Spurs vs Everton is up next for us in the Premier League, as we attempt to continue our winning ways.
After travelling to Hull last season, we returned home to beat Everton 1-0 in our next Premier League game. Mauricio Pochettino will plan on repeating that performance against a Toffees side that has a number of injury concerns.
Roberto Martinez will give late fitness test to Steven Pienaar, Gareth Barry, Leighton Baines and Steven Naismith, all of whom are key to Everton’s system.
So what can we expect and what should we be on the look out for in Spurs vs Everton this time.
Everton’s full backs
Much of the good work that is done by the Toffees comes through their full backs. Alongside Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand, Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines are among the most influential full back pairings in the Premier League.
Both are extremely mobile and agile to get up and down their flank to provide a significant source of Everton’s attacking play.
Leighton Baines on the left is absolutely key and acts as a quarterback for them, controlling the play going forward. He looks to get up on the overlap, combining with the wide player ahead of him who will often drift inside.
He has an excellent relationship with Steven Pienaar and if one or both of the pair are unable too play, it will be a big miss for them.
Last week against West Ham, Tony Hibbert stepped in for the injured Baines and you can see the difference from an attacking standpoint in their full back’s average positions. Coleman down the right has a far higher placement compared to Hibbert playing on his unnatural side.
Seamus Coleman has been really making a name for himself these last couple of seasons and it’s easy to see why. He has a great engine to get forward and back to help in both defence and attack. He also has the ability to dribble past opposition players and get in to the box. From there, he can deliver good crosses, pull backs or fire in a shot.
Everton will look to get the ball out to Coleman quickly, often from the centre of the park, so that he can get running early and in to space.
The pair really are a handful if you don’t try and push them back, something that the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Everton should focus on.
Stopping the full backs
No team has really been able to keep Baines and Coleman quiet for a full 90 minutes, but the ones that have success against Everton focus on pushing these two back.
Everton’s only away loss in the Premier League this season came at Old Trafford. Man Utd made a distinct effort to target their full backs.
They then looked to create from wide positions, which is where Everton are vulnerable, as their full backs can be caught forward.
Everton conceding chances
Everton can be got at in two ways.
The first is by catching their full backs in advanced positions in order to create short or long crossing situations.
As highlighted above Man Utd were very good at applying defensive pressure against their full backs and created a number of chances from Everton’s right back zone.
West Ham last weekend also were able to fashion opportunities from wide areas, including Mauro Zarate’s equalising goal.
The second way is by creating turnovers through pressing and moving the ball quickly forward in transition. Roberto Martinez preaches that his side retain the ball, but quick changes in possession and forward bursts can catch them out of position
Chelsea did this excellently. They found Diego Costa with very straight vertical passes, as he ran the channels expertly in their 6-3 win.
In Everton’s recent away trip to Burnley, the Clarets also took advantage of this. Romelu Lukaku’s lapse pass in his own half was pounced upon by Lukas Jutkiewicz, who then slid the ball in for Danny Ings to score.
Although not technically a turnover, our goal in Spurs 1 Everton 0 last season also highlighted this. A quick free kick after a foul on Mousa Dembele was moved straight up the pitch to Emmanuel Adebayor who slotted home.
Everton can be got at in transition or from their full back zones. Their centre backs are solid when facing the ball, but both are more vulnerable when turned towards their own goal.
Navigating the pressure
Roberto Martinez often plays with two waves of pressure. His front four players will press and try to close down to force turnovers and long clearances downfield. The remaining six will often then drop off and form a second wave of recapturing the ball.
This pressure needs to be navigated by quick passing, but also by outnumbering them in the centre of the park.
In last season’s match, Roberto Martinez did something interesting with Leon Osman whom he played as a number ten. The Everton manager had Osman man-mark Nabil Bentaleb, as Tim Sherwood was using the Algerian as a passing hub to distribute the ball.
Mauricio Pochettino adopts a similar tactic by having Etienne Capoue as his quarterback for moving the ball around. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar ploy from Martinez once again.
We had a tough time navigating around it and so we need to be prepared to deal with this kind of pressure if it happens again. Two options would be to either get the ball quickly wide or to have rotating players drop in at the base of midfield to move play forward.
Spurs vs Everton outlook
Games with the Toffees have been very tight affairs recently and I expect Spurs vs Everton to be the same again this time.
From the Everton team news, Roberto Martinez could be missing a number of key players and the absence of someone like Leighton Baines will be a big hit. We need to take advantage if this happens and target his flank for attacks, whilst trying to force back Seamus Coleman on the other side. The selection of our wide players will be vital here.
Both teams have to cope with Europa League exertions and our home tie should give us a slight conditioning edge over Everton’s trip to Germany. Given our performances after playing in Europe’s second competition, this might not turn out to be any kind of advantage at all.
Spurs vs Everton prediction: Spurs 1 Everton 1.