On a slick, drizzly Sunday which saw long-time Spurs favorite Aaron Lennon start against Spurs, Tottenham Hotspur earned a point in a thrilling 1-1 draw against the Toffees at Goodison Park.
The match started brightly for Spurs with them dominating play for the entirety of the first twenty minutes. Spurs first chance came in the 4th minute when Kyle Walker ripped a low cross across the face of Everton's six yard box to a late charging run by Dele Alli whose run to the far post was denied by a sliding block from Seamus Coleman.
The biggest opportunity of the early stages came five minutes later when Harry Kane, with a tiny bit of space, nonchalantly blasted a 25 yard dig that careened off the inside of Everton's left post.
Everton continued to not have a sniff of the ball until AZZA happened. In the 22nd minute the Toffees played a diagonal ball over the top of the Spurs defense to Romelu Lukaku. The big target forward won the ball in the air and layed it off perfectly to an oncoming Aaron Lennon. Our beloved former number seven took the ball down, and promptly hit a smashing half-volley that rocketed itself into the upper left corner of the Tottenham net, to give Everton the 1-0 lead.
However stunned Tottenham must have been, they didn't show it. Spurs continued to marshal the game and Ben Davies' strike almost leveled the match in the 30th minute. Off a set play from a corner kick, Tottenham played a low driven cross across the semi circle of Everton's box to Davies left foot. His strike was so powerful, it must have put a crack in the crossbar it smacked off the underside and came out.
Seamus Coleman picked up a yellow card in the 35th minute, while Lukaku nearly went through on a breakaway before being called offside in the 41st minute.
Spurs breakthrough came right before the half when Toby Alderweireld played 45 yard ball directly over the top of Everton's defense to a flashing Dele Alli. Spurs' young prodigy took the ball down with his chest at the top of the Toffees' box and drove a low, clinical strike past Tim Howard to level the match. The first half ended 1-1
The second half was a much more even affair. The first five minutes of the second half saw Everton take charge as they applied pressure on the Tottenham defense. This culminated in a foul by Erik Lamela on Ross Barkley thirty-five yards from goal. Leighton Banes ensuing free kick failed to trouble Spurs.
The 52nd ad 58th minutes saw carbon copy attacking play by the Lilywhites. In the 52nd minute Ben Davies played a diagonal ball from the left side of midfield to Dele Alli, who chested the ball in the path of pacing Harry Kane. Harry Kane got his shot off eight yards from goal, but was denied by superb defending from John Stones. Six minutes later Alderweireld played Dele Alli in again, who then flicked a header on for Harry Kane to pressure the Everton defense for second time.
In the 69th minute Erik Lamela tussled with Seamus Coleman and received a yellow card. While the foul itself didn't merit a card, the amount of infringements that Lamela amassed over the course of the game forced a warning from the referee. Heung-Min Son entered the game for Christian Eriksen at this time too.
The next ten minutes saw fluid, but disjointed football from both sides resulting in few quality chances. The game changed in favor of Everton in the 79th minute. Tom Carroll attempted to push on a high clearance from Jan Vertonghen, only to see his header land in the path of Muhammed Besic. The substitute struck a dipping volley that forced Hugo Lloris into a top notch upper hand save to push the ball over the crossbar. On the ensuing corner kick Ramiro Funes Mori found space and got a strong header on the cross, only to push the ball wide of the Tottenham goal.
In the 83rd minute Nacer Chadli replaced Dele Alli, who looked like he picked up a slight knock, and in the 88th minute Josh Onomah came on for Erik Lamela. In the midst of these substitutions, Everton controlled play without creating opportunities as strong as those of Besic and Funes Mori.
Stoppage time was frenetic, breathless, and utterly entertaining. Both sides took turns pushing for the game-winner without success. Romelu Lukaku was found twice in forward positions on the break, while Nacer Chadli and Son both had the ball at their feet in dangerous transitions.
A second half which saw Everton create the better chances, the 1-1 draw turned out to be a fair result.
- Spurs absolutely destroyed Everton in the first twenty minutes and could have easily had two, maybe three, goals. You felt that it could be an epic day for the Tottenham Hotspur attack.
- Why didn't Christian Eriksen take the free kick in the 18th minute over Erik Lamela? Seriously, I know Lamela is in form, but he needs to be hitting those every time without question.
- This Toby Alderweireld long ball to a running Dele Alli for goals is kind of a cool thing. This should continue.
- How ridiculous is Alderweireld at pinging the balls from the back? We have sang his praises on this site, but it can't be understated how awesome he has been. He adds an entire extra layer to our attack.
- Romelu Lukaku is a handful, but Spurs did an excellent job containing him. He had the assist on the Lennon goal, but was held under control for the vast majority of the match.
- Of course Everton's goal had to come off of an 18-yard half-volley by Aaron Lennon. Are you kidding me?
- The more even second half had less to do with Tottenham being bad and more to do with Everton stepping up their game. With the amount of chances Spurs created in the first half, we probably should have had more than one goal. That said, with Everton's second half efforts, the result wasn't entirely unfair.
- Tom Carroll had a mediocre performance today. His ball playing was horrendous and he almost gifted Besic the game-winner, even though his press and defending were mostly good. He's been great off the bench but hasn't really taken his chances when he starts.