The promise was that Ange Postecoglou would make Tottenham Hotspur fun again after four seasons of dreadful football, and it is hard to argue that has not be the case so far. The warning was that it might take a while for the results to follow, but even with some (understandable) downswings, Spurs supporters seemed poised to have their cake and eat it too.
Wednesday’s victory bumps Tottenham back into a tie for fourth place, with oddsmakers preferring the Lilywhites to Villa to finish there. Given that fifth is likely to also be sufficient for a Champions League spot, it is quite impressive that Postecoglou has been able to implement his aggressive, unrelenting style so quickly while also achieving objective success.
Spurs look to keep it rolling on Saturday at Goodison Park. Everton has cooled dramatically, going winless in its past five, starting with a 2-1 loss at the new Lane before Christmas. That match saw Richarlison score, as he has in six of his past seven outings, as well as Heung-Min Son, who of course is still absent. For once, though, Postecoglou can feel pretty confident in his remaining alternatives.
Everton (18th, 18pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (t-4th, 43pts)
Date: Saturday, February 3
Time: 7:30 am ET, 12:30 pm UK
Location: Goodison Park, Liverpool
TV: USA Network (USA), TNT Sports 1 (UK)
As mentioned, it has been a tough month for Everton. It has not be easy by any means with fixtures against Spurs, City, and Villa, but the Toffees now sit in the relegation zone thanks to the points deduction. The big challenge has been scoring, with just two goals over these five matches, though the past two contests have both ended 0-0 so at least the defense has done its job.
The reverse fixture in North London looked comfortable for a while with both Spurs goals coming in the first 20 minutes, but ended quite stressful after a late Everton goal. This was a bit of an anomaly with Spurs typically conceding first before trying to come back — scoring first on the road will be priority given the Toffees’ likelihood of shutting down should they go ahead.
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The first half struggles against Brentford made Son’s absence feel even more pronounced, but halftime changes showed off the surprising depth of attackers on the roster. In addition to Richarlison’s excellent form, Timo Werner has looked great in both of his appearances, Brennan Johnson got on the scoresheet (and assisted last time against Everton), and Dejan Kulusevski has been productive in multiple roles.
Even without Son there does not seem to be enough starting spots for everyone, but this is a nice problem to have. Postecoglou continues to command an aggressive side regardless of score line or personnel, and Spurs will have their work cut out for them again against a bottom-table side looking to clog up the box. It feels like Richarlison is an obvious highlight given his form and the narrative, but he is the unique option amongst this group of attackers and the most likely to score.