Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Everton vs Spurs

Written by Sam Hopkinson

Roberto Martinez will be wondering how his Everton side managed to throw away the points against Stoke last time out. With Lukaku finding the net with telepathic accuracy, the Toffees should be winning more games—but it won’t happen when they concede 4 goals at home. They’ve missed the tenacity James McCarthy brings to midfield and Phil Jagielka’s calming influence in defence—but all squads have their share of injuries. Spurs for their part will arrive at Goodison in good heart, having beaten Watford with a winning goal at the death. Things are going well for Tottenham, but can they outscore the Toffees?

DEFENDER

Phil Jagielka

Although he is technically ‘fit’, Martinez may not field Jagielka against Spurs—especially having seen McCarthy go off injured in the last match. When the veteran Englishman plays, Everton immediately look more solid. They have lost just two matches without him, but managed 3 clean sheets in that time, not good enough for a team with ambitions of Europe. John Stones gave away the contentious penalty that cost Everton a point against Stoke, and you have to wonder if he would make the same mistake with Jagielka next to him.

MIDFIELDER

Eric Dier

Dier’s revelatory season continues, his adaptability shown once again in his last match. Tottenham moved to three at the back and aside from being pushed off the ball by Ighalo for the Watford goal, the young Englishman performed admirably. His call-up for the European Championship looks all but assured on the basis of his play this season. Everton don’t have the same kind of midfield engine without McCarthy, and it is here that Spurs will try to dominate. The game may well be decided by the victor of the midfield tussle.

STRIKER

Romelu Lukaku

The thoughtful Belgian forward will have to make a difficult decision about staying at Goodison should Everton fail to qualify for the Champions League. His time with the Toffees has transformed him into a top class striker, maybe the best young centre forward in the world. It would be nice to see him stay, but not many fans would begrudge him a move to a European giant like PSG if Everton finish mid-table in May. Lukaku will be coming up against two of his Belgian teammates, Alderweireld and Vertonghen in what should prove to be a fascinating contest.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Heung-min Son

Following his injury, Son has found it hard to break back into the first team picture at Spurs. Alli, Lamela and Dembele have all been in superior form, and Carroll was preferred for Spurs’ match against Watford. This game might be Son’s chance to make a comeback, with Pochettino likely to rotate his squad a little and perhaps reward the Korean for his late, game-winning strike against Watford after coming on as a substitute.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn't have football, he'd probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.