Eric Dier and Lucas Moura celebrate a goal during Tottenham 2-2 Everton.

Tottenham 2-2 Everton: dangerous diagonals and Sigurdsson in space

Long diagonal passing opened up a narrow opponent, but Gylfi Sigurdsson in space made the final score Tottenham 2-2 Everton.

A narrow Everton team were opened up by Tottenham’s use of long diagonal passing. However, space left between the lines by a makeshift defensive midfield saw Gylfi Sigurdsson continually influence the match. The result ended up being Tottenham 2-2 Everton as each team deserved a share of the points.

Dangerous diagonals

A curious twist to the team sheets saw Eric Dier named as a centre back alongside Toby Alderweireld. Increasing the eyebrow raising was seeing Dier play the left-sided centre back role. Alderweireld has always operated there in the absence of Jan Vertonghen, but Mauricio Pochettino had a plan. The Tottenham boss used both his centre backs to continually spray long diagonal passes out to the full backs and wide midfielders on the opposite side.

The tactic was effective as Everton lined up extremely narrow in the defensive phase. The Toffees pinched in their wide players to take away the centre of the pitch. Tottenham therefore continually went over this to find the free players out on the flanks.

Kyle Walker-Peters free against a narrow defence during Tottenham 2-2 Everton.

Kyle Walker-Peters free against a narrow defence.

The tactic took just two minutes to pay off. Eric Dier sent a long searching pass out to Kyle Walker-Peters. The full back took the ball down and won a corner.

The resulting set piece saw Spurs run a familiar Pochettino routine. The corner of the six-yard box was left open, only for three sizeable players to run late towards the vacant space. Eric Dier, Fernando Llorente and Toby Alderweireld all charged in to this zone. Llorente made the initial contact, but Dier was there to hoover up the loose ball and finish.

An excellent start when the team could’ve been forgiven for being hung over from Wednesday’s Champions League exertions.

Sigurdsson in space

Tottenham were alert and alive in the first twenty minutes as Everton were put on the back foot by the tactics.

The only issue for Spurs came in the makeshift defensive midfield. Christian Eriksen was paired with Moussa Sissoko and whilst they were good going forward, there were blown coverages everywhere.

Gylfi Sigurdsson keenly filled the spaces left by Eriksen and Sissoko. The Everton number ten thrives in these conditions and started to have a growing influence on match. Sigurdsson created chances for Theo Walcott, Bernard and Cenk Tosun. Hugo Lloris particularly making a good save low down from Bernard.

Pochettino’s half time change

At half time Mauricio Pochettino made a change to take away the space Sigurdsson had been enjoying.

Victor Wanyama was introduced for Dele Alli. Wanyama was tasked with dropping anchor in front of the back four and dealing with the growing Sigurdsson threat.

Marco Silva changes the match

Pochettino’s change to introduce Wanyama had the desired effect until Marco Silva made substitutions of his own. Silva brought on Ademola Lookman and Andre Gomes.

Lookman supplied instant energy and dribbling off the flank. Gomes moved the ball much quicker through midfield from a number eight role.

The two Everton introductions got them back in the match. Gomes sent a raking ball across the pitch to Lucas Digne who then found Lookman. His burst infield, evading challenges to find Sigurdsson in acres of space once more. Sigurdsson’s neatly weighted pass picked out Theo Walcott to finish and Everton were back on level terms at 1-1.

Sigurdsson drifts in to acres of space away from the defensive midfielders during Tottenham 2-2 Everton.

Sigurdsson drifts in to acres of space away from the defensive midfielders.

Everton then struck to take the lead. Once again it was Gylfi Sigurdsson in space who could pull the strings. Sigurdsson had found room between the lines and picked out Lucas Digne. Victor Wanyama put the full back’s cross behind for a corner.

Tottenham had issues picking up Michael Keane from Sigurdsson’s set pieces all game. Keane had already planted two headers at the Tottenham goal from previous dead balls. His third forced Hugo Lloris to sprawling save that saw Cenk Tosun bundle the loose ball over the line. Lloris has struggled with his rebound control in recent months. Tosun was only too grateful to receive the rebound and put Everton ahead.

