Everton 0-0 Spurs
Report from Goodison Park
03 November 2013|Tottenham Hotspur
It was honours even at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon in an entertaining affair which had plenty of action but no goals to show for either side.
And the clean sheet we kept against Everton was the seventh in our opening 10 Barclays Premier League matches, the first time we have ever achieved such a tally from the start of a campaign in our entire history.
We certainly had the better of the first half without carving out that one clear-cut chance, while the hosts enjoyed the better of the second period, but again Hugo Lloris was never really threatened. On the balance of play, we perhaps will be disappointed not to leave Merseyside with the victory, but a point at Everton is always a decent result. The draw moves us up to fourth in the table, level on points with Chelsea and Liverpool above us.
We made eight changes from our midweek penalty shoot-out victory against Hull City, but in contrast this was the same team which started our last Premier League match, against the Tigers last Sunday.
And we completely dominated the first half, at what was an unusually subdued Goodison Park, save for the travelling Spurs supporters who made themselves heard as we created chance after chance.
Just three minutes were on the clock when patient build-up ended with Sandro letting fly with a shot from 25 yards which had Tim Howard scampering to his left to tip away for a corner. And a only three further minutes had passed when Aaron Lennon was sent clear down the left and he clipped over a cross, Soldado glancing a header well wide.
We just wouldn’t let the home side settle into their stride and carved out another opportunity when Paulinho dispossessed Barry, burst forward and slid the ball into Lennon, who opted to square rather than shoot and Everton cleared their lines.
It was one-way traffic but we just couldn’t find that finishing touch. Andros Townsend saw a shot deflect off James McCarthy but loop up and over the bar, Kyle Walker drilled in a 22-yard free-kick which Howard punched clear and we had shouts for a penalty when Jan Vertonghen went down after tussling with Seamus Coleman in the area, but referee Kevin Friend waved away our appeals.
On 25 minutes Lewis Holtby threaded a pass through to Roberto Soldado, who just couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and was pushed away from goal, but managed to clip over a cross which was nudged away for a corner. The set-piece from Holtby was cleared to the German again and he fizzed a right-foot shot which Howard saved low down.
Everton’s first shot in anger didn’t come until the 28th minute, Leon Osman firing over Hugo Lloris’ crossbar, before we were back on the front foot, Townsend and Soldado trying their luck from distance but failing to convert.
And the second period started in the same vein, with Townsend robbing Baines of possession down on the goalline, he found Holtby whose attempted curler was blocked by the legs of Sylvain Distin.
A minute later though we were indebted to some superb defending from Vlad Chiriches to keep the scores level. Everton broke away with three attackers against just two defenders, Romelu Lukaku laid the ball into the path of Kevin Mirallas down the right and just as the Belgian was about to shoot, Chiriches slid in to block.
As expected, there was much more impetus from the home side after the interval and they went close again when a Mirallas cross was cleared as far as former Spur Steven Pienaar just inside the area but his shot was straight into the midriff of Michael Dawson.
Both sides made changes around the hour mark, Mousa Dembele replacing Sandro in midfield for us, with Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley coming on for Everton, and the home side’s England international was quickly into the action on 65 minutes, fizzing a shot a few yards over the bar. And the home side then had claims for a penalty when the same two players from earlier clashed again, this time Vertonghen challenging Coleman as he was about to shoot, but again no spotkick was awarded as Coleman did manage a second bite at the cherry and fired wide.
The home side were having the better of the play and on 72 minutes, McCarthy’s teasing cross was nudged goalwards by Lukaku but just past the far upright.
As the game entered the final 20 minutes, so it started to open up and we were on the attack again on 76 minutes, neat approach play ending with substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson bringing a diving save out of Howard with a curling right-foot effort.
There was a nasty incident just moments later when Lloris came sliding out for a throughball and was caught on the side of the head by the onrushing Lukaku, albeit accidentally. The French keeper needed lengthy treatment but was able to continue.
And he showed fantastic reflexes to keep out Deulofeu on 88 minutes after the Everton sub had weaved his way into the area past three challenges and attempted to clip a square pass for Nikica Jelavic, who would surely have tapped into an empty net.
There were nine minutes of stoppage time added on following Hugo’s earlier injury and a raft of substitutions and in the fourth minute of that we almost snatched a lead when Christian Eriksen hit a fierce drive which was blocked by Phil Jagielka, while Townsend tested Howard again with a left-footed curler shortly after.
The breakthrough just wouldn’t come though and we shared the spoils at the final whistle.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Pienaar, Mirallas (Deulofeu 63), Lukaku (Jelavic 85), Osman (Barkley 63). Substitutes (not used): Robles, Stones, Oviedo, Naismith.
Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Vertonghen, Paulinho, Sandro (Dembele 61), Townsend, Holtby (Eriksen 86), Lennon (Sigurdsson 68), Soldado. Substitutes (not used): Friedel, Kaboul, Lamela, Defoe.
Yellows: Everton – Howard, McCarthy, Mirallas, Lukaku; Spurs – Paulinho.
Referee: Kevin Friend.