Match Preview – Spurs (H)

Finally, a ‘big six’ side at home. Spurs come to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon to face an Everton side unbeaten in our last six home games, four of those being wins. Our recent record against those top sides isn’t even worth mentioning, but we have had to play away from the fortress on many of those occasions.

Spurs haven’t been hitting top gear in recent games, but they have ground out wins to create a very good recent record. They have won ten of their last twelve fixtures, with only Barcelona and Arsenal able to stop Mauricio Pochettino’s side despite the popular news that they failed to make any signings during last summer’s transfer window.

This was because they’ve been injecting funds into their new stadium, which they will imminently move into following security issues which prevented them moving in as planned. It has often been said that Spurs are where Everton want to be in a few years, but Marco Silva’s side will undoubtedly go toe to toe with them this weekend.

Everton will look to learn from Spurs’ mistakes when building our new stadium on the banks of the royal blue Mersey, and there has been a mixed reaction this week to news that that new ground will have a capacity of 52,000, potentially rising to 62,000. Personally, I’m happy with the news as I’d hate to see empty seats each week, and the potential rise gives Everton some growing room for when we’re European champions.

Idrissa Gueye, subject of some talk from French outlet L’Equipe this week about a potential January switch to Paris Saint Germain, faces another late fitness test before this one after missing out last week against Manchester City. Gylfi Sigurdsson was less effective in a deeper role given much less freedom than usual, but the potential return of James McCarthy for this one may be a game-changer and allow Sigurdsson to move back into his preferred No.10 role to show his former employers what they’re missing. Last time Everton beat Spurs, Harry Redknapp brought the Icelandic midfielder off the bench, back in 2012.

Whether McCarthy has the match fitness to start is debatable, but Silva confirmed in his pre-match conference that after missing training this week due to illness, key players Richarlison and Andre Gomes will be ready for Sunday’s game. Richarlison will be hoping to get back on form after missing a couple of key chances last week.

Yerry Mina is another man who will be looking to get back on his game after a disappointing performance last week, and hopefully he hasn’t been too affected by the ‘racist’ chants he was subjected to this week.

Harry Kane will return for the visitors after missing the last game due to the flu, but he’s nothing to worry about. Serge Aurier, Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen and Victor Wanyama will all miss out.

Everton will hopefully be able to recover some frustrating form in the last few weeks to give Spurs a real good go in this one. Fingers crossed Mina can use his ‘vacuum cleaner’ to keep a clean sheet this time.

COYB

– Tom