Tottenham dominate off the rebound
For all of Jordan Pickford’s mistakes in this match, he certainly did a decent job of stopping the initial shots that came his way. One of the many areas where the defense failed him was in controlling Tottenham Hotspur’s chances off rebounds. Several of Everton’s conceded goals in this match came from poor clearances and an inability to control saved shots.
The Toffees seemed slow to getting to the ball despite an 8-day break between games, against a Spurs side that was playing their third game in a week but looked sharper than their hosts.
Maybe against a lesser team some of those goals would have sailed wide. But if Everton truly want to compete against these top six teams, then they have to be much more precise. The goals that Spurs scored in the run of play were not overly surprising. They have a talented and dangerous attack and Everton were never going to shut them out. But when your goalkeeper is making saves or defenders are blocking shots then those efforts need to be controlled and cleared well out of harm’s way.
Disallowed goal was a foreboding sign
The moment Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s first half header to put the Blues up 2-0 was disallowed, it seemed like things were not going to go Everton’s way. There’s an entire article to be written about whether or not that goal should or shouldn’t have been allowed, but it clearly was a sign of things to come.
It’s impossible to quantify momentum or how certain goals affect how a team will play for the remainder of the match. While Everton’s first goal was huge for them, a second goal would have likely put them on the path to leaving this match with some kind of points. Instead Tottenham settled into the game and proceeded to steamroll Everton for most of the match.
Everton may have still lost this match even after going up two goals, but it felt like any chance of this game going their way vanished with that disallowed goal. That second goal did eventually come, but at far too late a point in the match for it to mean anything.
Not even a moral victory
We published an article this week talking about how the time for moral victories is over. It may feel good to compete for a time against these better teams, but if Everton aspire for bigger things, then “good enough” won’t do any longer. I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment, but in this match, there wasn’t even a slight moral victory to find.
One goal losses to Liverpool and draws against Chelsea aren’t getting Everton any closer to a consistent spot in the top six. But if nothing else they show progress of some kind. There are matches where it seems like this team is a just a few fixed errors away from winning some of those matches. But in this match against Spurs, they couldn’t seem further away. Even with a nearly new back line from last season, this team still allowed six goals. A midfield that has looked very impressive at times was unable to bother Tottenham’s back line.
For every match where Everton look close, there is a match like this that sends our hopes crashing back down to earth. These results seem more like a constant while the close ones are the anomaly. Make no mistake, this team has improved, but there is still so much work to be done and better players to be signed before this team can even think about being a consistent top of the table club.