Continuously attacking the Toffees’ full backs saw a one-sided Premier League encounter finish Tottenham 4-0 Everton at Wembley Stadium.
Mauricio Pochettino was clinical and calculated in his game plan. Cuco Martina and Jonjoe Kenny have done well as stand-in full backs, but they were targeted relentlessly. Four goals were the result, three from low crosses, as it ended Tottenham 4-0 Everton at Wembley Stadium.
Everton’s issues didn’t start with their fullbacks, but they certainly ended with them. The Toffees’ problems in fact started much further up the pitch and were threefold.
Firstly, Wayne Rooney was playing far too high. Rooney was tasked with getting forward to support new striker Cenk Tosun. England’s record goalscorer did well in this phase, but didn’t have the legs to complete the second part of his role. This job was to get back and help Idrissa Gueye and James McCarthy in midfield. As a result, Gueye and McCarthy were often left exposed and huge spaces opened up. These are the areas we know we love to flood with attacking players and we therefore enjoyed plenty of time on the ball.
A knock-on effect from all this space appearing was Phil Jagielka being too keen to move out of the back line. Jagielka seemed to take it upon himself to mark Harry Kane. His impetuosity often got the better of him and this caused havoc amongst his remaining colleagues in the back four.
These two factors coincided with the final nail in the coffin. Everton’s wide players were not tracking. Gylfi Sigurdsson was trying to move in to the centre to influence proceedings and often got caught in the middle of the pitch. Yannick Bolasie was too high up seeking to use his superior speed against the slower Ben Davies. Bolasie rarely saw the ball, but was in poor positions to recover when possession was turned over.
The result of all of this carnage was Everton’s stand-in full backs being left exposed. Martina and Kenny were often one-against-one or out of position due to their own reckless acts or those of their teammates around them. Four goals were the result as it ended a comfortable Tottenham 4-0 Everton.
Attacking the Everton left back
Everton’s formational issues were one factor in their heavy defeat. The other was the excellent Tottenham ball movement. Passes were swift and precise. The switch in play to move the ball across the pitch in one or two passes became a feature.
Every Spurs player was looking for it. Christian Eriksen supplied it to break the deadlock.
Everton’s trio of issues were highly apparent. Wayne Rooney was too high creating spaces around McCarthy and Gueye. Harry Kane filling these spaces drew Jagielka out. Gylfi Sigurdsson was too narrow trying to pinch in.
As a result, full back Cuco Martina had to track Son’s run in to the space left by Jagielka’s indiscipline. The knock-on effect was therefore an ocean of space for Serge Aurier to sneak in to.
Martina was then caught in two minds and it made for an easy goal. Aurier had time to take a touch and size up a shot. However, it turned in to a perfect pass across the face for Son Heung-Min to tap in. Tottenham 1-0 Everton and Son Heung-Min’s fifth goal in five consecutive home matches to equal Jermain Defoe’s record.
Pickford and set pieces
Tottenham were playing the Everton setup perfectly, but this didn’t stop the Toffees’ causing some sticky moments. These came from the long kicks of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and at set pieces.
Pickford’s kicking was an interesting sideshow in the match due to its length, power and trajectory. Everton didn’t score from it, but it could’ve been used to cause us more problems.
Pickford frequently sent the ball in-behind our high defensive line with one booming swing of his left foot. Our centre backs, often Davinson Sanchez, were unexpectedly turned and had to scamper back harassed by the strong play of Cenk Tosun. Everton’s new recruit was able to hold a share of these long kicks up, but also put Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen under great pressure.
The best chance fashioned from Pickford’s long clearances saw Tosun flick on and Rooney scuff a first time shot just wide of the post.
Everton’s other avenue of success was at set pieces. The delivery of Gylfi Sigurdsson was accurate and Tosun was causing problems in the air. Wayne Rooney had the ball in the net following back-to-back corners, however he was offside in doing so.
