With Harry Kane missing the match due to illness, Mauricio Pochettino opted to run out an attacking band of Lucas, Heung-Min Son, Dele and Christian Eriksen. Moussa Sissoko and Tanguy Ndombele were put into the pivot ahead of a back ling of Ben Davies, Davinson Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld and Serge Aurier. As expected, Paulo Gazzaniga started between the pipes.
To say that the first twenty minutes of this match was uneventful is an understatement. There was very little in the way of actual chances or dangerous moments. Sonny managed to get a shot off that was blocked and Aurier pumped a deep cross in not long after that was gathered by Pickford. After that? Just a lot of two-way traffic where nobody could put together an attacking moment.
The first shot on target went to Everton in the 33rd minute of the match as Digne found Richarlison about fifteen yards out. It took a wild turn and volley attempt to get the shot off and Gazzaniga had no problem making the easy save.
There wasn’t much else of note in the first half. Bad passes, stupid fouls and pointless running was the name of the game. For those of you scoring at home between the two teams, that was one shot on target, nine fouls, two yellow cards and a partridge in a pear tree.
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, no subs were made for the second stanza and we picked up right where we left off.
In the 52nd minute, Son took the ball into the penalty area and forced Yerry Mina to try an awkward tackle that forced him to ground and rolled up on Son’s leg. Martin Atkinson opted not to give the penalty, though the decision went to VAR. There was definitive contact but VAR ruled there was not enough to overturn Atkinson’s decision.
Spurs earned a free kick a couple of minutes later and ran a solid routine as Lucas fired a driving cross into the mixer. Davinson Sanchez came closest to getting on the end of it with a diving header but missed it by about a foot.
Everton almost got the first goal of the match in the 61st minute as Digne fed Richarlison in the penalty area. Sanchez attempted to block it but just missed it, allowing Richarlison to fire a one-time shot on target. Gazzaniga had to make a leaping save to get it, but he gathered it up to keep the match scoreless.
After over 60 minutes of dread, Spurs got their breakthrough. Alex Iwobi gave away one of the dumbest turnovers you’ll ever see to Son, who immediately fed Dele on a run. A couple of touches and a cool finish later, Spurs were on the board.
VAR made another appearance in the 71st minute as Everton claimed a hand ball against Dele. After a length review, it appeared that Dele got fouled and brought his arm up when the ball came in. Ultimately, no penalty was given and play resumed much to the chagrin of the home crowd at Goodison Park. Poch changed things up almost immediately after, bringing on Giovani Lo Celso for Tanguy Ndombele in the 73rd minute.
In the 80th minute, a horrific injury occurred to Everton midfielder Andre Gomes. Son came in on a harsh challenge that initially was given as a yellow card by Martin Atkinson, but changed to red not long after. The reaction by everyone around let us know the severity of the injury as it appeared Gomes broke his ankle. The replay was stopped just short of when the injury happened but it appeared that Gomes broke his ankle upon the planting after. It’s also unclear if VAR overturned the decision, but Sonny was sent off and Spurs were down to ten men. It also meant that Atkinson added on twelve minutes due to the lengthy VARs and the injury.
Ultimately, Spurs couldn’t keep the clean sheet for that long down a man. Mina found Digne on the left flank, allowing him to play a cross into the penalty area. Cenk Tosun got on the end of the cross and buried it into the back of the net, making it 1-1 with about five minutes to play.
Everton pushed for the winner and had a minor shout for another red card, this time against Sanchez for a denial of a goal scoring opportunity, but VAR said no card should be given.
The final minute was rather bizarre as Spurs had a possible odd-man break to get an equalizer, but instead opted to pull back just outside the penalty area with no shot opportunity. Atkinson, almost mercifully, brought the match to an end after a clearance to the other end.
Thoughts on the match
- I think this team has broken me. This season has been a nightmare and today’s performance did nothing to make me think otherwise.
- Tanguy Ndombele was the only guy I thought played well in the first half and he had a pretty solid day overall.
- I feel bad for Andre Gomes. That was a horrific injury and hopefully he makes a full recovery from it.
- There’s already debate going on whether Son deserved a red card in that situation because the replay showed Gomes actually got injured after the challenge when he planted his foot. Sonny’s challenge still caused the chain of events and I think that’s why Atkinson (or VAR?) went red. Spurs will likely appeal it and it will probably be denied but won’t be anything more than the three match ban a straight red brings.
- Christian Eriksen needs to sit, full stop. He was bad. That sub at 100 minutes to bring on Sessegnon for him was almost laughable when he should have been yanked at halftime.
- We only have more questions at this point after getting a point on the road to the 17th placed side.
- Sound off in the comments. A trip to Belgrade awaits this side mid-week in a crucial Champions League match.