Tottenham 3-2 Everton

Brief Summary…
A disappointing performance from the Blues saw their nine-game unbeaten run come to an end and the White Hart Lane hoodoo continue thanks to a super strike from Kane and two defensive errors.

After the excitement at the O2 on Saturday night where Blues fanatic Tony Bellew upset the odds in knocking out David Haye, Evertonians travelled to the capital hoping his performance would help inspire the Blues to a much overdue victory at White Hart Lane.

Both teams in terrific form with the hosts looking for a ninth home win on the bounce and the Blues looking to extend a nine-game unbeaten run, and close the gap on sixth place.

Ronald Koeman selected a strong side of: Robles, Baines, Funes Mori, Williams, Coleman, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Barry (C), Barkley, Davies and Lukaku. The selection of a four-man midfield being seen as an indication that RK saw that as the vital area to control and dictate the game from, something he confirmed in his pre-game TV interview.

Mauricio Pochettino set Spurs up in a 3-4-3 formation: Lloris, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Walker, Wanyama, Dembele, Davies, Eriksen, Alli and Kane.

The man in the middle was Michael Oliver.

Two early chances for Lukaku to stretch his legs saw Alderweireld and Vertonghen respectively win the challenges before Walker went over Baines in the box looking for a penalty that wasn’t awarded.

On a sunny afternoon, Spurs were quickly into their rhythm with some neat passing moves and playing a high defensive line to counteract the long ball forward to release Lukaku.

Everton responded with a Barkley cross from the wide left and a great through ball from RFM that nearly gave Tom Davies a chance to shoot.

Out of nothing in the 20th minute, Spurs took the lead. Harry Kane received the ball out on the wide left, controlled it and cut inside some thirty yards out, looked up, strode forward and fired a 25-yarder that even the 6ft 4ins Joel Robles couldn’t reach diving at full length.

Everton survived another Kane chance moment later as he jinked inside the box and hit the body of Robles with Eriksen blazing the rebound over the bar.

Walker and Alli then combined down the right to find Kane in the penalty area, but Robles again made the save from close range. Spurs were beginning to dominate and another through ball from Walker saw Eriksen slide a daisy-cutter narrowly wide of Robles right hand post.

RFM got a stiff talking too from the referee for a rather agricultural challenge on Kane, and from the resulting free kick by Eriksen, Kane couldn’t find the telling touch due to the close attention of Williams.

The weather changed and sunshine was replaced by a deluge of rain, and Gana Gueye was booked to add to the Blues troubles in containing a confident Spurs.

A moment of respite saw a good surge forward involving Lukaku and Davies end with Barkley firing in a right wing cross that Lloris palmed to safety. A chip into the box from Barry proved just too strong for both Lukaku and Coleman arriving at the back post.

Barkley worked hard to put Walker under pressure and win a corner, but disappointingly nothing worthwhile ensued.

As the sunshine returned in the lead up to half time, Everton appeared to have ridden the Spurs storm and Tom Davies was unlucky to be adjudged offside when collecting a ball from Coleman.

Spurs led at the break courtesy of the fine strike by Kane, but the Blues had regained some composure and would surely look to make tactical changes over a slice of orange and cup of tea.

Half Time: 1-0.

No changes by either manager during the interval and no immediate change as Spurs settled quickly.

A crunching tackle by Coleman on Davies was somewhat harshly adjudged as a foul despite no appeals from Spurs.

A nice move begun by RFM saw Gueye swing in a right wing cross that Spurs cleared, but it was a promising sign that Spurs could be got at, and with barely five minutes of the second stanza played, Mirallas and McCarthy appeared on the touchline to warm up.

Vertonghen played a nice one-two and surged forward to test Robles on his near post with a stinging shot. From the corner, Wanyama was unable to get a telling header onto a cross from Eriksen.

A calamitous error by Robles saw Spurs double their lead, as his roll-out pass put Schneiderlin and Williams under needless pressure from Alli and Kane was on hand to take advantage of the loose ball and sweep home for two-nil on 56 minutes.

Just past the hour mark, Mirallas and McCarthy prepared to join the fray and the changes saw Tom Davies and Gareth Barry replaced on 64 minutes.

Lukaku and Barkley combined to send Coleman into the box, but his cross was smothered easily by Lloris at his near post.

A tremendous and much-needed strong tackle by RFM denied the rampaging Vertonghen a shot on goal as Spurs looked to put the game to bed. And when the Blues got forward next, it was Vertonghen in his primary role dealing comfortably with the threat.

Dembele was rightly booked for bringing down Coleman on the edge of the box as the Irishman marauded down the right onto a pass from Schneiderlin but once again, the free kick yielded nothing to raise Evertonian spirits.

Spurs withdrew Dembele for Winks on 77 minutes before Williams deflected a Kane volley for a corner to the home side.

Everton breathed life into the late stages as Romelu Lukaku worked his way past Vertonghen who slipped in being beaten, and the ace Belgian striker made no mistake in beating Lloris low to his right hand side with ten minutes of normal time to play.

Enner Valencia promptly came on for Gana as Ronald Koeman sought to apply some late pressure on the home defence.

Robles made a crucial block to deny Kane a second successive hat-trick and keep the game alive before Lukaku again tested Lloris this time from the left hand side.

A moment of confusion between Lloris and his defence almost saw Valencia capitalise on a long ball, before Kane was subbed off for Janssen as the four minutes of added time was signalled, and the rain returned.

Most annoyingly, the Blues defence went totally to sleep as a free kick from the left flank saw Alli drift in unmarked beyond RFM to get the telling touch to restore the two-goal lead.

The Blues though bit straight back to silence the home crowd as a long ball into the box found Enner Valencia and he steered the ball home make it 3-2.

Final Score: 3-2.

Final analysis.

In all honestly, the scoreline somewhat flattered the Blues as for long periods, Spurs were dominant and in Harry Kane, they have a striker of true quality.

Everton, if we’re brutally honest, didn’t look up for the game and at times looked laboured and even lethargic against a side full of confidence and keen to keep their pressure on leaders Chelsea.

The inclusion of Gareth Barry, for all his experience, proved to be something a tactical error, and the change of McCarthy for Barry probably should have happened at half time. Setting up to contain Spurs never looked likely to work and so it transpired.

One bright note for the Blues was the composure of Romelu Lukaku in scoring late on to set a new club scoring record in the Premier League era.

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