Everton vs Tottenham | Friday 16th April 2021, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Everton’s top-four hopes continue to falter after Monday’s drab stalemate at Brighton. It’s now no wins in four league games for Carlo Ancelotti’s side (D2, L2).
The Italian maestro might be boosted by a handful of returning players for the visit of Tottenham. Jordan Pickford could return in between the sticks, while Allan, Andre Gomes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could play a part after recent absences.
That’ll give the Toffees a bit more quality, especially in the final third with the presence of their leading scorer Calvert-Lewin. His ability to hold the ball up and bring his team-mates into play is something they lacked on Monday.
Spurs make the trip to Merseyside on the back of a damaging 3-1 defeat against Man Utd on Sunday. They do sit a point clear of their hosts before kick-off, but the pressure will continue to mount on Jose Mourinho if they continue to be as passive in games as they were on Sunday.
After already suffering a humiliating Europa League exit, Mourinho’s men need to kick on in their quest for a European next season and they could have an opportunity to here against a below-par Everton.
However, reports are circling that there’s a split in the Spurs dressing room, some backing Mourinho, others against him. Morale and confidence did look low at full-time on Sunday and any rifts within the camp won’t help matters.
Son Heung-Min should be fit after a horrific facial injury suffered in the build-up to Man Utd’s disallowed goal. In more serious team news, Serge Aurier is likely to keep his right-back berth, while Toby Alderweireld could make his return.
The betting angles
It’s a tricky game to call and I’ve found it hard to analyse. Everton have only won five times at Goodison Park in 15 league games this season. In 2021, their home record reads P8, W1, D2, L5 – and that’s part of the reason their European dreams have faded.
Eight of those 15 home games have been under 2.5 goals, with that figure being six in their last eight on home turf, while 10 of their last 15 have all seen two or fewer goals. With doubts still lingering about the fitness of top goalscorer Calvert-Lewin then it has to be an angle to consider.
Ancelotti has adopted a cautious approach in recent weeks, while we know what Mourinho’s all about. Everton’s free-flowing first few weeks of the season has been abruptly halted by injuries, but they have averaged just 1.16xGF expected goals for since the 2-2 Merseyside derby draw – only five teams have a lower average.
Spurs have slumped down the table and their expected goals tallies have flipped, so they are now conceding more frequent opportunities defensively (1.46xGA per game) to what they are creating (1.39xGF) – there’s your reason for the downward curve.
On paper, these two sides have injuries, are out of form and low on confidence. Everton could stick with the back three, as they did at Brighton, to try and stifle any of Spurs’ attacking capabilities. And that could well see a repeat of Monday night’s bore-fest.
Betfair still have a bit of 10/11 knocking around on under 2.5 goals, while the 14/5 on under 1.5 goals could well even earn some interest.
After that, it was hard to fathom another angle, but if Calvert-Lewin remains sidelined it could see James Rodríguez play a free role to support Richarlison in trying to break down this Spurs defence.
Having looked at his data, he’s had 17 shots on target in 18 starts for the Toffees despite being in and out of the side with injury problems. I did some further digging to see if the shots on target special market could give us an angle to play and there could be one worth half a point.
Unsurprisingly, he’s had plenty of efforts with his dominant left foot this season and it’s 5/6 (Sky Bet) he hits the target with a left-footed effort. However, it was interesting to see more recent shots using his right foot.
On Monday night, the Colombian recorded Everton’s only shot on target – with his right foot. The game before that he scored against Palace – again with his right peg, while he also found the net against Leicester with his so-called weaker foot. At 11/2 (Sky Bet), it was something that took my eye in a hard game to sum up.
If you go back to the opening match in September when these sides met, James had three attempts. He had two with his left foot, but they were both off target, while his right-footed effort forced Hugo Lloris into a save. It’s only a half-point play given a bit of recent evidence.
They’ll be my two plays for this one, but if this is a turgid midfield battle, then Michael Oliver could be busy.
I was tempted by the 5/6 on 20+ Spurs booking points. The Geordie arbiter has shown Spurs 0, 20, 30, 20, 50, 0 & 55 booking points since the start of last season in the Premier League, when he’s overseen their games. The most recent total is the north London derby, where he punished Erik Lamela’s stupidity.
One of the sub-plots that could rumble through this one is Argentine Giovani Lo Celso attempting to keep Brazilian Richarlison quiet, so the South American fire could well rumble, and potentially, spill over – at least that might make it more interesting than it looks on paper!
Everton vs Tottenham – Under 2.5 Goals (10/11 Betfair)
Everton vs Tottenham – James Rodríguez 1+ right-footed shot on target (11/2 SkyBet)