Everton-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Everton can significantly boost their chances for European play if they can extend their Project Restart surge Monday with a road victory at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Toffees (12-8-12) could draw within five points of six-placed Wolverhampton with a victory and vault over the Lilywhites (12-9-11) in the table. Carlo Ancelotti's side have been cagey in the three matches since resuming play, taking seven points while conceding just one goal.
They are coming off a 2-1 victory over Leicester City - a squad with Champions League aspirations - on Wednesday, getting goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson in the first 16 minutes and then repelling the Foxes over the final 39 minutes to grab all three points.
There was some concern regarding Richarlison's availability after a knock to his ankle forced him off before the hour, but Ancelotti expects the Brasilian to lead the line once more. Additionally, Djibril Sidibe could see his first action since the restart after recovering from a foot injury.
"Richarlison didn't train (on Friday) but I think he will be able to train tomorrow and he is not going to have problems to play on Monday," Ancelotti said at his Saturday press conference.
"I think he will be fine. He has to train on Saturday and Sunday but I think he is recovering well from the knock and he is not going to have problems."
Ancelotti did confirm winger Theo Walcott and midfielder Fabian Delph remain out through injuries.
In addition to their uptick in form, Everton have a good say in their destiny for the run-in. Including this contest, three of their final six matches - they travel to both Wolverhampton and Sheffield United - are against sides also vying for European spots.
But road matches against the Big Six have long been stumbling blocks in Everton shaking off their sleeping leviathan tag. There are no happy hunting grounds on these trips for the blue Merseysiders, who are winless in their last 36 such matches (0-11-25) since Bryan Oviedo provided the margin in a 1-0 victory at Manchester United on Dec. 4, 2013.
That is their lone victory in 53 visits to Big Six clubs (1-17-35) since the start of the 2011-12 season. There has been little but misery for Everton facing Spurs in north London in the Premier League era, winning just three times in 27 matchups (3-8-16), with all three wins coming in succession from 2006-08.
The Toffees are 0-6-4 in their last 10 visits since Steven Pienaar's goal lifted them to a 1-0 victory in November 2008.
Tottenham Hotspur are one point better than Everton but looked anything but a side with European ambitions Thursday, getting outclassed 3-1 at Sheffield United. While Spurs had a legitimate gripe about a first-half equaliser being negated by the letter of the law during a VAR review, the other truth is they were second-best in both thirds of the pitch.
Harry Kane's stoppage-time equaliser covered up some of the blushes, but Jose Mourinho conceded his club were guilty of lacking a finishing edge.
"Football is about how many goals you score and how many goals you concede," the Spurs gaffer said at his Saturday presser. "I have to be honest, it would be very easy to just speak about the decision (our disallowed equaliser), but I also want to be honest with myself, and I have also to say that with the very offensive team that we played, we had a lot of the ball, but we were not aggressive enough or intense enough in the last third to create more than we did."
Kane has scored in back-to-back matches, and the England talisman has been a holy terror to Everton of late - he carries an astounding run of four consecutive braces against them into this match - but did miss the reverse fixture at Goodison Park due to a hamstring injury.
The Toffees nicked a point in that November meeting through Cenk Tosun's goal deep into injury time, but the match is more remembered for Heung-Min Son's challenge on Everton midfielder Andre Gomes that resulted in the Portugal international suffering a gruesome-looking broken ankle.
Gomes made a rather remarkable recovery to resume playing in February and has started in all three matches in Project Restart.
Updated July 5, 2020