Tottenham 1-0 Everton
Sunday 9 February 2014
A wonderful goal from Emmanuel Adebayor gave Tottenham a boost in the race for the Champions League as they beat Everton on Sunday. The Togolese forward’s goal was enough to get the win, in a fairly even game. That takes Spurs above The Toffees and into fifth place in the fight for the top four. Tim Sherwood’s men now trail Liverpool – who are in fourth place – by just three points.
Everton made a great start to the game at White Hart Lane with Leon Osman in the thick of the action. The English midfielder had four sights of the Tottenham goal inside the the first ten minutes of play. He showed lovely feet to create space and curl just wide of the post with his left foot, then brought the very best out of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a sweetly struck half volley, this time with his right foot after an excellent layoff from Stephen Naismith, the Frenchman doing very well to parry the ball away for a corner. Osman then headed just over from the subsequent corner.
A forth chance to give Everton a deserved lead fell to Osman but he could not take it, as he drove the ball straight at Lloris after more good work by Naismith. Spurs’ first real effort on goal came when Christian Eriksen hit his free kick just over the bar, rippling the top of the net. Everton very nearly created another chance through some great pressing, which was the hallmark of their first half display. Seamus Coleman was the next player to threaten the Spurs goal. The right back – who already has six goals in the league this season – went on a good run, cutting inside on his left foot but could not get enough power on the strike to really work Lloris.
Then Spurs created quite possibly the best chance of the half. An incredible ball in from Danny Rose on the left beat everyone but left Adebayor inches away from converting. Any touch would have been enough to take it past Howard and give Spurs the lead. Again the pressing from Everton lead to another chance. This time Kevin Mirallas was setting off on a great run but somewhat selfishly ignored Naismith (who was in a better position to the right) and blazed over from eighteen yards.
To sum up the first half, it was an excellent display from Roberto Martinez’s side who were playing without key target man Romelu Lakaku. Stephen Naismith was flung into an unfamiliar role as a makeshift centre forward and played very well, supported well by Mirallas, Osman, and Pienaar. Everton’s pressing was also having a major effect on the game by not allowing Tottenham to settle into any sort of pattern. Martinez would be happy with the performance but not the scoreline, as his side were full value for a lead at this point.
Tim Sherwood on the other hand would have probably felt the complete opposite. He would have been happy with the scoreline but looking for better in the second half of this key clash in the chase for the top four. The Tottenham boss got what he was looking for, as his side started the second half with the perfect response. His players worked harder, played with much more intensity, got the crowd into the game and forced a number of corners. Adebayor headed over from one of them when well placed after pulling away from his marker.
Then a good run by Kyle Walker nearly created a good opening but his cross was cut out at the near post. Andros Townsend then made his return, which I’m sure was greatly welcomed by Spurs and England Fans alike, after nine games out with hamstring trouble. Moments later Spurs went in front, after some quick thinking by Walker and Adebayor caught out the Everton backline with Distin playing Adebayor just onside. The centre forward showed excellent chest control, strength to brush aside Coleman and finished perfectly by putting the ball straight past Howard into the corner.
Tim Sherwood deserves a lot of credit as he clearly told his players a few home truths during the break, and made Everton pay for a first half that was – although good in terms of possession, pressing and creativity – wasteful in the most important factor, which is finishing. Roberto Martinez was clearly frustrated at his team’s second half effort and made all of his changes in a very short space of time, bringing off Pienaar, Naismith and Osman and replacing them respectively with Barkley, Deulofeu, and McGeady.
However, not a lot changed after that, with Hugo Lloris not having a real save to make in the second half. Everton will feel hard done by based on their first half display. They will also feel aggrieved by the injury time penalty they should have been awarded when Coleman was clearly caught by Etienne Capoue with ref Mark Clattenburg well placed. But Spurs, although not at their best by any means, produced a much better second half display and limited Everton to far fewer chances than in the first half. Tim Sherwood obviously made it clear how important this game was at half time, as the race for Champions League qualification hots up.
Man Of The Match: There were several good candidates in the first half for Everton, Naismith and Osman to name two. However, I’m going with Emmanuel Adebayor. His well taken goal proved to be the match winner.
Thanks for reading,