Tottenham vs Everton | Sunday 13th September 2020, 16:30 | Sky Sports
Tottenham host Everton as they aim to get off to a better start to this season than they did last, ultimately their downfall as they ended up finishing sixth.
Jose Mourinho took charge of Spurs when they were languishing in 14th position, as the team struggled to shake off the hangover from a Champions League final defeat. Injuries blighted the Whites throughout the season and a lack of depth led to exits earlier than expected from Europe, both domestic cup competitions and the top four race.
During this summer, Mourinho has made some necessary signings, if not sexy ones.
Matt Doherty has been long admired by the Portuguese manager and will solve problem area at right-back which Spurs have fallen well short of in terms of quality since Kieran Trippier’s departure. Doherty will need to adjust to playing in a four man backline rather than the three he was deployed in at Wolves but the Irishman will be given the licence to get forward and provide Spurs with an additional attacking outlet when in possession.
Pierre Hojbjerg’s signing gives more bite in midfield and the Dane should shield the back four much better than some of his teammates did last season, leaving the centre backs horribly exposed at times. Whilst his passing stats are not amazing, Hojbjerg intercepts play well and likes to get the ball forward which will only benefit the front four.
There’s no doubt though that Tottenham need more signings, especially in forward areas. Mourinho has spoken of his need to bring in a striker to give Harry Kane more competition. Patson Daka snubbed a move to north London so time is running out for the club to sign someone before the end of the transfer window, particularly concerning considering Kane’s injury record.
When the England man is fit, there’s no doubt he’s one of the best goalscorers around but a serious hamstring injury kept him out of action for much of the back-end of last season. If that lack of depth isn’t rectified, Tottenham fans will surely have to reset their hopes for the season of winning a long-awaited trophy.
Everton meanwhile have also been strengthening during the summer, plugging the quality gaps in midfield. Allan, Jams Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucouré have all signed deals with the Toffees, bringing a variety of qualities that have been severely lacking on the blue half of Merseyside.
Allan is a tough tackler, averaging 2.7 per-game in Serie A and the Champions League last season and will add much-needed aggression into the middle of park. Everton possess plenty of it from their full-backs and front two, but the central midfielders are often far too lightweight so the Brazilian will improve that area of the Blues’ game.
Rodriguez arrives following a wasted final year in Madrid, only making 8 La Liga appearances and being frozen out of the squad completely by the end of the campaign. There’s no doubt that the Colombian international is a decent player but like so many players in the game, the star of the 2014 World Cup failed to live up to the hype and a new challenge is definitely what he needed.
The attacking midfielder’s creativity and eye for a quality through ball should benefit Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin who were so often relying on service from out wide for much of the season.
Rodriguez will be challenged for his stating spot by the aforementioned Doucouré, one of the only players to come out of Watford’s relegation season with some form of praise. Doucouré was deployed in a more advanced role in his final year in Hertfordshire to mixed effect but his mobility on the ball will be vitally important to the way Carlo Ancelotti wants his team to play.
It will be interesting to see how Ancelotti lines up his troops this season, with the 4-4-2 used for much of 2019-20 providing inconsistent performances from a capable squad. Drop one striker to add more creativity in the midfield or keep a flourishing partnership in Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin together?
The experienced manager has a tough call to make and it could define how well the Toffees end up doing this season.
In this match, it’s worth treading carefully given it’s the first game of a new season and I’ll be avoiding the outrights given the unpredictable nature of both teams.
Heung-Min Son 2+ shots on-target (15/8 Ladbrokes)
One bet I do like is Heung-Min Son to have 2 or more shots on target, which I think is overpriced at Ladbrokes at 15/8. Son chipped in with 11 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League last season, a great return for a player who continues to improve at this level. When Spurs and Everton last met, post lockdown, the South Korean had more shots than any other player on the pitch with 4, landing 2 on target.
Tottenham targeted Everton’s right that day, with 49% of their play going down that flank. Mourinho will want Son to get one-on-one with Seamus Coleman as much as possible to target the latter’s lack of pace and I would tip him to win that battle and then get into some decent shooting positions. Son had 0.1 shots per game less than top scorer Harry Kane last season which shows how often he’s firing efforts on goal.
Son has scored 3 goals in 4 matches against Everton, laying on 3 assists too so it’s clearly an opposition he likes playing and with Jordan Pickford looking very unsure in goal, you’d think the 28 year-old and his teammates will want to test the England goalkeeper’s resolve.
I’d price this play up at about 5/4 personally so we’re getting some value with the 15/8 odds.
Tottenham vs Everton – Heung Min-Son 2+ Shots on Target (15/8 Ladbrokes)