Across all competitions, Tottenham Hotspur has eight wins through 13 matches this season, putting the club in solid position in both the Premier League (3rd) and its Champions League Group (1st). Despite these strong results, one thing Spurs have yet to do is win three straight contests — that could change on Saturday.
A win is certainly on the table as Everton comes to town. The Toffees are no longer relegation candidates, but their start to the season has been far from encouraging. Two weeks ago was the first time the club scored more than once in a match, coming in a narrow win over free-falling Southampton; that was followed up by a defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.
Spurs are still looking for a complete 90-minute performance themselves, but both wins over Brighton and Eintracht Frankfurt brought about more good than bad. With Heung-Min Son coming into form and Antonio Conte finally showing some flexibility, Tottenham is in good shape to keep the positive start going in the league.
Tottenham Hotspur (3rd, 20pts) vs. Everton (t-10th, 10pts)
Date: Saturday, October 15
Time: 12:30 pm ET, 5:30 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
TV: NBC (USA), Sky Sports Main Event (UK)
The advanced metrics are interesting for Everton, particularly on the defensive end. While xG (12th) confirms that this is a modest attack (8 goals, t-14th) which is not generating a ton of changes, there is no agreement on the other end: though the defense has allowed only nine goals in nine matches, an xGA of 14.9 is third-worst in the league.
Is Everton lucky or good, then? While the scorelines have been temperate, it is hard to believe that this is really a lockdown defense. Both United goals came from sharp counters, which Tottenham can certainly exploit as well, and pressuring the defenders exposes a key vulnerability. On paper this is another match with a clear talent gap, and while Everton might not be as dreadful as last season, there are plenty of issues that still remain.
Against Brighton, Conte finally went to the midfield three and it worked fine for the most part. Yves Bissouma was not perfect, but he is definitely worthy of getting some more minutes, and his role as the deepest-lying of the three only helps get Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur into more advanced positions that the squad has been missing.
However, expect the 3-4-3 to continue as it did in midweek. Richarlison is imperfect, but clearly this is Conte’s preferred setup, and if Dejan Kulusevski is healthy then it is nearly a guarantee that this is the formation used. That just puts more onus on both central midfielders, as well as whoever mans right wingback, to progress the ball well against a side that should not offer too much midfield resistance.
The Champions League takes a break next week, but the fixtures do not. Wednesday brings a trip to Old Trafford, followed by a visit from Newcastle on Sunday before a key date against Sporting soon after. That means the obtainable points are non-negotiable, so a win against Everton is the only acceptable outcome. With how Spurs have looked over the past week, this is a completely reasonable ask.