Goalkeeping errors doom Toffees
In recent weeks Joel Robles has been at his best in net for Everton. Having contributed to the Blues recent run of clean sheets, Robles looked primed to take the helm as the goalkeeper of the future. However, his performance against Tottenham Hotspur may leave some pining for a more steady hand in goal for Everton.
Harry Kane has been unstoppable since returning from injury, so it’s no surprise that he found his way on to the score sheet in this match. But it’s the way that he scored both of his goals that will leave a bad taste in Everton supporters’ mouths. His first goal, a brilliant strike from outside of the box, seemed entirely stoppable. There was no one screening Robles and from the multiple replays the ball didn’t seem to have a tremendous amount of movement.
Generally the keeper will get the benefit of the doubt when a well struck shot finds the back of the net, but I can’t help feeling like Robles could have done better.
Kane’s second goal was infinitely more shambolic and showed just how frazzled Everton were by Tottenham’s high press. Instead of kicking the ball to relative safety down the field, Robles opted to roll the ball to the feet of Morgan Schneiderlin. The midfielder was quickly dispossessed, the defense was wrong-footed and suddenly the match was 2-0 in favor of the home side.
Robles has been largely solid since taking over for Maarten Stekelenburg, but he will have to do better if he wants to stay in net for Everton.
Defense reverts to bad habits
Robles may have been shaky, but the defense get’s their fair share of the blame for this loss. In particular, the center back pairing of Ashley Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori looked confused and flat footed on more than one occasion.
Tottenham’s lightning quick style can certainly be tough to deal with. There is a reason they have been one of the best teams in the Premier League this season. But even with three defensive midfielders in front of them, the center backs often found opposing players making dangerous runs behind them.
These errors in particular did not result in goals for Tottenham, but with the amount of mistakes being made by the defense, the score could have easily been higher than it was.
No answer for the high press
When Everton drew with Tottenham in the season opener, it was clear that neither side was at full fitness. Spurs signature high press was not on full display and Everton were able to come away with a point. In the reverse fixture, Tottenham looked to be a finely tuned machine and Everton struggled throughout the whole match to move the ball into dangerous areas.
Ronald Koeman’s strategy was clear when the line up was released. With three defensive midfielders, the goal was to absorb pressure and beat Tottenham’s high back line on the counter attack. But the rare moments where Everton saw the ball they could do nothing with it.
The short passing game was snuffed out time and time again, forcing the midfield to play the ball backwards. On the few occasions Everton were able to spring a pass into the attacking third, Tottenham’s center backs shut down the play.
Eventually resorting to hoofing long balls up the field, Everton still had no answer to Tottenham’s suffocating press. Everton did finally get on the score sheet, but the final score was deceiving, making the game look much closer than it truly was.