of goal. Davies hit a shot which could only be parried by Pickford, falling for Eriksen, who fired home. Both Eriksen and Kane have hit scoring form for their countries over this International break, and they have carried that form into today’s game! Just before half-time, after a good period of Spurs possession, Toby Alderweireld tried a shot, which wasn’t far over the target.
Within a minute of the re-start (when Ronald Koeman had made two changes) Spurs were three up when Harry Kane scored his 101st Spurs club goal with a right foot shot from the middle after another Davies cross. The game really was over, and whilst Spurs retained control, there was never the same urgency as we had seen in the first half. With a Champions League game to come on Wednesday, that is more than understandable. Eriksen had a right footed shot saved after Dele and Harry had teed him up, and after an Alli cross/shot had been blocked another Kane effort was also saved. It could have been more.
Gueye got booked for a desperate pull on Eriksen who was going clear. Kane pushed a ball out to Trippier on the right, and his cross was met by the head of Sissoko, but pushed wide. Trippier and Sissoko seemed to have a good understanding and Trippier made and tried a number of threaded passes. Everton’s best chance fell to Gueye in the middle, after Alderweireld had passed a ball across his defence; Lloris tried to clear a back-pass but it went to Gueye’s feet, but the shot was wide.
Substitutions came for Spurs with Dembele replacing Eriksen, and Harry Winks taking the place of Sissoko who had been injured in a challenge, and who went off to applause. Rooney did have a chance which was miss-hit, and Sigurdsson had a shot deflected for a corner. Son came on late for Kane, and “Sonny” was involved in a move with Davies and Dele, who tried a curler, which passed wide across the goal.
It was an excellent day for Spurs, who have now won both their away games without conceding a goal. The fluidity of their play and formation might have confused any Borussia Dortmund observers here today, and with the minutes saved for Eriksen and Dembele and the unused new boys on the bench, we can surely look forward not only to next Wednesday, but to the rest of the season, because with this performance, Spurs have made a firm statement to the rest of the Premier League.
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