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Match Report: Tottenham 2-0 Everton (Spurs Fan's Perspective)

Thursday 12th January 2012
Spurs finally hosted Everton in what would have been their opening fixture in August. This match had huge potential to impact on the seasons of both clubs. For Everton, it was a chance to move back into the top half and solidify the gap between them and the other lower mid table teams. It was a huge opportunity for Spurs too; a chance to move to equal second, just three points behind the leaders.

Everton named a more attacking line-up than expected. Saha partnered Anichebe and they were supported by Bilyaletdinov and Donovan on the wings and a returning Tim Cahill. Spurs were able to name Aaron Lennon for a first Premier League appearance since December 18th. This allowed Spurs to adopt a balanced formation and attack from both flanks. Dawson also made a welcome return from injury and was a calm presence beside the impressive Kaboul.

Spurs dominated possession in the early exchanges but made few chances of note. Luka Modric looked particularly sharp, moving the ball around and maintaining the pressure on Everton's defence.He made 20 more accurate passes than average (79 to 59), and ran with the ball more often than usual. Modric is at his best when he is willing to run. By shifting the ball, he forces the defence to move out of position and expose gaps. His combination with the superb Van der Vaart pulled Fellaini and Cahill away from the back four and allowed Bale and Adebayor to run Everton's injury depleted backline. Eventually, a long diagonal ball from Assou-Ekotto found Lennon who wrong-footed Baines and slipped a simple finish beyond Tim Howard. Baines was below his usual marauding best as he was pegged back by Lennon for much of the match. In the second half, Spurs made more chances but Everton also looked dangerous. A Benoit Assou-Ekotto thunderbolt settled the matter in the 63rd minute. The fullback fired in from a full 30 yards.

Despite the absence of Parker and Sandro, Spurs' midfield was in good hands. Jake Livermore was busy distributing possession and protecting the backline. His 76/77 successful passes and eight successful tackles/possession duels allowed the creative players the freedom to penetrate a resistant Everton defence.

Spurs have moved equal with Manchester United on points (45 from 20 matches) and are only three points behind Man City with the massive showdown at Eastlands looming. It was a professional, patient performance. The mark of a very good team.
Samuel Rooke

Total articles: 19

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