DISCLAIMER: In the interests of fairness, by mutual consent the combined XI has a minimum of five players from each side.
With Everton hosting Tottenham tomorrow, Royal Blue Mersey joined forces with fellow SB Nation blog Cartilage Free Captain to create a combined XI that should give you plenty to rave and rant about as you count down the hours to the game tomorrow. Our thanks to Sean for engaging in this, and welcome to all Spurs fans who would like to comment on what we will freely admit is a side that has more Blues than should have been.
RBM - Pairing Romelu Lukaku with Harry Kane is a no-brainer. Rom does better when he is not the sole focus, and this will allow him to drift outside to get the ball and run at the defence, where he can get truly terrifying.
CFC - I absolutely agree with the pairing. Kane can play both the 10 and the 9 and would link up well with Lukaku. Kane's passing is underrated if you ask me and both of them can beat up on center backs. Actually, maybe they'd make a good WWE tag team at some point, though a good tag team name isn't coming to mind...
RBM - The Ross Barkley - Dele Alli comparisons are probably never going away, and that's probably because even we don't know what Ross' best position on the field is. He doesn't have the workrate to be a box-to-box type midfielder, but he is also at his best with the ball at his feet, so he needs to be kept supplied regularly. This might be the only way to have both on the field and unencumbered by defensive responsibilities.
Gareth Barry is probably unlucky to miss out, but his ageing legs wouldn't hold up at the base of this diamond.
CFC - Dele is too good to leave off of this, especially with us utilizing the diamond. He has to play the #10 role in this formation. I agree with the comparisons to Barkley, and while he wouldn't make an unbalanced Starting XI for me in this, I think slotting him on the left midfield is a fine choice. The problem I came up with here is the Erik Lamela vs Christian Eriksen argument. While I could go full Spurs history here and say let's just throw Aaron Lennon on the right and let him run at everyone, Lamela's pressing is so good and he is as creative as it gets. He's poised for a big season and I can't drop him.
Since we're having Dele at the #10, then Eric Dier has to be at the base of the diamond. His passing is great and he is a beast when it comes to protecting the space in front of the back four. Plus, he has to be there to protect Dele. The bromance cannot be broken between these two.
RBM - The Everton backline exemplifies the saying that the individuals are better than the sum of the whole, especially last season. Phil Jagielka has slowed down a bit recently, but remains our most solid, stay-at-home defender. Pairing him with Jan Vertonghen frees up Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman to bomb up and down the wings.
CFC - This is where it gets really tough for me because I'm down to one outfield choice. Coleman doesn't have that insane pace that Kyle Walker has, but it would be good enough to be a threat in attack and still track back on defense. Baines, when he's healthy, is still good enough to play left back so I'll concede there as well. That leaves us with the center backs, and it seems insane that I would break up Janby Aldertonghen and I would never consider it, but here we are because of the rules we have here. I'm going to go with Toby Alderweireld over Jan, only because Toby showed over the course of the last 12 months that you can pair him up with anyone and things will work out. Jan might be able to do that as well, and I have no doubt he'd be fine, but Toby gets the nod here with Jagielka.
RBM - No debate whatsoever here, Hugo Lloris is better than any goalie Everton have by a country mile.
CFC - Like you said, this is a no brainer. Hugo is love. Hugo is life. He's also the Captain of this group. There's no way you can't have our beautiful Frenchman not be in net.
RBM - Both ex-Southampton managers, with Ronald Koeman having a much more illustrious career as a player. But as we all know too well, a good player does not a good manager always make. We’ll take Mauricio Pochettino for having done more in the Premier League.
CFC - We’ll roll with Poch out of bias, naturally!