Tottenham Hotspur have a lot of work to do if they're going to catch Liverpool (or someone else) for a top four place, but they took a huge step towards qualifying for some kind of European competition on Saturday, posting a 1-0 victory over top seven rivals Everton. With Romelu Lukaku out and Ross Barkley only available as a substitute, the Toffees lacked quality up front and failed to turn their solid defending and midfield play into goals.
Everton did get off to an impressive start, however, and were the much better team in the opening 10 minutes. Leon Osman had four shots in the first eight minutes, with the middle two being excellent chances. He had a stinging volley from the edge of the box stopped by Hugo Lloris, then hit a shot that he should have scored with right into Lloris' stomach not long after.
From there, Spurs settled down and started to control possession, though they struggled to create chances. Spurs' best opportunity came from an early Danny Rose cross that Emmanuel Adebayor nearly reached, but it sailed an inch past his outstretched foot and out for a goal kick. Despite Spurs' decent play in the last 35 minutes of the first half, they didn't managed to test Tim Howard.
The early second half was more of the same, though Everton seemed to get more conservative and allow Spurs some space as the half went on. Nothing much appeared to be happening until the 65th minute, when Spurs created an excellent goal out of absolutely nothing. Kyle Walker found Adebayor with a quick free kick that Spurs' center forward chested down and touched away from a defender before beating Howard with a low blast to the near post with his left foot, putting his team ahead.
Despite late pushes by Everton, they never came particularly close to equalizing, and there weren't any great chances for either team after the goal. Everton and Spurs combined for just 19 shots and four on target in the entire match.
- That was a weird game for Adebayor. I thought he was pretty poor for most of it. Then BOOM GOAL.
- Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen were highlights for me.
- Nabil Bentaleb is a good passer, but he doesn't appear to know how to play DM.
- Can Erik Lamela please magically get healthy? Aaron Lennon is in awful form.
- Vlad Chiriches is a decent player, but if he's Michael Dawson's partner instead of Vertonghen, we're down 2-0 in the first half. Michael Dawson was bad and needed everyone else to clean up after him.
- WE WON AT HOME
- AGAINST A GOOD TEAM