Holy crap. I'm pumped.
Can someone find me a person who doesn't think this is going to be a cracking game? A boring 0-0 where no one attacks? An inept display of crap football? There's no way.
Maybe I'm just inventing this fake reality in my head because I want so badly for this to be an awesome game, but the evidence is there. Spurs should be jacked after Gareth Bale's one man wrecking machine performance in the second half against Inter Milan. Everton will be jacked after their Merseyside derby victory over Liverpool. It's going to be fun.
Rafael van der Vaart didn't start vs. Inter Milan due to suspension, so he should be completely fresh. It will be interesting to see who is sacrificed in his place. Luka Modric was subbed out early because of the red card to Gomes, so he should be fresh as well. It seems that the logical man to sacrifice would be Jermaine Jenas, but I'm not convinced that Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Modric, and van der Vaart can play on the same field.
Well, of course they can, but this depends on Modric remaining disciplined and playing the more box-to-box role that he effectively played last season on a couple of occasions, most effectively against Chelsea. Generally, him and van der Vaart try to occupy the same space, leaving a lot of clutter in the middle and hanging Tom Huddlestone out to dry when the opposition counter-attacks.
The best news for Spurs is probably the long injury list that Everton is dealing with, especially in the midfield. Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman, Maroune Fellaini, Jack Rodwell, John Heitinga, and Steven Pineaar are all out injured, leaving some difficult decisions for David Moyes.
Tim Cahill is probably going to have to play a deeper role than he usually does, with Jose Baxter seemingly being one of the most logical replacements for injured players. Baines could step up to the left wing, since Diniyar Bilyaletdinov might have to move into the center because of injuries. Or maybe Moyes will throw two strikers up top. Is Jermaine Beckford really a better option than Jose Baxter? I don't think so. Does Mahaye Gueye get a start? Hard to believe. If he goes with two strikers, does that leave Bily in the middle with Baines on the left wing or Bily on the left with Baxter slightly out of position in the center of midfield? Could Phil Neville move to the center of midfield?Richard Farley, the SBNation Soccer front page editor, suggested to me that Phil Jagielka could step up and play defensive midfield. But who plays center back then, Shkodran Mustafi? This is a clusterf*ck. I'm so confused.
So, this certainly sets up for Spurs to be favorites. Seriously, if we can't dominate this midfield, we're not as good as we think we are. Regardless, Tim Howard is a great shot stopper, Everton have a talented defense, and Tim Cahill is a monster who can score at any time. We can't take this game lightly just because Everton have injuries, and I don't think we will.
Tactically, David Moyes is at an inherent advantage in this match despite his injury problems, just because there's no way Harry Redknapp can have any idea what Moyes is going to do. I guess this would be relevant if Harry thought tactics were relevant. Nevermind, this paragraph is pointless.
So, let's try to predict this Everton lineup.
*Puts on hazmat suit*
Projected Everton lineup (4-4-2): Howard / Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Hibbert / Bilyaletdinov, Neville, Cahill, Coleman / Beckford, Yakubu
Projected Tottenham Hotspur lineup (4-4-1-1): Gomes / Assou-Ekotto, Bassong, Gallas, Hutton / Bale, Modric, Huddlestone, Lennon / van der Vaart / Crouch
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Everton. Yep, another one of those.