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Everton Vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 2012 Premier League: Preview, No Longer The Same

Spurs' last match against Everton went well
Spurs' last match against Everton went well

Tottenham and Everton used to be the same. They were both well off from the big team(s) in their city, but they were still teams competing for spots in the top half of the table and in an exceptional year they might even be able to compete for a Champions League place. Both clubs also had fan bases that were more associated with bigger clubs, but there was one difference between them. The Toffees were supposed to be there and Spurs weren't.

Everton were in the top half without spending wildly. David Moyes built his team without many big names and that has especially been the case of late. Meanwhile, Spurs were spending big. It didn't result in a ton of great results, but the spending was there. If only the club could put it together.

Finally, Spurs have put it together. It started two years ago and ever since the club has been on a very different level than Everton. David Moyes knows it too.

"Tottenham and Everton were trying to compete and up to a year or so ago we were the only team who had managed to break into the top four and got into the Champions League,'' Moyes said.

"Tottenham did it two years ago and look like they are going to do it again.

When the two teams met two months ago, the hap between the two clubs was clear. The Toffees did not have a shot on goal and never really put Tottenham under any real pressure because Spurs had two-thirds of the possession. It was the match that made Spurs a title contender.

Tottenham wasn't a title contender for long and they certainly aren't now. That 2-0 win over Everton back in January was one of the high points of the season, but this isn't a high point. Consecutive losses have cut their lead for third place to just four points and all of a sudden, Spurs don't look so formidable.

Luckily for Spurs, Everton don't look so formidable either. They have lost as many as they have won at Goodison Park this season and while they are getting close to fully fit with Phil Jagielka, Victor Anichebe and Leon Osman all likely to return to action, Steven Pienaar cannot place as part of his loan and that's a major blow to a team with the second-fewest goals in the league.

Because Everton presents so little threat going forward, Spurs could go with a very attacking lineup. The absence of Aaron Lennon hurts that, but they could still do it. They could also play to their own strength and start three central midfielders considering the fabulous form that Scott Parker, Luka Modric, Jake Livermore and Sandro have all been in. Options are fun.

Whatever Spurs decide to do, this is a match they are looking to get three points out of, not just any result. As their gap on Arsenal continues to shrink, draws won't do it anymore. It's been a day short of a month since Spurs won a league match. That's long enough, thanks.

Everton vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Game Date/Time: Saturday, March 10, 12:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. local

Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England

TV: Fox Soccer Channel (USA English), Fox Deportes (USA Spanish), Sportsnet (Canada), ESPN UK (UK)