Two teams who have underperformed this season meet when Everton host Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park (4.30pm Sunday, live on Sky Sports).
Everton were one of a clutch of sides considered as viable challengers for a top-six finish this season if one or more of the usual occupants endured a difficult campaign. Instead, they find themselves in 16th, closer on points to the bottom three than to the top 10.
Last weekend’s 2-3 loss away to Brighton was Everton’s sixth in their 10 Premier League matches. They swiftly equalised after going behind early on and then went ahead themselves with a quarter hour to play through Dominic Calvert-Lewin. A converted penalty and an injury time own goal from Lucas Digne consigned Marco Silva’s side to defeat.
Everton finished eighth last season in Silva’s first season at the helm and the club again backed him in the transfer market this summer, bringing in three new, £20-million plus players, including the ex-Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi. Their underlying numbers paint them as a similarly placed side this time around, marginally above Premier League average at both ends of the pitch. Results, though, tell a different story.
Silva’s job may not necessarily be directly on the line against Spurs, despite reports of the club sounding out possible replacements. He certainly needs to take some kind of decent points haul from this weekend’s match and the one that follows away to Southampton if he is to avoid losing his job prior to the November international break. That would be an ideal juncture to give a replacement a little bit of time to settle in.
It is a familiar situation for a club who have been unable to make the leap up from the top eight to the top six despite being one of the league’s highest spenders over the last three seasons. Just over two years ago, they sacked Ronald Koeman after a not dissimilar start. Now Silva finds himself on similarly shaky ground.
Sunday’s opponents Spurs have not exactly impressed so far this season. They are in 11th with a record of three wins, three draws and four defeats from their matches. They are already eight points shy of the top-four place that has been theirs in each of the last four seasons and have looked worse at both ends of the pitch in comparison to the previous campaign.
Last season was already a bit of a step down from the preceding three, with Spurs scoring less and conceding more than they had done in any of those. Their output has decreased even further this time around. Their goals scored are mildly down from 1.76 per match last season to 1.6 this, but their defence has fallen off a cliff. Last season, they conceded 1.03 goals per match. This season, it has been 1.5 goals per match.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side gave a good account of themselves away to Liverpool last weekend. Harry Kane gave them a first-minute lead that they defended gamely until the interval. Early into the second half, Heung-Min Son nearly doubled it when he struck the crossbar after rounding the goalkeeper. Liverpool equalised soon afterwards and then a clumsily conceded penalty, well converted, gave the home side all three points.
It was an improved performance compared to much of what Spurs have produced this season. While many of the underlying problems, visible or not, have not necessarily been solved, it provided a bit of hope for a way forward. Tanguy Ndombele showed well off the bench. Once he can be combined with fellow summer signing Giovani Lo Celso, the midfield should receive the refresh it badly needs.
Spurs also have reasons to believe they can come away victorious from the second of their back-to-back trips to Merseyside on Sunday. They certainly have some structural and personnel issues. They still have enough attacking quality to outscore an Everton side who after a pair of season-opening clean sheets have conceded 16 times in their last eight league matches.
Our Preview’s Everton vs Spurs Betting Tips Verdict
- Back Tottenham Hotspur to win @ best odds of 8/5 with Betfair.
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