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Everton at Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

Everton looks to extend its eight match unbeaten streak when the club travels to London to face Tottenham.

Will Leon Osman be back at the position he filled so successfully against West Ham?
Will Leon Osman be back at the position he filled so successfully against West Ham?
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

November 30, 2014 - 4:00 GMT, 11:00 EST

TV Info - Live Soccer TV

Though 'eight match unbeaten streak' sounds great, the Toffees have only five points out of a possible nine in the league this month. With performances improving over the last six or so weeks, Everton could really use another three points to show for its hard work before entering the always hectic month of December.

Those three points will have to come from a victory at White Hart Lane over Tottenham Hotspur.

With a victory and a host of other positive results around the Premier League, Everton could go as high as fourth on Sunday. Of course, such unanimous help from around the league is unlikely, but moving up two or three places on the day is a realistic goal.

To do so though, Everton must improve upon its record of four points from four matches after Europa League fixtures.

Team News

James McCarthy will be unavailable this weekend, after a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has plagued him for much of this season.

Roberto Martinez, as reported by Daniel Alston at EvertonFC.com, gave the following update regarding other players:

"There are two different groups; one with four players who we need to assess for the weekend and who have an opportunity to be part of the squad. That's Gareth Barry, Steven Naismith, Leighton Baines, and Steven Pienaar.

Darron Gibson, Bryan Oviedo, John Stones, and Antolin Alcaraz are progressing well but they need a little more time."

The Opposition

Spurs are still somewhat stuck in year two of the Gareth Bale hangover.

Tottenham has not won a Premier League match in which the opposition did not have a man sent off since October 5. The London club sits in 10th heading into the weekend, level with Everton on points, but behind on goal difference.

Spurs have struggled at White Hart Lane this season, having already lost four matches on the club's home ground.

There have certainly been bright spots for Tottenham as well though. Nacer Chadli has shaken off his poor first season with the club, having scored six goals in the EPL this season. Christian Eriksen has four goals in the league, and played hero in Spurs' 2-1 victory against ten-man Hull last weekend.

Harry Kane has enjoyed a breakout season as well. The Tottenham Academy product has scored seven(!) goals in Tottenham's successful Europa League campaign, earning him some playing time in the Premier League as well. He has two goals and an assist in 280 minutes of Premier League play.

Kane may see significant time against Everton on Sunday, as Spurs' injury list has grown lengthy.

Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul, Etienne Capoue, Andros Townsend, Nacer Chadli, and Danny Rose all missed out on the club's 1-0 victory against Partizan Belgrade on Thursday. It is currently unknown if any of these players will be available on Sunday.

Kyle Walker is also a long-term injury absentee. Kyle Naughton will miss out due to red card suspension.

What to Watch For

Expect Seamus Coleman to return to the starting XI on Sunday, and to play a big role in the attack. If Danny Rose cannot play, Spurs may have to go to a third-choice left-back, opening a weak spot for Everton to exploit.

If Baines cannot play, all the more reason to focus the attack down the right.

Perhaps then, we will also see the reunion of Kevin Mirallas and Coleman down the right wing as well.

Of course, if Eriksen starts on the left wing for Tottenham, Everton will need to treat that wing with care as well, as he is the most obvious danger man out of the midfield. Coleman and the right winger will need to be prepared to slow down the Danish midfielder.

McCarthy will be sorely missed in that battle, as his work from the center of midfield is normally crucial to allowing Coleman to push forward into the attack.

Who will take McCarthy's place? It is an interesting dilemma for Martinez, provided that Barry plays. The manager will have to decide whether Leon Osman, who filled in admirably in the holding midfield role against West Ham and Wolfsburg, or Muhamed Besic, to whom the holding midfield position is more natural, should start alongside Barry.

That choice will tell viewers about how Martinez views the match. If Osman is chosen, Everton will likely look to take the game to Tottenham at White Hart Lane. If it is Besic, the club may look to play more defensively, and strike on the counter, as was done against Wolfsburg.

The Final Word

Everton's record of two wins, three draws, and one loss in the league away from Goodison Park shows that the club has been reasonably successful on the road. Can Martinez's boys keep that up? Is a draw at a somewhat struggling Tottenham a result Everton will be content with?

After a slow start to the season, these sort of matches may be the ones in which points have to be made up. Spurs are injured, struggling in the Premier League, and have been poor at home this season. The Toffees ought to play for all three points.