TACTICAL football boff Chris Bland (@blandc_1996) gives us the lowdown on Super Sunday's match-up between Everton and Tottenham.
Everton v Tottenham | Sunday 3rd November 2019, 16:30 | Sky Sports
Goodison Park plays host to Everton against Tottenham in a clash where a defeat for either side would continue to build the pressure on the struggling managers.
Everton bounced back from defeat to Brighton on Saturday with a win over Watford in the EFL Cup, but this wasn’t without its problems, as Marco Silva’s tactics were once again called into question, particularly his reliance upon a 4-2-3-1 that saw Moise Kean start out wide on the right.
Consistency has been a major issue throughout the season for Everton, and second-guessing which Toffees team will show up is a major question mark. Languishing in 16th in the league, they could drop into the relegation zone before they kick-off and defeat could spell the end of Silva’s reign
Tottenham slumped to another defeat against Liverpool on Sunday, and the loss leaves them struggling in 11th, without an away league win all season. It was a dominant performance from Liverpool, as Spurs struggled to control the game when in front, relying upon the counter attack to try and exploit Liverpool’s high line.
Signs of life were shown when pushing on in search of an equaliser, but a stark improvement will be needed. Mauricio Pochettino has seen the pressure build once again, and a defeat would leave the capital club behind in the race for the top-four, and further questions will be asked as to whether is the right man going forward.
Everton to target the left
Everton have stuck to a 4-2-3-1 formation, and Silva has shown a reluctance to change the shape, and this once again reared its head in the win over Watford. It took a half-time switch to alleviate the poor decision to start Kean out right and gain control of the match, and will have dented the young Italian’s confidence.
Getting the balance right to Everton’s front four on Sunday will be key to their chances, and Bernard’s injury and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s struggles have thrown up a selection issue for Silva, as to whether to stick with the impressive Alex Iwobi centrally, as well as whether to start Richarlison or Domenic Calvert-Lewin centrally.
The wide areas will be key to Everton’s attacking threat, and particularly down the left, where they have looked to target many sides this season. Iwobi and Lucas Digne’s link up play was evident against Brighton on Saturday, leading the pass combinations on the pitch, and will look to attack Spurs down this flank once again.
The Toffees will be eager to target this flank, especially when factoring in the struggles Spurs have had defensively down this side. Serge Aurier has had a torrid time lately, exposed once again last Sunday. He is not helped by the lack of protection offered in advance of him, and this could mean he gets overloaded.
Davinson Sanchez is an option at right back, but offers little attacking threat, as is youngster Kyle Walker-Peters, but the problems still lie in the overloads, and could result in a plenty of concerning moments for whomever sits at right-back for Tottenham.
Theo Walcott impressed in the victory against West Ham, as his runs in behind dragged defenders out of position, however he struggled to follow this up in defeat at Brighton, eventually being substituted.
Nevertheless, if he is to start, his movement in behind the backline of Spurs will be key, as it will free up space in front of the back four for Everton’s creative players, particularly Iwobi, and allow them the space to create from a central area as well as out wide. This worked a treat against West Ham, as they created plenty of opportunities, ending the game with an Expected Goals (xG) of 2.23.
Tottenham to target Everton’s defensive issues
The influential Yerry Mina is expected to miss out after limping off in Everton’s win over Watford, and the centre back pairing of Michael Keane and Mason Holgate isn’t one to fill you with confidence.
Keane has struggled in recent weeks, and has shown his susceptibility to pace through the middle in goals conceded against Bournemouth and Sheffield United. Mina helped reduce this issue, putting in a masterclass in the victory against West Ham, however his presence was missed against Brighton.
For all of his attacking threat, Digne has been particularly disappointing defensively, although his own goal on Saturday was particularly unfortunate, as the Toffees were caught out pushing for a winner themselves.
Spurs will look to target the channels in the space vacated by Everton’s full backs on the break, and with Digne struggling to contribute defensively, and the lack of pace of Keane and Holgate, it should lead to an open encounter.
Djibril Sidibe has shown his competence defensively and should return to the starting XI, and this should see Spurs look to target the left flank of Everton’s defence, meaning selection of the right winger is key for Pochettino.
Central areas key
In what will be an open, attacking game, gaining control of the central areas will be huge for both sides. Tom Davies and Andre Gomes impressed against West Ham, but inconsistency has been a problem.
Up against the creative talents of Spurs’ midfield, Fabian Delph could be preferred to add solidity, and with Iwobi impressing centrally to pull the strings, there would be less pressure on the Englishman to provide the creativity.
Harry Winks has been key to Spurs’ midfield, as he offers them control on the ball and a strong option regarding ball retention. Averaging 62 passes, he linked the defence and attack very well, and it was when Liverpool were able to press him and stop him receiving the ball that Spurs struggled to get out.
Delph and Davies will need to work hard to stop this option, however the 3v2 centrally that Tottenham are likely to employ should allow them to control the ball and build attacks, particularly on the break when Everton have committed men forward.
Alongside Winks, Tanguy N’Dombele is expected to return, and his energy and box to box nature will be key in making sure Kane doesn’t get isolated, as well as exposing Everton in transition as discussed. Between Gomes, Delph and Davies, pace is an issue in the Everton midfield, and N’Dombele will be able to expose this when breaking quickly.
The pace in wide areas will also be key on the break, and in either Son or Lucas Moura, Tottenham have the ability to hit the Everton on the counter, and will look to target the space vacated by Digne. This should lead to an open, exciting encounter, and opens up a number of markets of interest.
The betting angles
This, theoretically, has the makings of a Bet Builder’s dream, as once the tactical and statistical points are combined together, the overs markets on corners, goals and cards all appeal.
The struggling defences and open nature of both sides means this game strikes great appeal for goal backers, particularly from a tactical point of view. Both Everton and Spurs possess great attacking threat on the counter, as well as struggling defences who can be exposed by it.
Attack may be the best form of defence for both sides, and as a result the goal markets are definitely of interest. Over 2 Goals and Both Teams To Score is available at 19/20 (Bet365), and definitely stands out as value.
It is worth noting that Spurs are actually overperforming their xG by 12.16 with 16 goals, whilst Everton are underperforming theirs of 12.10 by conceding 16. However, the absence of Mina will be huge, and I see Spurs offering enough going forward on Sunday. It is worth noting that Harry Kane is available at 5/4 (Unibet), and given the leaky nature of the Everton defence, it does strike as a value option.
Cards should flow a plenty, especially if there is an early goal. Martin Atkinson is one of the more lenient referees, with 28 yellow cards handed out this season across nine games, so there is caution to be had on that angle.
Furthermore, of his 28 cards, eight came in the North London derby, however the frantic nature, and potentially raucous atmosphere of discontent at Goodison Park could play a factor on the game, so it is definitely a market that could offer up some value.
I’d warn against jumping in pre match on this market, as the nature of the game will have a huge bearing on how it is refereed, but an early goal would open up the game, and with both sides struggling, discipline could go and appeal for card backers. Both teams to receive Over 1.5 Cards is available at 11/5 (Bet365), but should be approached with caution given Atkinson’s record.
Corners also takes great appeal, particularly for Everton, given the nature of their attacks. Averaging 6.80 a game, they look to attack wide and will look to get in behind the Spurs backline. Available at 4/5 (Bet365), Everton to win Over 5.5 Corners is particularly appealing.