Everton did just about everything but score. Leon Osman could have had a hatful of goals in the first dozen minutes alone. Tim Sherwood cut a perplexed figure on the sidelines as the home team Tottenham Hotspur were mauled by the visiting side who passed at will in cutting up the Spurs midfield. However, having weathered the storm, the home side scored an opportunistic goal via an excellent piece of control and finishing from the rejuvenated Emmanuel Adebayor. The football fizzled out after that and the last twenty or so minutes failed to provide the vocal away fans any relief.
In the postmatch interview, Roberto Martinez noted that this was a harsh lesson for his side. He went on to say that "Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than to be good, but when you are the better side you need to win the game." Unfortunately, Everton's biggest problem is not new. Lack of efficiency in the striking department has led to multiple points being dropped throughout this campaign, and Martinez' inactivity during the January transfer window will be questioned again. Romelu Lukaku had scored just once in his last ten games before getting injured. Arouna Kone is nowhere in sight. New man Lacina Traore was not ready to start and wasn't deployed despite warming up on the sidelines. Apostolos Vellios could probably never play for Everton again. Steven Naismith continues his bewildering one-good-game, one-bad-game streak going. Kevin Mirallas simply cannot perform as an out-and-out striker.
Martinez acknowledged that Ross Barkley wasn't ready to start against Aston Villa last week and was on the bench today with Osman playing as attacking midfielder and Naismith the target man. Osman took advantage of the blazing start by the Blues, keeping goalie Hugo Lloris on his toes - the midfielder had four shots in the opening eight minutes. However, for all their domination, the London side slowly edged their way back into the game and could have taken an undeserved lead into halftime with a couple of chances of their own.
Spurs played with more determination in the second half as the elements and a poor pitch broke up play more than once. Everton for their part brought on Ross Barkley for Steven Pienaar as Martinez attempted to create the reverse of the substitution that changed the game last weekend. However, Kyle Walker was the first to take advantage of Everton's lethargy in the 65th minute when he quickly took a long freekick to find Adebayor, who held off Seamus Coleman before firing low to Howard's right just inside the post. The period that followed featured both teams losing the ball all too easily and though Coleman had a justified shout for a penalty after being tripped up int he penalty box, the truth is Everton never really came close to the equalizer.
The appearance of Gerard Deulofeu for Naismith was well-applauded by the traveling fans, with hopes that the Spaniard would inject some creativity in the dying phases of the game. However, the youngster barely got going and once again displayed his irritating ability to get shoved off the ball all too easily. Aiden McGeady came on too for Osman, with the net effect of all the substitutions resulting in a complete loss of momentum for the Blues.
Everton's only hope of somehow sneaking Champions league football are diminishing by the game - the inability to put away the weaker teams in the League and now dropping six points on the trot to fellow European football contenders Liverpool and Spurs means the Blues have it all to do, five points out of fourth and into the remaining third of the season.