Eriksen scores a free kick!

Tottenham had started to tire by this point and could be forgiven for the exertions of Wednesday catching up with us. However, the team showed great energy and mental strength to instantly fight back. Once more the diagonal ball out of defence was key to navigating a narrow Everton team.

Victor Wanyama supplied the first diagonal pass to pick out Ben Davies in room out by the touchline. Davies’ first time flick round the corner to find Erik Lamela’s run was sublime. The quickness of the move put Lamela instantly on the Everton back line and Andre Gomes brought him down from behind with a clumsy challenge.

Much has been made about Christian Eriksen’s poor record of scoring free kicks for Spurs being such an exquisite artist with a football. That was put paid to by a beautifully guided ball that beat Jordan Pickford in both accuracy and flight. Eriksen’s superbly guided shot gave the Everton keeper no chance after he made a slight move to his right. Pickford was then never getting near it.

The scores were tied up once again at Tottenham 2-2 Everton. Nothing less than both teams deserved out of the afternoon. The goal gave Tottenham the point needed to secure Champions League football for another season. Everton continued the impressive end to their campaign.

Tottenham 2-2 Everton overall

A classic end of season game that had both good and bad points. Spurs started extremely well. The tactics of hitting long diagonals really stretched a narrow Everton defensive shape and gave Spurs the upper hand.

The decision to start Eriksen and Sissoko in defensive midfield may have been made by Pochettino with one eye on trialling it for Madrid. However, the spaces afforded around the pairing allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson to be an increasing influence on the match. As a result, Sigurdsson made good use of the time and space he was afforded, before being the constructor of both Everton goals.

A Christian Eriksen free kick flying in is a rare sight for Spurs fans. Breaking his barren streak is a really positive sign ahead of the Champions League final in Madrid.

Final score: Tottenham 2-2 Everton.
MOTM: Gylfi Sigurdsson.

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15 Responses to Tottenham 2-2 Everton: dangerous diagonals and Sigurdsson in space

  1. freeflow12 14th May 2019 at 6:49 pm #

    Would love for a win but I guess Champions League qualification is alright for me.

    Quiet impressed with Andre Gomes when he came on. We’ve been linked with him and personal terms is said to be agreed already. How do you rate him? Will he fit into Spurs?

    In your opinion, does the squad needs massive overhaul or is it only key signings that is more important?

    And recently Poch have said some cryptic things regarding the future i.e clear plan and going home etc. What is he really saying in terms of your understanding?

    Now only waiting for the CL final. May the Football God will be on our side. COYS!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 15th May 2019 at 11:47 am #

      I think Andre Gomes is a really good player on the ball with a real eye for a pass. He looks technically superb and often Pirlo-esque in his passing. He doesn’t work hard enough without the ball for me. Maybe Poch can change this or maybe he continues to look like a bit of a stroller. This is ok when he is alongside a real ball winner, so it really depends what plans Spurs have for him? I can see him being nice alongside a Dier or Wanyama, but if we get him then this could well stifle Harry Winks’ development. Central midfield is an area we definitely need to look at and decide what we want from there – especially if we bring in a guy like Ndombele as well. Wanyama looks to be heading out the door and we also need to decide whether Dier’s best position is in here too. Whatever we plan we also need to decide whether Winks and Sissoko are deeper central midfielders long term as well.

      I don’t think the squad needs a massive overhaul, but there are areas that need to be addressed. The key one is the full back zones for me. Danny Rose is the only player I’d keep. Sessegnon looks like it could well be happening which is great for the left side. However, we need a right back and to decide whether Aurier or KWP are good enough to be his deputy or whether we also need a backup and then to sell them too.

      A backup/switch for Eriksen is also high on the list, especially if Eriksen leaves. Andre Gomes may well be seen as this player, but I’d also be looking around at other options too. David Brooks, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Morgan Gibbs-White all have Premier League Experience. Isco, Pablo Sarabia, Kerem Demirbay, Donny van de Beek from Europe’s other leagues.

