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Everton v Tottenham - Silva hoping to generate some Goodison momentum

The Toffees’ away struggles are well documented, placing even greater importance on their games at home

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

‘A win’s a win’ was the common phrase uttered by Evertonians on Tuesday after that battling Carabao Cup victory over Watford.

After the soggy despair of the Amex on Saturday, it was important for the team to show a response even if it did little to dispel the doubts about Marco Silva’s long-term future.

This was, after all, against a much-changed Watford side that has yet to win in the Premier League this season and clearly did not see this competition as a priority.

Everton FC v Watford FC - Carabao Cup Round of 16 Photo by Emma Simpson - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

Like the West Ham game, Everton should have won by more than two goals and their failure to finish the game off made it a lot nervier than it should have been.

However, given all the negativity we have endured so far this season it’s perhaps time to give the team a bit of credit for their performance, particularly in the second half.

It is only the third time in 31 years that Everton have reached this stage of the League Cup so this is a rare opportunity to go deep into the competition.

Getting a home draw in the next round was important given the team’s dreadful away form. Leicester will be tough, their recent results show that, but it could have been a lot worse.

That needs to be put on the backburner now as they look to arrest their slide down the Premier League table.

We are still early enough in the season to turn things around – a win on Sunday could take Everton as high as 10th. But another loss would make it six defeats in seven, the kind of form that would see most manager’s question their future, let alone someone in as a precarious position as Silva.

The opposition

Eleven months ago, Tottenham came to Goodison Park and tore Everton to shreds. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were everything the Toffees aspired to be; free-flowing, clinical, ruthless.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

But when you consider that Everton, with the season they have had, can go above Spurs with a win on Sunday, only goes to show their rapid decline over the past few months.

The pain caused by that Champions League final defeat to Liverpool has lingered on into this campaign, which has lurched from one calamity to the next.

At the heart of their struggles is their poor away form (we know all about that). No Premier League side has lost more away games this year than Tottenham and they haven’t collected three points on the road since January.

‘Here come Everton’ I hear you cry. And you may well be right.

Their poor form is puzzling when you look at the talent on the pitch. But scratch below the surface and it appears doubts over the future of key players such as Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen has had an unsettling affect on the team.

Defeat for either team on Sunday would leave their manager in a perilous position.

Previous meeting

Tottenham 2-2 Everton - 12 May 2019 (Match report)

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The travelling Toffees fans witnessed a relaxing and enjoyable end-of-season encounter at a sunny Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in May. Goals from Theo Walcott and Cenk Tousn cancelled out Eric Dier’s early strike only for Christian Eriksen’s free-kick to earn the hosts a point.

Recent form

Everton

Watford (H - Carabao Cup) Won 2-0

Brighton (A) Lost 3-2

West Ham (H) Won 2-0

Burnley (A) Lost 1-0

Manchester City (H) Lost 3-1

Tottenham

Liverpool (A) Lost 2-1

Red Star (H – Champions League) Won 5-0

Watford (H) Drew 1-1

Brighton (A) Lost 3-0

Bayern Munich (H – Champions League) Lost 7-2

Team news

Everton were boosted by the news that Yerry Mina was able to return to training after he was forced off against Watford with a knee problem. The Colombian remains a doubt however and will be monitored ahead of kick-off.

Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Bernard remain long-term absentees with thigh and knee injuries respectively.

Tottenham are without Erik Lamela due to a thigh problem while Jan Vertonghen is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Danny Rose misses out through suspension.

What they said

Everton boss Marco Silva: “The have high-quality individual players, they might not have the same confidence as last season but in one moment these top teams can change and our job is to make sure they don’t change against us.

“They did not lose many players from last season, they made some fantastic signings and have a very, very good manager.

“We want to win the game and have to show that desire at Goodison.

“We are getting stronger every single match at home… and on Sunday we have to do the same.

“At our best level, with Goodison being our 12th man, we can win the game.”

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino: “We need to be positive, feeling that positivity makes us believe we can beat any team. At the moment we struggle a little bit in our confidence.

”The most important is how we are going to finish, it’s not nice to see you in the middle of the table but that is a reality we need to accept.

”If you don’t accept the reality you are going to struggle. In our mind we know very well that we need time, to be strong, be solid and start to win because that is going to be the best thing for us.”

Final word

Silva gave himself some vital breathing space with that win on Tuesday but he knows another heavy defeat here, in front of his own fans, could prove terminal. The lack of an obvious successor (and the lessons learned from 2017) is another reason why he remains in his position, and a statement win against one of the ‘big six’ would send out a strong message, despite Tottenham’s struggles. But a defeat even remotely similar to last season’s hammering and you wonder whether the board will be pressed into action.