Spurs see off Toffees in N17 thriller

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Report

Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Everton 

In a thrilling, end-to-end encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Spurs held on to beat Everton 2-1 to move up into fourth place in the FA Premier League but it will be the Toffees – following a raft of missed chances throughout the game – who will certainly be left pondering how they managed to come away from the game pointless.

Defeat for Everton saw their four-match winning run ended abruptly and leaves them now just four points clear of the relegation zone. 

With both Yves Bissouma and Destiny Udogie suspended, Ange Postecoglou brought Oliver Skipp and Emerson Royal into the starting line-up as the only two changes from the side that defeated Nottingham Forest 2-0 at the City Ground last Friday.

Following Everton’s 2-0 win at Burnley last Saturday, Sean Dyche brought in Vitalli Mykolenko, Jarrad Braithwaite and Idrissa Gueye to replace Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey and Idrissa Gueye.

Tottenham began nervously in the opening minutes of the game and it was only a last-ditch tackle from Cristian Romero with Dominic-Calvert Lewin bursting through on goal that denied the England striker the opportunity to finish from just inside the six-yard box, with Spurs starting to look more assured as the game progressed, they took the lead following a superbly worked team effort – with Pepe Matar Sarr threading the ball through for Brennan Johnson to set up former Everton striker Richarlison to strike the ball past Jordan Pickford for his fourth goal in his last three matches – and make it 1-0.

The North Londoners had a great chance to double the lead in the fourteenth minute only for Johnson to miss what should have been a regulation tap-in following Emerson Royal’s cross but with Spurs dominating and totally in the ascendency, just shortly after Dejan Kulusevski played a short corner into Johnson, who’s opportunist effort was pushed into the path of skipper Heung-Min Son by Pickford and despite slightly mis-hitting his shot, the South Korean finished with ease to make it 2-0.

Despite Tottenham knocking the ball around with purpose and fluidity, Everton started establishing more of a foothold back into the game in the final minutes before the break with Guglielmo Vicario saving well twice from James Garner before denying Calvert-Lewin and then Jack Harrison in stoppage time. 

Everton thought they had pulled one back just after the resumption when substitute Andre Gomes dispossessed Emerson Royal to play in Calvert-Lewin to slot the ball home past Vicario. Following a review by VAR, referee Stuart Attwell disallowed the ‘goal’ when it was ruled that the Brazilian had been fouled by what certainly appeared to have been an overly robust challenge by Gomes.

Just after the hour mark, Everton went within a whisker of scoring when Garner’s strike from inside the box brushed the left post as the game flowed from end to end at a frantic pace.

With Everton unable to clear their lines, Kulusevski fashioned a wonderful opportunity for himself wide on the left – cutting inside and unleashing a fine low effort that Pickford did exceptionally well to get down to and push around the post to safety. 

Gomes made it 2-1 in the eighty-second minute when following a corner, the Portuguese midfielder lashed home an unstoppable drive past Vicario to set up a nail-biting finish and Everton were most unfortunate not to equalise almost immediately after the goal when Arnault Danjuma’s powerful effort was acrobatically denied by Vicario with the Spurs stopper spectacularly tipping the ball over the crossbar at full stretch.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, following the breakdown of a Spurs attack, Everton broke quickly only for James Tarkowski’s header to be nodded off the line by Ben Davies before Vicario kept out Danjuma’s volley out with his thigh just after the former Spurs winger’s shot had struck the crossbar.

Without a doubt, Everton will put together far worse performances than today’s and emerge victorious but, in the end, it proved to be Tottenham’s day and they will be delighted to have come away having won a game they could – and probably should – have lost.

Next up for Spurs is a trip to the Amex Stadium to play Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday, December 28 (7.30pm).

Tottenham Hotspur: Vicario, Skipp, Son (Capt) Richarlison (Hojbjerg 63’) Emerson Royal, Romero (Dier 46’) Kulusevski, Johnson, Porro, Sarr (Lo Celso 73’) Davies Subs not used: Forster, Gil, Phillips, Veliz, Donley, Dorrington

Everton: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski (Capt) McNeil, Onana (Gomes Betuncal 79’) Calvert-Lewin, Harrison (Danjuma 66’) Mykolenko, Gueye (Andre Gomes 24’) Branthwaite, Garner Subs not used: Virginia, Lonergan, Keane, Godfrey, Chermiti, Hunt

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Assistants: Richard West and James Mainwaring

Fourth Official: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 61,808