The Lilywhites on-field form as of late has been underwhelming to say the least, with frustrations boiling over as a two-goal lead was surrendered at bottom side Southampton in a 3-3 draw at St Mary’s Stadium before the international break. Troubles have plagued both North London and Meryseyside over the international break, with financial irregularities at Everton and issues at board level dominating the headlines for Tottenham.
EVE: Pickford; Godfrey, Tarkowski, Keane, Coleman; Gueye; McNeil, Onana, Doucoure, Iwobi; Gray
TOT: Lloris; Lenglet, Dier, Romero; Perisic, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Porro; Son, Kulusevski; Kane
It was the home side that started the brightest under the Goodison Park lights on Monday – with Iwobi breaking free on the left-hand side before finding Demarai Gray in the false nine position on the edge of the box. The former England U21 attacker’s shot rose over the Tottenham goal though.
With the crowd vocal, both teams looked to move the ball quickly trying to force the impetus of the early proceedings. It would be Tottenham, however, who would find the next chance. Oliver Skipp wrestled through the midfield, playing a searching ball for the run of Kane. Tottenham’s leading scorer beat Jordan Pickford, but was unable to get enough on his effort to score – with Michael Keane covering the line to save a certain goal.
In a lively back-and-forth opening to the game, it was be the Everton centre half who would be next to fashion an effort toward goal. Gray’s free kick fell to Keane on the edge of the penalty area inviting a shot, which the defender fiercely drove over the bar.
The presence of Kane though would cause Dyche’s side problems. With nine headed goals to his name before the matchup, it was so nearly ten with Perisic finding space on the left before sending in a pinpoint cross toward the forward. The Spurs striker’s header narrowly passed Pickford’s far post.
Everton, lacking a focal point up front, found space with Iwobi on the left but lacked the predatory instinct in the box. The Nigerian international’s in-swinging right-footed cross invited a finish, but Doucoure arrived late and was unable to provide it, with his header lacking composure and finishing high and wide of the goal with Lloris untroubled. Fiercely contested, the game remained goalless at the break.
Everton had come into the game as the joint lowest scorers in the league. A lack of composure straight after the restart spurned a good opportunity for the Toffees to open the scoring. Amadou Onana caught Eric Dier in possession, before feeding Idrissa Gueye in a three-on-two situation. The Senegalese midfielder, with both Gray and Doucoure in support, opted to shoot wildly over the bar despite his teammates in acres of space.
With the game becoming scrappy and tempers flaring, Everton all of a sudden found themselves reduced down to ten men. Kane and Doucoure came together ,before the home midfielder reacted by raising an arm that sent the Tottenham forward to the floor. Referee David Coote was left with no choice but to issue a red card, with the ex-Watford midfielder dismissed.
Everton dropped deeper and deeper into their own box as Tottenham looked to exploit their advantage of the extra man and the Lilywhites found themselves with an opportunity to score minutes later from the penalty spot. Perisic recycled a set piece, finding Romero inside the penalty area and the Argentine World Cup winner drew a foul from the outstretched leg of Keane.
Kane’s tremendous record of scoring against Everton continued, comfortably slotting his spot-kick into the right-hand corner of the net while sending Pickford in the opposite direction.
The home team responded well, continuing to press their opponents high up the field. Grey found Gueye soon after as Everton pushed for an equaliser. Lloris was again called into action, this time tipping the midfielder’s powerful effort over the crossbar.
In an ill-tempered finish to the match, the visitors were also reduced to ten men in stoppage time with substitute Lucas Moura also seeing red for a reckless challenge – going in high on Keane. Everton threw the kitchen sink at the Tottenham defence, launching wave after wave forward and found a dramatic leveller. Keane thumped a thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area past Lloris, who remained unmoved after the Spurs backline had failed to clear their lines.
Life after Antonio Conte finished in similar fashion for Spurs, with Everton’s late show compounding Stellini’s side to yet more dropped points in their battle for a top four spot in the Premier League come the end of the season. Despite the draw, the Lilywhites move above Manchester United – but the result was much more important to Everton, as a point moves the Toffees out of the bottom three.