Attacking the Everton right back
Tottenham took the lead by attacking left back Cuco Martina. A second goal and a spree of other chances would follow by going at right back Jonjoe Kenny.
A minute after the interval and Everton’s issues compounded once more. Wayne Rooney was again too high leaving too much space for McCarthy and Gueye to cover. Sigurdsson was caught inside trying to drift in. Bolasie trying to get himself aligned 1v1 on Ben Davies.
Davinson Sanchez’s run with the ball to move it out from the back took a risk. However, as Everton were caught with players out of position, it quickly created a good position and a defensive domino effect ensued. The swift passing between himself, Eric Dier and Christian Eriksen speedily escalated Everton’s problems.
Son was in space on the flank. Right back Jonjoe Kenny’s impetuous challenge suddenly saw him out of the game as Son’s pirouette sprung him in to the clear. He raced in on goal and his shot across the face also turned in to the perfect cross. Harry Kane arriving, with a question of offside, to turn home and make it Tottenham 2-0 Everton.
Two up and Tottenham continued to attack the space around Jonjoe Kenny. Chances were created through the inside left channel between Kenny and the equally inexperienced Mason Holgate.
Dele Alli could only find the side netting when presented with a glorious chance due to his run down this channel. Son and then Dele then saw their efforts thwarted by two quick reaction saves by Jordan Pickford.
Back to attacking the left back
Chances, and goals, were also forthcoming by continuing to attack left back Cuco Martina.
Son Heung-Min hit the post as yet another long switch found him sneaking beyond the left back. Harry Kane’s lofted pass was pinpoint; Son’s finish was off by just a fraction.
No need to worry though as a third was just a minute away. Again it was from a low cross. Once more Spurs were easily able to create a mismatch on the flank. This time it was 3v2 and although Sigurdsson and Martina were back, they were unable to cover Dier, Son and Aurier due to the lack of help from Gueye and McCarthy.
Harry Kane ran the channel between opposite full back Jonjoe Kenny and centre back Mason Holgate. Dier’s scuffed cross was met with an equally scruffy finish. It didn’t matter as the ball squibbed in to the net and Spurs were 3-0 up.
Christian Eriksen then made it Tottenham 4-0 Everton as the Toffees were carved open down our right once again.
Morgan Schneiderlin was introduced for James McCarthy. He and Idrissa Gueye were once more left with too much ground to cover by Wayne Rooney being caught too far forward and Gylfi Sigurdsson not tracking Serge Aurier.
As a result, Phil Jagielka was once more drawn out to mark Harry Kane. Serge Aurier’s pass to Kane’s feet immediately pierced two levels of Everton’s defence and instantly Spurs were on their back line.
The domino effect then ensued as Everton had to rotate defender after defender towards the Spurs man with the ball, which constantly changed due to the quick passing.
Kane found Aurier to attack the space around left back Cuco Martina. Drawing the full back out, Aurier intelligently played Son in to the space created. One-touch play then saw the South Korean find Dele Alli whose neat first-time flick ended up with Christian Eriksen’s precise finish. A brilliant team goal and a fine illustration of what this Tottenham team is about.
The game was over and a comfortable score of Tottenham 4-0 Everton saw all three valuable points hoovered up in our quest for a top four finish.
Tottenham 4-0 Everton overall
A spot on game plan by Mauricio Pochettino manifested itself with all four goals being scored by heavily attacking the Everton full back zones. The Toffees left their full backs exposed by poor organisation in front of them from experienced heads that should know better.
Low crosses were responsible for three of the strikes. Pleasing to see after lacking crossing based approaches against teams that defend deep and narrow when coming to Wembley. However, our delivery still needs to be worked upon. Son and Aurier’s crosses were shots that turned out to be excellent passes. What’s more, all too often Aurier and Davies crossing attempts lacked accuracy. Aurier’s precision really nosedives when delivering on the run.
Final score: Tottenham 4-0 Everton.
MOTM: Son Heung-Min.