Here’s the most important thing you can say about Everton as they prepare to host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League this Sunday: they are rested, Spurs are not. The Toffees are coming off of an 8-day layover, and are expected to have both Richarlison and Andre Gomes available to play after both missed training sessions earlier in the week.
Tottenham, by contrast, just played their second North London Derby in a month on Wednesday, and will be playing with only two days’ rest from now until 2019. Say what you want about any difference in quality between Spurs and Everton — and the gap has perhaps closed a bit this season — the Toffees will have had more time to prepare for Spurs than the other way around.
Statistically, Everton are the same as they’ve always been, even under new manager Marco Silva. They are eighth in the table in both points and xG. They’re seventh in goals allowed, sixth in shots/game, 5th in shots-allowed/game. They’re tricky without being frightening, better than the mid-table but nowhere close to the top four or five teams in the league. They have a puncher’s chance against any team in the top six, but their biggest result to date is a scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge. Sunday’s match will be their first home match against the top six this season.
In other words, they are perfectly, wonderfully Everton, despite everything.
But they do have some weapons. Richarlison, whom Silva brought from his old club, Watford, is a dangerous attacker from wide positions and has eight goals this season. Former Hotspur Gylfi Sigurdsson is second with 6 goals, and has an xG90+xA90 of .56. Even Barcelona loanee Andre Gomes, whom Spurs were linked to over the summer, is starting to emerge and play well in the center of midfield.
Spurs are a better team than Everton and have historically had good results against the Toffees — Spurs have won their last three in the league and haven’t lost to Everton since 2012. But again, Everton are rested and Spurs emphatically are not. Might that be the difference between a Spurs win and a draw?
How will Tottenham line up against Everton?
If I’m honest, I have no idea what Mauricio Pochettino will do starting today and going onward into the congested holiday fixtures. I wish I did. Pochettino has repeatedly said that thanks to the raft of injuries plaguing Spurs’ side that he will use his whole roster. I don’t know if that will include players like Georges-Kevin N’Koudou in non-Tranmere fixtures, but rotation is a necessity to keep everyone at least from having their legs fall off before the new year.
The bad news is that Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama, and Mousa Dembele remain on the injury list. Vertonghen and Dier are out until January at the earliest, and we have no idea when Moose or Vic will return. The good news is that Juan Foyth and Davinson Sanchez should be rotating back into the squad shortly, and I think we’ll see Ben Davies moving back to left back and Foyth coming in his place on Sunday.
Spurs currently have three healthy central midfielders — Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, and Oliver Skipp. Considering Winks and Sissoko both played against Arsenal, I predict Skippy will partner Sissoko in the midfield diamond — Skippoko, if you will. That’s canon now, I don’t make the rules.
With Kane rested partially on Wednesday, I predict he starts against Everton, with Dele, Eriksen, and Lamela behind him. Sonny starts on the bench.
That’s my prediction for Tottenham’s starting lineup against Everton. What’s yours?