Ahead of tomorrow’s match against Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park, we took some time to chat with Sean from our colleagues at Cartilage Free Captain about Spurs, Pochettino, and the game to come.
RBM: I’m going to avoid asking the obvious stadium questions, but I do have to ask this: what’s the panic level right now in Spurs-land over Mauricio Pochettino and Manchester United? If Poch goes, are Spurs going to come for Marco Silva? Eddie Howe?
CFC: The level of panic is somewhere between “Shit, not this again.” and “The world is falling down.” Several players at Tottenham have said their careers are basically tied to Pochettino, including Captain Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen. They love playing for Pochettino, so needless to say we’d be terrified. That being said, we aren’t naive: A day is going to come where someone like United, Real Madrid, PSG, etc are going to give him a deal he can’t refuse.
As for replacements, Marco Silva I think would be in the conversation as would Eddie Howe. I think Levy would make sure the new manager is someone that can come in and make a splash, given that Pochettino is one of his longest tenured managers and has built this club basically into “Pochettino FC”
RBM: Harry Winks has been a target of Everton fans’ ire over recent years, but it’s not really his fault. We’re just bitter that Tom Davies has been his equal if not a better player at times, while Winks has gotten all the publicity and England involvement. This season, though, it seems that ol’ Harry has stalled in his development. What’s going on?
CFC: I don’t think Winks fully recovered from his long-term injury. He looks a step slower and, sometimes, is tedious with the ball. That leads to sloppy play and that about sums up Winks. He can definitely bounce back from it, but this season has been a rough one for him.
RBM: Spurs have been linked recently with a permanent deal for Andre Gomes. Do you think he’s a realistic target for Tottenham? Will they actually buy anyone in January?
CFC: There was a lot of smoke around Gomes to Tottenham, but the belief is that Levy wanted a year loan with an option to buy at the end. Everton, obviously offering cold hard cash to Barcelona, were the easy choice there. We weren’t sure if Gomes would have been a good fit, but seeing what he’s done at Everton makes me believe it was a mistake to miss out on him.
January, I am not anticipating any big deals unless a Levy Bargain Basement special comes along. That’s entirely possible, but right now the only thing I would expect is perhaps seeing Fernando Llorente leave the club for La Liga.
RBM: We talked about this on School of Science Radio earlier in the week - Spurs have been absolutely killed by injuries this season. Which has been the most devastating and why?
CFC: Right now, I’d say it’s a dead heat between Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Mousa Dembele. Our midfield is a MASH unit right now and the back line has been forced to deputize Ben Davies as a left-sided center back, which is somehow not only working...but working well. Maybe Davies can be moved to there for depth and Spurs can get a left back with more pace in the near future. Somehow, Spurs have set a club record for points to start a season, made it to the semi-finals of the League Cup, and advanced to the Champions League knockouts. Whatever magic Pochettino has used, it’s worked.
RBM: Can you explain to me the renaissance of Moussa Sissoko?
CFC: Speaking of magic, I’m guessing that Pochettino sacrificed a lot to those same football gods to resurrect Sissoko. He has been fantastic the last three months, there is no denying that. Up until this season, it’s safe to assume that most Spurs supporters (myself included) would have driven him to the airport themselves if a deal came along to sell him. Now, he’s playing as a hybrid-8 where he runs like a damn gazelle, terrorizing back lines and providing support either in the midfield or on the right flank with Kieran Trippier. It’s remarkable and might be Pochettino’s best coaching job yet.
RBM: If Spurs could sign any one Everton player, who would it be?
CFC: If Andre Gomes is actually this good, then Spurs whiffed on him when they could have bought him. Right now, with the depleted midfield, he seems like a player who could give Spurs vital minutes and provide excellent support.
RBM: Game prediction and projected Spurs lineup?
CFC: Lineup: 4-3-3 - Lloris; Rose, Davies, Alderweireld, Trippier; Sissoko, Dele, Eriksen; Son, Kane, Lamela
As for a prediction, I’m going with a 2-2 draw. Spurs are on their seventh match of the month and I’m guessing that the fatigue is catching up a bit with their injuries. They are still good enough to win this match, and have been in fine form, but I also know that Everton seem ready to pick off a Sky Six side. With Everton eight days removed from their last match, it isn’t outlandish to think that the Toffees could pull a minor upset.
Our thanks to Sean for his time, and be sure to check out my answers to his questions over at Carty Free.