The winless streak was bound to end after some decent showings even in defeat, and indeed Tottenham Hotspur has made it two in two with hopes of more to close out the year. Even with that drop-off, Spurs are still part of the five clubs bunched at the top of the table and can feel good about their first half of the year.
For Everton, the emotions are even more positive. This was a club that entered the season with legitimate relegation fears after three-straight finishes of 16th and 17th, and then received a 10-point deduction for profit and sustainability rules violations on top of that. It seemed like this could be the year that the Toffees finally were unable to stay afloat.
Then, something incredible happened. Everton has won five of the last six, keeping four clean sheets in a row. While the table shows the club just 16th (seven points ahead of the relegation zone), the reality is that a 8-2-7 record is good enough for ninth place currently, level with Brighton and four points ahead of Chelsea.
This is an interesting one for Spurs. Clearly the visitors are in great form, but Tottenham will still be the favorite and has not looked too shabby itself recently. This is not the ideal time to meet Everton, but top clubs have to find ways to win regardless of how well their opponents are playing, and that is the case on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur (5th, 33pts) vs. Everton (16th, 16pts)
Date: Saturday, December 23
Time: 10:00 am ET, 3:00 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
TV: Peacock Premium (USA)
Everton has not really been that dominant over the past month, yet the wins keep coming. The side is seemingly allergic to possession but is not giving up a ton of chances, while also being more clinical on the other end of the pitch to make it count. The result is an organized defensive outfit that is scoring enough to find success.
Whether or not this is sufficient to topple Spurs remains to be seen. Everton will be without Abdoulaye Doucoure, who has goals in two of the his last three, while Ashley Young and Vitaliy Mykolenko are questionable to feature as well. Tottenham has plenty of its own absences, including Yves Bissouma yet again, but the home side should feel more comfortable with its bench.
Lilywhite Spotlight: Richarlison resurgence
The suspension of Bissouma (and health of Brennan Johnson) means Dejan Kulusevski is probably back in midfield, which likely secures Richarlison in the starting XI. After a forgettable first season at Spurs, the Brazilian is now averaging 0.51 G/90 this season, which is on pace to be the highest of his career.
There could be some regression for him ahead, but this output seems convincing enough for Ange Postecoglou to trust his front three, regardless of if it is Johnson or Kulusevski next to Richarlison and Heung-Min Son. The absence of Harry Kane is still felt, but having his ostensible replacement get more and more involved is going to be huge over this stretch. Look for an extra spark from the former Everton forward against his former club.