The early round of the FA Cup generally involves a large amount of banana-skin avoidance for the Premier League teams, so regardless of the level of performance, it was a job well done to dispatch Tamworth with very little fuss.
Alas though, Evertonâ€™s seasons tend to run parallel with the course of true love, rarely smooth. Progression in the cup was secured but at a cost. Seamus Coleman is the latest injury to join the growing hoard on the sideline and though just one player, with so many important players already missing from an already thin squad, every injury now will be more keenly felt.
David Moyes can still put out a team good enough to go to White Hart Lane and get a positive result but a few more big injuries without new additions being acquired in January and things will start to get tricky.
There are some real positives from an Everton point of view. Firstly their recent record at the Lane. In their last five league games there the Blues have won three, drawn one and lost one. So thatâ€™s a good sign. Then thereâ€™s their opwn away record this season which has been better than their away form. The difference is marginal but thatâ€™s all it can take. Finally Harry Redknapp, despite the greater resources at his disposal, is just as vulnerable to untimely injuries and with Gallas and Sandro joining King and Parker on the treatment table, the Londoners have a lost a lot of the defensive steal which has seen them develop the consistency theyâ€™ve distinctly lacked in recent seasons. At the other end Jermaine Defoe has been doing well with a goal in each of the last two games, however the cockney-Sisco has never been a reliable source of goals and though he has scored against Everton before, he hasnâ€™t yet done it for Spurs. Adebayor is the one Distin and Hibbert will have to keep an eye on.
There were some promising signs against Tamworth. Royston Drenthe did well when he came on, winning the penalty and, presuming he has no fitness issues, he should start against Spurs. If he does then expect him to react positively to the atmosphere and pressure of playing one of the top sides. The Dutchman is 16/1 to score first and 6/1 to score anytime. Landon Donovan again came close to reopening his Everton goalscoring account and heâ€™s a decent bet at 11/1 to score first and 7/2 to score anytime.
Louis Saha hasnâ€™t been at his best of late but heâ€™s staying fit which is a start. The striker has scored against Spurs in the past and his pace could cause problems for the home sideâ€™s patched up defence, particularly on the counter attack. Saha is 9/1 to score first.
Everton will certainly need to improve on their last few showings and the freedom of not really being expected to get anything will give the players the freedom to do just that. History is only an indicator of how things might go but looking at Evertonâ€™s recent visits to White Hart Lane, thereâ€™s reason to feel good about backing them to win at 11/2, with a scoreline along the lines of 2-1 at 17/1.
The draw at 11/4may be the more sensible bet but given the areas of the Spurs team affected by their injuries, the Londoners will have a soft underbelly and if Everton can expose it they could pick up their fourth league win in six visits against a team still very much in the title race.
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