Match Preview: Everton vs Tottenham

Tottenham head to Goodison Park on Sunday looking to extend their recent run of good form having beaten their North London rivals Arsenal 2-0 in the Carabao Cup quarter final in midweek. However, Everton are a different prospect this season under Marco Silva, and the Toffees will be hoping to get three points against a ‘big six’ club for the first time with the Portuguese at the helm.

Silva has transformed the way that Everton play in a remarkably short space of time, and he has been helped by the quality that he brought in during the summer transfer window. This has been headed of course by the £50m capture of Richarlison, who has hit the ground running on Merseyside – scoring eight goals in 15 league games.

With Everton’s ambitions to break into the top six this season this clash against an in-form Spurs side, who sat third heading into the weekend, will allow them to measure just how close they are to their goal.

Here’s all you need to know ahead of Sunday’s fixture…

What History Tells Us

Although Everton are making strides now, Spurs have dominated the fixtures between the two clubs in the Premier League era.

The Lilywhites have won 25 of the 52 games between the two clubs, whereas Everton have only recorded a paltry eight wins. In those games, Tottenham have also kept an impressive 20 clean sheets, so Richarlison and co. will need to defy the odds if they are to keep the three points on Merseyside.

It would seem that Goodison doesn’t phase Spurs either, as they have a 35% win rate at the ground, almost double that of Everton’s when the North London club are the visitors.

Player Head-to-Head

Although Richarlison and Harry Kane respectively may garner the headlines for their respective clubs, perhaps the most important players are the creative midfielders who play in the number 10 role.

For Everton, it is former Spurs man Gylfi Sigurdsson who has been in particularly eye-catching form this season, and his stats are hugely more impressive than 22-year-old Dele Alli’s.

To be fair to the current Tottenham star, his season has been interrupted by injury and he struggled to get going after his exertions with England at the World Cup in Russia. Sigurdsson though is providing 2.1 key passes per game and 2.5 shots per game for his team, and if he can replicate these numbers on Sunday then Everton will certainly fancy their chances.

Referee Influence – Paul Tierney

So far this season, Paul Tierney has proven himself to be a fair and balanced referee. Out of 17 officials who have taken charge of Premier League games, he is eighth for both fouls per game and fouls per tackle, so expect to see him play the advantage wherever possible – something that will be good news for neutrals in what is set to be an exciting attacking game.

The stats also show though that the 37-year-old is not afraid to get his cards out when infringements do occur. In fact, he is fourth out of the 17 refs for bookings produced per game, meaning tough tackling midfielders such as Idrissa Gueye and Moussa Sissoko will have to watch their step.

The main stat that stands out, and that will please Tottenham fans, however is Tierney’s 64 per cent away win bias. Considering playing at home is no doubt an advantage, it would seem that the Wigan-born ref has a habit for evening that out.

It is also worth noting that in the 11 games he has taken charge of so far this season, Tierney is yet to oversee a draw in the Premier League.

Team News

Everton go into the game with relatively few worries about injuries. In fact, the only real question mark over fitness will be whether Gueye has recovered from the injury that forced him to miss the 3-1 defeat at the Etihad last week, which in turn saw Silva change formation to a 5-4-1 against Manchester City.

Given his influence in the middle of midfield for Silva’s side, we can speculate that even if he isn’t 100 per cent fit Silva will hope to start the Senegalese international and revert back to 4-2-3-1.

Elsewhere, we would expect youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin to drop out of the starting XI, despite him scoring against Manchester City. This would make way for Richarlison to move back up front, and the 21-year-old’s willingness to run in-behind could be crucial to Everton breaking down their visitors on the day.

In contrast to the Toffees, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has plenty of injuries to contend with. In central defence, Jan Vertonghen is ruled out and Davinson Sanchez is a doubt, so it will be a toss up between left-back Ben Davies and youngster Juan Foyth for a start.

After 20-year-old Foyth struggled in the league loss to Arsenal, Davies has stepped in commendably at the heart of the Tottenham defence and we would expect to see him start there once again.

Something that Everton haven’t done in recent years is deal with the threat of Harry Kane, and the England captain has scored twice in each of his last three games against the Toffees. Given that he didn’t start in midweek, he will be raring to get at the Merseyside club once again on Sunday.