So long with the parallels to our October crisis. Tottenham Hotspur put up four goals in the first half against Stoke City on Sunday and cruised to an emphatic 4-0 victory. Harry Kane was magnificent throughout with a hat trick — including a ridiculous left-footed volley —and a sublime assist to Dele Alli to close out the scoring on the day. Yet the whole squad came out firing and squashed the poor run of form that had set in at the club. Boy does this current crop of players have Stoke’s number.
For the second straight season Spurs enter March in second place in the Premier League. This is a remarkable feat and shouldn’t go under-appreciated; we are in the midst of a special time at the club. Unlike last year though, the margin for error at the top of the table is slim. Spurs are just five points clear of sixth placed Manchester United and only three points ahead of fourth placed Arsenal for the Champions League spots. The title race with Leicester was gripping, but with seven strong teams jockeying for four spots, this season’s stretch run is arguably even more dramatic.
Tottenham must travel all the way back to the opening day of the 2016-17 season for the last time they faced Everton. To put things into perspective on how long ago that was, one Mr. Erik Lamela, coming off a tantalizing preseason, scored the equalizer in a decidedly fair draw. Everton was inconsistent in their play for large swaths of the season’s first half, yet their talent has never been in question, and their recent results have been fantastic. A 4-0 thumping of Manchester City, along with a 3-0 victory over Southhampton are intimidating recent results. December saw them hold their own against some of the league’s best as well with a narrow 1-0 defeat against Liverpool, a 1-1 draw to United, and a 2-1 triumph to Arsenal which once again proves that the Toffees are capable of knocking anybody in the Premier League off.
Everton are led by the tour de force that is Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian is entering his football prime and is on the cusp of being world-class. Few players in the world can match his combination of speed and strength, while his silky touch and finishing ability are tremendous as well. Their back four is healthy, smart, and stable and even more sturdy with the addition of Morgan Schneiderlin; a player Spurs have coveted since his Southhampton days. Tom Davies, an eighteen year old academy graduate has starred in midfield in Everton’s purple patch as well, and outside of Lukaku’s dominance and Schneiderlin’s transfer, this might be the biggest story of the Toffees’ season.
Tottenham would like to have this match, but Everton really need it. They’ve been solidly out of the top four for the majority of the season, yet if they want to challenge for European spots as the final quarter of the season approaches, they need to take points from fixtures like these. Spurs will do everything in their power to deny that ambition and maintain their lofty standing in the Premier League table.
How to Watch
Date/time: Sunday, 1:30 p.m. (UK), 8:30 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, London, UK
Official: Michael Oliver
TV: NBCSN (NBC Sports Live Extra) (USA), Sky Sports 1/HD, BBC Radio (UK), TSN2, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London,BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Team news was released today and it is encouraging, but nothing concrete was said. Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen, and Toby Alderweireld all picked up knocks last Sunday and none of them seem to be serious, yet none of these incredibly important players were given the full go ahead for Sunday. It is said they will be assessed after Saturday’s training. That said, with Spurs elimination from the Europa League and the removal of midweek fixtures, it looks likely that they will all feature on Sunday.
Danny Rose and Erik Lamela remain sidelined. The former “weeks” away from return and the latter not on a specific timetable.
I wasn’t sure if Poche would roll with the 3-4-3 against Stoke, but he did, and look what happened. As long as Dier, Alderweireld, and Vertonghen are healthy, this has to be the formation we trot out.
I am assuming that Kane, Toby, and Jan will start thus the starting eleven will go as follows: Dier, Alderweireld, and Vertonghen across the back three, flanked by Walker on the right and Ben Davies on the left. Victor and Moose will start in central midfield, with Dele and Eriksen playing above them, and the red hot Harry Kane up top.
Jake Meador and Brian Mechanick predicted a 1-1 draw for Spurs match against Stoke, while Earl of Shoop, getting his prediction right at death (directly before kickoff) foresaw a 1-0 defeat. Create a funny, witty, cool, and entertaining image about that you awesomely talented digital artist, you. The result brings Meador back to earth with many of his chief rivals gaining ground. Nobody picked a 4-0 victory, though Alex Greenberg’s 4-1 prediction came close. Twelve more matches to go!
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings
|Earl of Shoop||12|
Dustin Menno: Everton kicked us around in Liverpool, and they’re playing well. However, I like the formation and I like our defense. 1-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: I know we didn’t have the greatest February, but we seem to be bulletproof in the 3-4-3. If Janby & Kane are a go, I don’t see any reason to bet against Spurs and that lineup, no matter the form Everton are in. How good is Lukaku though! Spurs 2-1 in a tightly contested match.
Jake Meadow: Everton is in form and Lukaku is one of the best strikers in the league. 1-1 Draw.
GN Punk: This match will only be played between Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku like an Ironman Match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 13. Kane, of course, will play the role of HBK and score the only goal of the match in added time, then he superkicks Ronald Koeman for good measure. Spurs 1-0.
Skipjack: 3-2 Everton because why
Brian Mechanick: Lukaku is hot and Spurs are tired. I'm feeling a barnburner and a dodgy win. 3-2 Spurs.
Alex Greenberg: I'm over in London and am going to the game. If I can't get Millwall tickets, it'll be my last time ever at White Hart Lane. So we have to win, right? Right?! Spurs win 2-1.
Earl of Shoop: Three reasons we're going to win this weekend:
1) We're in that classic #Spurszone known as "Well it's a good thing we're out of Europe so now we can double down on the league." Look out, EPL.
2) I just saw "SEND NUDES" scrawled in snow on a bench outside my office. This can only be interpreted as a good omen.
3) Lukaku's due for an anonymous match... which would be great because - based on completely unreliable injury news - we might be fielding a defensive back line that includes William Gallas and Ryan Nelsen. You heard it here first. Spurs 3-1