      Poch has become quite cryptic recently. I think he is trying to keep the media on their toes, but also also saying to the club that it is now time to go for it. He’s always talked to focus on winning big, like the Premier League rather than the FA Cup or finishing above Arsenal. Maybe the Champions League run to the final has taken him by surprise, but again its part of his thinking big and anything can happen universal energy philosophy. I think he wants to let everyone know that this is the time to put a really good team in place that can challenge at the business end of the Premier League and the Champions League. Being in the final is great PR for us to attract players as we’re now becoming a household name across Europe. You only have to look at the media saying Sessegnon prefers us over Man Utd. That never would’ve happened 5 years ago.

      I don’t have any concerns about Poch leaving – maybe if we win the Champions League then he’ll feel like he has taken us as far as he can – but I think he has spent far too long invested in “the project” to walk away now. He was saying that the project is five years plus and we are approaching that 5 year mark now. He has held up his end in delivering Champions League football on a regular basis. Levy has held up his end by putting a world class stadium and training centre in place. I think that Poch now wants guarantees that the next stage of the project is clearly defined and he’ll get what was either aired to him when they were talking about the stages of this project or that Levy is now prepared to up the ante even further and is ready to back him to go to the next level now that the ground work has been laid.

      We’ll see what happens, but these few months are going to be exciting times. A first trophy for Poch? Maybe. But I’m expecting a real revolving door policy this summer with comings and goings. We’re riding high and it’s time to strike while the iron is hot.

      • YouShubes 15th May 2019 at 10:06 pm #

        was not impressed by him when I saw him at Goodison.

        5 years?! wow has it been that long… probably the only top 6 manager to still be in his job from that time….

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 16th May 2019 at 11:06 am #

          Only Eddie Howe and Sean Dyche have been in charge of their teams longer than Poch so it shows how the industry now operates!

  2. Mos 16th May 2019 at 4:12 am #

    I totally agree, I don’t see Poch leaving unless there is a huge difference in the next “project” Levy is far too smart to not see how valuable Poch is and wont let it happen. He might even encourage the cryptic messages as an odd marketing stunt (He did similar last year then signed a contract)

    As for signings I do think there is going to be big changes. Heres my thoughts, of course a lot depends on price/competition/availabilty.

    Danny rose
    Toby alderwiereld
    KWP (out on loan)

    Ryan Sessengon/Lucas Digne
    Wan Bissaka/Max Aarons
    Tunguy Ndombele/Andre Gomes
    Julian Brant/Jack Grealish/Nabil Fekir
    +Backup Striker (Id take someone from the championship)

    Think we will keep Trippier and Dier even though they have been poor this year. Would love to have a marquee attacking signing aswell maybe bringing in Coutinho if we sell Eriksen.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 16th May 2019 at 11:09 am #

      Certainly will be a summer of wheeling and dealing. I hope that this doesn’t upset the balance of the team with too many changes. We saw what happened with the seven signings following the sale of Gareth Bale and how that affected the team chemistry and how poorly a number of them performed. That left us with a lot of dead wood that in turn needed to be sold on, so i’m hoping we’ve learnt from that and will be shrewder in our transfer business.

  3. MurphyN 16th May 2019 at 9:08 am #

    Cheeky deadline day Levy for James Rodriguez perhaps, Mos?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 16th May 2019 at 11:09 am #

      Very last minute Levy type signing that!

  4. Toby4eva 16th May 2019 at 4:31 pm #

    So glad you are back on the tools Mark!

    What a week.

    This is for everyone.


    Down one nil – home defeat at the Lane
    Now away between forlorn and pain
    With no Davinson, Winks or H. Kane
    The lads had to do it – again

    Four times before we were done
    For a Yiddo this isn’t much fun
    But fresh from Etihad grassy knoll spun
    VAR is the new smoking gun

    So off to the flat land they flew
    But after five minutes in – it was two!
    Ziyech swiftly made it a few
    At half time the result we all knew

    But “belief” is the buzz word of Poch
    He wasn’t going to mandate a loss
    “Llorente up front” said the boss
    “Fernando be peppered with cross”

    Soon long balls made the Dutch testy
    Lucas stepped up twice as the besty
    Brazilian left feet are quite zesty
    One more and he’s icon – not guesty.

