Everton vs. Tottenham Hotspur preview: More points, and maybe some fun

Clive Rose

Pretty play? Who cares, Spurs are winning and so are Everton.

Tottenham Hotspur have been getting points. They have not been especially entertaining.

Does it matter?

For years, Spurs took pride in the way they played, and for good reason. They were positive, attacking and thrilling. If they lost, they were going to lose 4-2 in a wide open match. But Tottenham did that as underdogs, where their style of play -- open and exciting -- dictated how the match would go.

Now Tottenham are the favorites and have to combat their opponents, who more often than not choose to pack men behind the ball. The results, from an entertainment standpoint, has been dire. Spurs can't break down teams and thrice have had to use a penalty to win 1-0.

But they have won.

Pretty or not, Spurs have won. They are three points from first and have plenty of room to grow. Pretty, now, is an afterthought, as Andre Villas-Boas has deftly handled a team struggling to integrate a slew of new players while still getting the results necessary.

That's a dance similar to the one Roberto Martinez is pulling off at Everton, where he has overhauled the team's style of play in his first year there, while still keeping them in sixth place, one point back of Tottenham. His play is much more fluid and positive than the one employed by the departed David Moyes, and he's doing it without Maruoane Fellaini, who joined Moyes at Manchester United.

But while Martinez's Everton is more fluid than they have been in year's past, they haven't been more potent. Their six league goals is only one better than Spurs, leaving the Toffees with a similar question: are we playing pretty enough?

Everton don't have the same history of attacking play that Spurs have so they aren't in a situation where goals and looking pretty mean as much, but they will probably come away with the same answer as their North London opponent Sunday -- as long as the results keep coming.

Match date/time: Sunday, 1:30 p.m. local/10:30 a.m. ET

Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England

TV: CNBC (USA), Sky Sports 1 (UK), TSN2 (Canada)

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