Toffees claim opening-day spoils - match report and debrief
Spurs 0-1 Everton
Sun 13 September 2020, 18:36|Tottenham Hotspur
Our opening Premier League game of the 2020/21 season ended in defeat as Everton took all three points at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium thanks to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s second-half header.
On what was a frustrating afternoon in N17, we struggled to find our rhythm as the visitors enjoyed the better of the game. The winning goal came 10 minutes into the second half when Lucas Digne whipped in a free-kick from wide on the left and Calvert-Lewin wanted it the most, climbing above Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier to power a header past Hugo Lloris.
Most of the good chances came in the first half, with Richarlison almost giving the Toffees the lead when clean through on goal but, after rounding Lloris, he was unable to steady himself and blazed high and wide. Jordan Pickford denied us an opening goal on two occasions, palming over Dele’s 15-yard fierce drive following a swift counter-attack before keeping out debutant Matt Doherty’s close-range shot after his clever exchange with Harry Kane three minutes before half-time.
Instead, it was Everton with the breakthrough in the 55th minute and while we had plenty of second half possession, we didn’t really trouble Pickford and the visitors collected their first win against us since December, 2012.
Good run against Toffees comes to an end
Everton hadn’t beaten us in our last 15 meetings but they made sure that sequence came to an abrupt end on Sunday afternoon.
Five new players made their respective debuts in the game – Doherty and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg for us while Carlo Ancelotti fielded James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure in his starting line-up – and it was the visitors who started the contest brightly.
Richarlison really should have opened the scoring as he latched onto Ben Davies’ wayward pass on the Welsh full-back’s 200th Premier League appearance, rode the challenge of Alderweireld and was in on goal. After rounding Lloris, he could have taken a touch but attempted to shoot and was way off target.
We did find our feet as the first half progressed and on 24 minutes, Kane just couldn’t get on the end of Heung-Min Son’s teasing ball in to the far post. Nine minutes later, we broke away after Lucas Moura found Son, who held the ball up while support arrived in the form of Dele but his effort was palmed over by Pickford. Doherty injected a bit of urgency into an attack just before the interval, breaking down the right and playing a one-two with Kane, only for Pickford to deny his right-footed effort from close range, and then Lloris saved low down from Richarlison’s 20-yard drive at the other end.
After Calvert-Lewin’s header, neither goalkeeper really had too much to deal with in terms of actual efforts on goal, although Lloris was concerned by two right-footed curlers from Richarlison which flashed just wide. Our own attacking play lacked a bit of fluidity and creativity, with the visitors happy to get men behind the ball to defend their lead, which they achieved successfully to end their long winless run against us.
Debuts for duo
There were senior Spurs debuts for our two new outfield players who joined us last month. Jose Mourinho started both Hojbjerg and Doherty – in midfield and at right-back respectively – and the pair showed their Premier League knowhow at times during the course of the game.
Former Southampton man Hojbjerg was industrious in the centre of the park, snapping into tackles and keeping the ball moving with his tidy passing in a defensive midfield role. Doherty was deployed on the right of the back line and was confident and assured in his defending. When we were in possession, the Republic of Ireland international played high up the pitch down the right flank and was often an outlet as we attacked.
He almost capped his debut with a goal, latching onto Kane’s clever return pass after a marauding run only for Pickford to deny him. Doherty was substituted for Tanguy Ndombele with 14 minutes remaining as we looked for a way back into the game, while Hojbjerg collected a yellow card in the closing minutes on what was a tough afternoon all round.
Reaction on Spurs TV
Jose rues 'unstoppable' goal
Head Coach Jose told us after the game: "There were decisive moments, Dele’s shot in the first half, Doherty’s shot, great saves - I think they were also decisive moments. The goal was the top moment of the game.
"We had great opportunities and in spite of a very difficult game, we were there, and clearly in some moments better than them. After the goal there is a different game, a game of a team that is confident, that is winning and a team like we were, with a little bit of belief and little bit of solutions.
"Pickford made a difference. Hugo sometimes makes it for us. That’s for the goalkeepers to do that. Hugo didn’t have the chance to do that for us today, the goal is unstoppable."
Spurs 0-1 Everton
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Doherty (Ndombele 76), Alderweireld, Dier, Davies, Hojbjerg, Winks (Bergwijn 60), Lucas, Dele (Sissoko 46), Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Aurier, Sanchez, Lamela.
Everton (4-3-3): Pickford, Coleman (c), Keane, Mina, Digne, Gomes (Sigurdsson 68), Allan, Doucoure, Rodriguez (Davies 90+2), Calvert-Lewin (Kean 88), Richarlison. Substitutes (not used): Virginia, Kenny, Walcott, Bernard.
Goal: Everton – Calvert-Lewin 55.
Yellow card: Spurs - Hojbjerg 85.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Sunny with a gentle breeze, 25 degrees.