    After ninety six minutes the scam!
    Somehow Lucas again just went “bam”
    Pandemonium from away bay to tram
    Cue the Miracle of Amsterdam!

    The gaffer and crew all went mad
    Strangely the Chairman seemed quite well prepared
    Not a thought for poor Ajax was spared
    It’s a wild, crazy game and I’m glad

    So onto Madrid it’s the Scouse
    The cultured world watching – full house
    The threat of Kop’s Klopp we must douse
    THFC is now a lion not a mouse!

    This for all is an alien feeling
    Out of body and straight through the ceiling
    But the Dippers we want to leave reeling
    As Sue Porter says – keep beleefing!


    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 16th May 2019 at 11:15 pm #

      Don’t know how you came up with such a gem, but brilliantly put!
      Still can’t believe we are one game away from Europe’s biggest prize!

  5. Erik Zen 17th May 2019 at 10:07 am #

    Phenomenal wordsmithery and worthy of the event itself!! “Fernando peppered with cross” a personal highlight. A new bard for our Lion era!

    Thanks so much for your sterling work this season Mark, always a pleasure to read. We’re all looking forward to reading one more match analysis, hopefully with a certain result… And an even more epic commemorative poem please.

    About transfers, I can’t imagine we’re going to ship out that many, I can see us making a couple of signings, and that would be fine by me. Please please, a right back and center mid. That’s clearly the two we need more than ever. (And an Eriksen replacement when/if the unthinkable happens.)

    I know quite a few want to sell Lamela but I’m still a fan. I think he has an unusual skill set and can always bring something to a game. He was on fire at the beginning of the season!

    Kind of hope we’ll see Poch go mental in the final and play the whole attacking surplus. Pool stuffed us twice this season so surely, surely, surely….?

    What a time to be a Yid!

  6. Toby4eva 17th May 2019 at 2:25 pm #

    Thanks Mark and Erik

    That’s great that you love that line Erik.

    I’ve actually since made one revision – to that very line!

    How about…

    But “belief” is the buzz word of Poch
    He wasn’t going to mandate a loss
    “Llorente up front” said the boss
    “Lump it forward – think Christian Gross”


  7. Toby4eva 18th May 2019 at 3:51 pm #

    My summer thoughts.

    Buy N’Dombele at whatever price

    This bloke is the business.

    Here we go.

    No verse.

    If no action, call the nurse.


    100 million – Eriksen
    50 million – Trippier
    25 million – Alderweireld
    20 million – Janssen
    15 million – N’Koudou
    10 million – CCV
    5 million – Vorm

    225 million – TOTAL


    60million – N’Dombele
    40 million – Malcolm
    35 million – Gomes
    35 million – RWB
    35 million – LCB
    25 million – Sessegnon
    5 million – no.3 keeper

    235 million – TOTAL



  8. Mos 18th May 2019 at 11:33 pm #

    Not a bad shopping list Toby4Eva. I would keep Trippier instead of Aurier because of the English status and I don’t think he could get worse, obviously shifted to the back-up option. I have a feeling Rose wants out.

    Recently the whole Bale loan deal seems to be more and more possible. Just imagine Kane Son and Bale as a front 3. This is a line up with 2 players per position that I think would be immense(assuming Eriksen is sold)


    Son/Moura Dele/Fekir Bale/Lamela

    Ndombele/Sissoko Winks/Gomez

    Sessengon/Davies WanBissaka/Tripps
    Vert/Dier Davinson/Foyth


  9. TonyM 24th May 2019 at 5:12 pm #

    I think it will be dereliction of duty if Spurs dont buy Youri Tielmans.

    Tielmans has 1) a superb engine, 2) excellent eye for a pass 3) and for a goal, 4) plenty of pace to burn.

    Tielmans to Spurs is a no brainer for me. Last time I felt such conviction and a buzz was when Dembele was still available at Dortmund or Dele still at MK Dons.

    The rest of the proposed names…make me do more soul searching to be convinced.

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