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5 Telling Stats from Everton’s Gritty 0-0 Draw Against Tottenham

The Blues showed some fight in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Goodison Park

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Lesson Learned

Mason Holgate was introduced in the 83rd minute, replacing Allan in a defensive midfield role. He lasted a whole 7 minutes before receiving his marching orders from referee Chris Kavanagh, who had initially judged his rough challenge on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg worthy of a yellow card, but upgraded to a straight red upon review by VAR. It was an eventful cameo by the defender, who looked utterly lost in an unfamiliar position. Thankfully the Blues only had to see out extra time after his dismissal.

This May Take Some Time

Many Blues fans viewed Tottenham’s arrival at Goodison Park with some trepidation, given the underperforming Londoners had just dismissed struggling ex-Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo and replaced him with serial winner Antonio Conte. The Italian was able to turn around a misfiring Chelsea team in short order back in 2016, but early indications are it could take a little longer with Spurs. The visitors were content to sit back for much of the game against an Everton team short on confidence and in truth rarely threatened.

Right Man, Right Job

Fabian Delph was introduced at halftime last weekend and made a favourable impression, although ultimately the Blues fell to a third consecutive defeat. On Saturday he anchored a three-man midfield, offering balance behind Allan and Andros Townsend and showed he is the most natural no. 6 in the squad. The former Manchester City man put in possibly his finest performance in a Royal Blue shirt, screening the defence, anticipating moves, making tackles and interceptions and looking composed on the ball; he even pinged some nice diagonals out to Demarai Gray on the left wing. If the Yorkshiremen can stay out of the treatment room, then he can be a real (and completely unexpected) asset to the team.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Saturday’s goalless stalemate was the third straight match against Spurs without defeat. Before this recent run, Tottenham had been a massive bogey team for the Toffees, who had gone an astonishing 15 matches without registering a win, all the way back to 2012. Conte will no doubt improve his team, especially if the rumoured funds are forthcoming, but Everton should have nothing to fear going forwards, as they were the better team in this match, despite missing several important players.

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

A Lack of End Product

For all of Everton’s grit, energy and commitment to the cause at Goodison Park, all of which was greatly appreciated by an enthusiastic crowd, it has to be pointed out the absence of genuine chances the team created. OK, the Blues were denied a penalty that was given on the field, but then overturned on the advice of VAR official Jon Moss, but otherwise it was hit and hope stuff, with Gray offering the two best efforts, both at around 0.09-0.12 xG, depending on the source used. With Spurs content to sit back in a solid shape, this was just indicative of the team’s longstanding problems with carving out openings when in possession.