Everton were vying to win four consecutive league games in London for the first time since between April 1911 and September 1912. Victories at Palace, West Ham and Brentford have been the cornerstone of the team’s revival although Tottenham are another step above.
Tottenham had lost just one of their last 21 Premier League matches against Everton (W10, D10), a 1-0 defeat in September 2020. In London, Everton have won just seven points from their last 14 visits to Tottenham. Not good reading for Evertonians but the match gets played and the outcome is unknown when the kickoff happens.
Everton left-back Vitaly Mykolenko was back in the starting lineup after missing two games through injury. Jarrad Branthwaite returns at centre-back in the other alteration, with Ben Godfrey and Michael Keane dropping to the bench. Seamus Coleman was “touch and go” but was not in the team along with Ashley Young and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Tottenham Hotspur were missing eight players, although Brennan Johnson was passed fit to start and Giovani Lo Celso made the bench. Two big misses; Yves Bissouma started a four-game ban, while Destiny Udogie was also missing serving a one match ban. Oliver Skipp and Emerson Royal came in to replace them.
The match kicked off with Everton in their salmon kits. Tottenham broke quickly forward but the first shot was easily handled by Pickford. Everton were using the high press when the Spurs defenders had the ball. McNeil was pressuring Royal and it resulted in the first corner which was taken by Garner. The corner was headed clear and Mykolenko’s shot was deflected and easily handled by Guglielmo Vicario.
A nice counter attack from Everton was driven forward by McNeil who laid the ball on for Calvert Lewin but a good tackle from Romero snuffed out the chance. Tottenham streamed forward with Johnson going wide and his pass was perfectly weighted to Richarlison who put the ball past Pickford. A first goal conceded in more than 400 minutes. Spurs had lost 16 points from winning positions so Everton had lots of time to get back in the game.
Tottenham continued to stream forward with Son pressuring Patterson. Royal whipped a ball into the box and this time it was Brennan Johnson who was on the end of it but his effort screamed over the bar. All Spurs.
Onana broke up the play nicely and sent McNeil on his way but his effort was well wide. Calvert Lewin had Everton’s first real chance after Mykolenko sent in a great ball but the effort was parried away by the keeper. The game was end to end and it was Spurs who then had the ball forward with Johnson breaking into the box and the shot was blocked by Pickford but it fell to Son who made no mistake and it was 2-0.
Gueye took out Richarlison and for that he was booked and ended up needing treatment. Dyche looked to the bench and only saw Andre Gomes as his only option. The Portuguese midfielder came on for his first game since Everton secured their Premier League status in the penultimate game of the 2021-2022 season against Crystal Palace.
Amadou Onana was in the referee’s book after a questionable decision for a foul on Emerson Royal. It was all Spurs and Everton had to stay disciplined so that the game didn’t get away from them. The speed of passing from Spurs was creating problems for Everton. As the ball was going from side to side, Everton were struggling to keep their shape.
Everton started to get themselves with more control of the ball. Calvert Lewin was on the ground in the box but the VAR saw no foul. Moments later Calvert Lewin pulled the ball back and Onana skied the ball over. A crazy moment in the match then happened as Mykolenko had two balls in his shooting path as a stray ball denied him a good chance to score. Everton were growing into the game.
Andre Gomes was getting onto the ball more which was having a positive impact on Everton’s attacking play. Five minutes of additional time was announced as Onana took down which was starting to test the patience of the referee.
The extra time was all Everton but they could not get the ball into the net. Could they keep this up in the second half. Spurs were definitely struggling defensively and had shown that keeping leads was an issue for them.
Eric Dier was brought on to start the second half for Christian Romero. A long ball from Pickford after the kickoff was easily handled but the high press was on display again by Everton. The match started at a much slower pace and Spurs were being more patient in their buildup play. The press then worked as Andre Gomes stripped the ball from Emerson Royal and then made a lovely pass into Dominic Calvert Lewin who put the ball into the net. VAR was called in to decide if there was a foul on the play. Dyche was fuming!
Tottenham were energized by their luck and Pickford was called upon to save from Johnson. A quick break from Son forced Everton’s defence to scramble and clear. It was then Everton’s chance with Jack Harrison putting the ball into James Garner who had his shot graze the far post. Richarlison was then withdrawn and received a warm send off rom the Evertonians with Højbjerg coming into the match.
Another quick break from Spurs saw Son put the ball into the path of Sarr but a brilliant block by Tarkowski. Everton were also quicker on their breakouts which led to a corner from McNeil. Mykolenko’s resulting shot was blocked by Spurs. Arnaut Danjuma was brought into the match for Jack Harrison.
Pap Sarr was removed with Lo Celso coming into the match. Jordan Pickford was then called on when Kulusevski outmuscled Nathan Patterson and forced a good save. Everton countered and Andre Gomes shot narrowly wide after the goalkeeper tipped the ball but a goal kick was given. The push for a goal was obvious when Onana was withdrawn for Beto.
That offensive push finally resulted in a goal when an Everton corner skipped through the box and Tarkowski let it go by him into the path of Andre Gomes who laced the ball into the far corner. A fine goal and his first for the club in five years.
Seconds later, Danjuma was in on the Tottenham goal and his shot was brilliantly saved by Vicario. Another scramble in the Tottenham goal did not result in a goal but Everton were buzzing. Arnaut Danjuma was in fine form and giving Dyche lots to think about moving forward.
Six minutes of additional time was announced and the Evertonians were in full voice. Tottenham were playing a very high line which was very risky. Danjuma was then in again and again a goal kick was given instead of a corner. Danjuma then had the biggest chance with the ball hitting the post and Vicario somehow stopping the ball from crossing the line. The VAR picture showed that it was millimetres from being over the line. Sadly, it was the last moment of the match as the final whistle was blown.
Everton Men of the Match: Garner and Gomes - James Garner returned to his more central position and his play was both composed and determined. When Gomes came into the match, Garner sat a bit deeper and allowed Garner to move into the number ten position. His pass distribution was excellent with a pass success rate of 92%. Andre Gomes was a revelation and it was his contribution going forward turned the game in Everton’s favour. His first goal in five years was well taken and forced the dramatic ending to the match.
The VAR call against Andre Gomes was truly awful. Emerson Royal had fallen to the ground on numerous occasions in the match and this was no better. The contact was from the side and he fell forward. Pretty sure that would not have been checked for some of the other teams in this league.
The Carabao Cup loss went to penalties but the team played with less intensity and less precision on the counter attack. It has been argued that both Garner and Branthwaite were moved into positions where they were far less effective. Onana and Gueye did not have their best games and that threw off the balance even more. Today, Mykolenko returned which allowed Branthwaite to sit in next to Tarkowski. Garner was back in the middle in front of Gueye and Onana. Unfortunately, Gueye was injured after 20 minutes and the rarely used Andre Gomes was called on to make an impact. Thankfully, it was this injury that turned the game.
After the team’s top of the league form over the last two months, it would be easy to get carried away. The team has been far more difficult to break down with the clean sheets the obvious stat. Today’s match was another big challenge and the start was as poor as we could expect although the two goals that set Spurs on their way did not reflect the match up to that point. Everton grew into the game and although they were not able to overcome the deficit, their play was far more positive and they controlled the second half of the match which was excellent. With both Luton and Burnley winning, the gap between Everton and the trailing pack was reduced with Manchester City up next for the Blues.