SATURDAY 13TH AUGUST, 2016
EVERTON 1(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: S Child, L Betts
Fourth official: J Simpson
Everton (3-4-3):- Stekelenburg; Holgate, Jagielka (Capt.), Funes Mori; McCarthy, Gueye, Barry (sub Cleverley, 85), Baines; Barkley, Deulofeu (sub Kone, 68), Mirallas (sub Lennon, 76)
Subs not used:- Robles; Oviedo, Galloway; Davies
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.) (sub Vorm, 35); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier (sub Janssen, 56), Wanyama; Lamela, Alli, Eriksen; Kane
(Armband to Vertonghen)
Subs not used:- Davies, Carter-Vickers; Mason, Onomah, Winks
Has the season come too soon for both teams?
Until Erik Lamela equalised with a fine header in the 59th minute to equalise a soft goal from a first half free kick by Ross Barkley, Everton manager Ronald Koeman’s pre-match statement about his side only being “70% fit” carried a distinct farmyard smell, as the home side had Spurs on the back foot for much of the first half. Spurs had to make an unwelcome substitution for Captain Hugo Lloris, who apparently has a hamstring strain, but by then, Spurs were one down, and Vorm did not let the side down at all, making one or two good saves.
Mauricio Pochettino only made one outfield substitution in the second half with Vincent Janssen replacing Eric Dier, whose energy levels were perhaps down. Both Spurs’ debutants – Janssen and Victor Wanyama made good starts in the Lilywhite and Blue. When Janssen came on, he livened up the Spurs attack, and played more part overall than had Harry Kane.
The game was described as a sell-out, but I am sure that Goodison Park held more than the quoted attendance of 34,494. Throughout the game their big screens were offering tickets bought for this game could be redeemed as part payment for season tickets this season. It seems “The Toffees” do not have the numbers queueing for tickets as do Spurs.
Koeman was missing three players who will surely be his first choices. Koeman opted for a 3-4-3. Right back Seamus Coleman was replaced by 19 year old central defender Mason Holgate, who did himself proud alongside his captain Phil Jagielka and Funes Mori. Lukaku was missing up front, so Koeman played Barkley, Deulofeu and Mirallas, with Barkley and Mirallas switching flanks at times. Ashley Williams, signed as a replacement for 47.5 million Man City player John Stones, was deemed not fit enough, although he was presented to the home crowd before the start, and again featured as Everton’s “marquee” signing when those big screens plugged their next home game.
Mauricio Pochettino was able to at least start with his first choice team. Kevin Wimmer did not make it to the bench, so it is just as well Jan Vertonghen was available, although I felt he was caught on the hop a couple of times in the early stages. Koeman will be pleased with the start made by both his new signings on display. Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg made crucial saves, whilst former Villa midfielder Idrissa Gueye impressed in his defensive role.
There were no bookings today, and that was most welcome for Spurs fans with Wanyama in the side. Victor won early applause with a great winning tackle deep inside his own half against Barkley. Unfortunately Wanyama was penalised after 4 minutes, and Ross Barkley scored directly from his free kick taken from distance on the left flank. Intended as a cross, the ball beat everybody, including Lloris. The ball hit the net on his left-hand side.
Three minutes later, Spurs managed their first attack of note. Dele Alli (now wearing “Dele” on his shirt) pushed the ball out to Kyle Walker, who passed inside to Eriksen, whose shot was blocked. Deulofeu worked his way in from the left, and hit a right footed shot which was held by Lloris in front of the Sir Phillip Carter Park Stand. Another free kick was conceded by Wanyama, and this time Jagielka headed goalward, with Hugo tipping the ball over for a corner. Harry Kane won a battle inside the Everton box on the right, but was called out for a foul by referee Martin Atkinson, who was labelled a cheat by the Spurs crowd. Deulofeu hit a header well over the target from a cross by Baines. Mirallas got goal-side of Vertonghen, but his shot was held by Lloris.
Eriksen had a shot easily held by Stekelenburg, after a return pass by Kyle Walker. Eriksen did better when directing Alderweireld’s ball with a deft header to Alli, but the Spurs and England star failed with his attempted return pass. Lamela won the ball and advanced with a trick or two, feeding the ball to Kane, who won a corner. After Vorm had to replace Lloris, he was called upon to make a good save in added time from Deulofeu, after Vertonghen had again been left behind.
It was a while before any meaningful second half action, and Spurs didn’t really get going until after Vorm had held another effort by Deulofeu. Janssen’s arrival sparked some better play by Spurs, and almost his first touch was to field Alderweireld’s ball, before cutting it back to Dele Alli, who fired well over. At the other end, Alderweireld deflected a Mirallas shot into the arms of Michel Vorm. Spurs’ equaliser came as a result of a good move down the right with Alderweireld feeding Walker on his right. Walker crossed and Lamela met the ball with a neat header beating Stekelenburg.
Spurs’ tails were up, but they didn’t make any headway before Koeman replaced Deulofeu with Arouna Kone. Following an Everton throw-in, defender Funes Mori, whose place is presumably most at risk from Williams’ arrival, hit a cross/shot which passed Vorm’s left post. Now Aaron Lennon replaced Mirallas, and the ex-Spur was greeted heartily by the Spurs contingent. Kyle Walker had a good low shot saved by Stekelenburg at his near post, but the keeper could not stop the ball going out for a corner. After the corner, Danny Rose had a shot blocked and Janssen had his effort saved. Danny Rose was then fouled on the edge of the box on the left. Eriksen took the kick, but the ball passed over the bar, skimming the top of the net.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane advanced down the centre in tandem, passing to Lamela on the left, whose shot was deflected then flicked over the bar for a corner by the Everton keeper. There was one more scare for Spurs at the back, and that came from a Wanyama mix-up just inside his half. Barkley advanced but over-hit his attempted cross. There were three minutes of added time, but neither team made real headway in this period. The draw was a fair result. I had hoped for all three points against an anticipated weakened Everton side, but having been behind, it was a game where the point gained was most welcome. It was also a point more than we gained on day one last year.
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