After our dramatic Europa League clash with Basel, it’s back to another important Premier League fixture as the Toffees come to town for Spurs vs Everton.
Our trip to Goodison earlier in the season saw us surrender a 1-0 lead in the dying minutes, as we conceded twice to let all three points slip. That victory saw the Toffees step in to the top four, but this time we currently occupy a Champions League place and they are on the outside looking in.
So what can we expect and what should be the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Everton this time?
Everton set up and tactics
You know what you’re going to get with Everton. David Moyes lines his side up in a 4-4-1-1 with Marouane Fellaini playing off a central striker. However, without the Belgian who is suspended for two matches, Moyes went with a back three last weekend to counter Stoke’s two strikers. Up front, he opted for Kevin Mirallas playing in behind two forwards of his own and the ploy worked as the Belgian scored the only goal of the game.
Without Fellaini once again this week, we’ll probably see him return to 4-4-1-1 away from home. Don’t be surprised if we see a back three once more though, given the trouble we had breaking down Wigan at the Lane earlier this season.
In spite of formation switches, it’s no secret that Everton attack heavily down their left through Leighton Baines. Steven Pienaar is his usual partner in crime, but the Toffees will also be without him through suspension, so we may well see Kevin Mirallas line up on this side.
With Baines acting as a quarter back for Everton’s attack down the left, the right flank isn’t used nearly as much. However, Seamus Coleman loves to get forward and is an effective dribbler and crosser of the ball – as we found out when he set up Steven Pienaar prior to Jelavic’s winner at Goodison. He also had a good game last weekend at home to Stoke, where he was exceptionally high up throughout the match on the right side, something he does regularly.
Their overall objective is to cross, with Everton attempting 27 balls in to the box per match this season in the Premier League, only West Ham (28) attempt more.
The target for their crosses is usually Nikica Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini, but without the Belgian we may well get Victor Anichebe partnering the Croatian. David Moyes likes to play two dominant aerial players in order to win headers and hold the ball up if it is cleared long out of defence. He then also has two target men for the crosses from wide areas.
Quarterback Leighton Baines
The key to much of what Everton do well going forward is Leighton Baines. His partnership with Steven Pienaar is one of the best in the Premier League, but it’s Baines’ ability to get up and down the left flank that makes things tick.
He is always available for an outlet ball from the Everton defence, but also looks to get beyond the opposition full back to receive a pass played in behind. Even away at Old Trafford we can see how far up he receives the ball, but also several passes played vertically up the line in to the space behind Rafael.
Not only is he a threat to cross from getting in to the area behind the opposition right back, but he can also deliver it from deeper areas. In the Toffees’ last away trip to Norwich, he attempts several crosses from a zone high above the penalty area on the Everton left, as well as creating a goal for Leon Osman by getting in behind.
This ability of Leighton Baines to create from anywhere down the left is the main problem posed by the Toffees and we’ll need to stop them at source here. We did a decent job at Goodison whereby we double stacked Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon against his threat and Baines failed to complete any of his six crosses in the match.
Playing a high line and tightening the space between our two players down the right may well be a good ploy again here.
The explosive Kevin Mirallas
Without Steven Pienaar, Kevin Mirallas may well get the nod to work with Leighton Baines on the left if David Moyes goes 4-4-1-1.
The Belgian pulled in to this area in spite of his central starting position last week in Moyes’ 3-4-1-2. The reason for this is that the Everton manager requires a player who can dart inside to provide an option for Baines to slide a pass in to. This inside movement then in turn opens up space for Baines to go down the line and look for a return pass. If this is not on, the player moving inside can keep the ball and cross.
Leighton Baines combined well with Steven Pienaar at Norwich to set up the opener for Leon Osman. The left back’s overlap got him in to a position to receive a return from the South African and cross for Osman.
We can also see in the absence of Pienaar last weekend, how Baines combined with Mirallas against Stoke.
Mirallas is more of a selfish player than Pienaar when in possession, but is a threat to dribble past defenders and shoot, especially going through the inside left channel.
His natural movement does take him to this side of the field, so the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Everton here could well see that tightening of space down the right working again. Scott Parker naturally plays to the right of our midfield, so his presence in the area should also slow Everton down.
Everton conceding chances
With Leighton Baines getting forward, it’s no surprise that Everton concede the majority of chances against them from the full back zones.
Seems they’ll be coming to the Lane on Sunday, if we look at their previous two away trips, we can see how Norwich and Man Utd have profited from these areas.
At Old Trafford, the Red Devils ran out easy 2-0 winners, but they created a goal and three other chances from the Leighton Baines’ left back zone.
At Carrow Road, the Canaries also created several chances from the zone behind Baines, including the winner, which was laid back in to the path of Grant Holt.
The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Everton here needs to see us play with more width than we did in Spurs 2 Basle 2 on Thursday night. After Aaron Lennon went off, we lacked any presence to get the ball wide and round the back to expose Basel’s full backs. Without both Lennon and Bale here, we have a real lack of width available to us, as the other players we have used in these positions like to cut inside. Creating chances could be difficult with Everton being very strong through the centre.
Spurs vs Everton outlook
Both teams will be missing key individuals for this one. We will be without Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe, whilst Everton will be missing Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar. This will hinder both sides as it takes away plenty from the areas where both teams create and finish their chances.
Andre Villas-Boas and the boys will be keen to put in a good performance after the disappointing result against Basel. However, Spurs vs Everton could be a game where chances are difficult to come by for both sides.
Spurs vs Everton prediction: Spurs 1 Everton 1.