PREVIEW | Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur make the journey to Goodison Park tomorrow. The game is Antonio Conte’s first in charge in the Premier League, following their 3-2 victory over Vitesse Arnhem in the UEFA Europa Conference League on Thursday evening.

Everton on the other hand are looking to avoid a third-straight defeat at home, and a fourth in a row in the League.

Last Monday saw the Blues fall to a 2-1 defeat at Molineux. Alex Iwobi got the goal for the Merseyside club – his third goal in four appearances against Wolves – but the damage was done in four first-half minutes. Goals from Max Kilman and Raúl Jiménez condemned Rafael Benitez’s side to another defeat, which leaves them eleventh in the table.

Spurs’ last Premier League game was a 0-3 home defeat to an out-of-form Manchester United. This was the last of Nuno Espírito Santo’s reign as manager, as he was dismissed two days later.

Although Everton beat Spurs away from home last season, they have not beaten tomorrow’s opponents at Goodison Park in the League for nine years. In fact, the last time they did in December 2012, Andros Townsend and Gylfi Sigurðsson were on the bench for Tottenham.

The Toffees are still without three key first-team players. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Yerry Mina are still absent, whilst André Gomes is also out and continuing his rehabilitation from a calf injury.

However, Rafa Benitez confirmed that full-back Lucas Digne will be available for tomorrow’s clash. Digne missed last Monday’s game against Wolves with a minor muscle injury but is fully fit and expected to make a return.

Fabian Delph also made an impressive return from injury last Monday and is potentially in line to start tomorrow. According to the Liverpool Echo, he has been excellent in this week’s training and set the standard for the rest of the squad.

Antonio Conte is expected to be without Bryan Gil and Ryan Sessegnon but has no real injury concerns. Cristian Romero’s red card on Thursday night does not affect tomorrow’s fixture, so Spurs should field a full-strength side.

One to Watch – Everton

Results in recent weeks have been extremely disappointing for Evertonians, but there has been one bright spark. Anthony Gordon. The academy graduate has been very impressive for the Toffees and will have been disappointed not to start on Monday.

Gordon has made five appearances this season, including two starts. Whilst he has not registered any goals or assists, his work-rate and attacking contribution has not gone unnoticed by Evertonians.

The 20-year-olds defensive work rate has also been noted. In his appearances Gordon has made eight tackles and four interceptions and has been the only player who has been able to hold their head high in the past few games and should be in line to start on Sunday afternoon.

His ball-carrying skills could be really pivotal against Conte’s side tomorrow and the Goodison faithful will be hopeful that he starts and causes problems.

One to Watch – Tottenham Hotspur

Son Heung-min has been one of the few Tottenham players to avoid scrutiny so far this season. The forward has scored four goals in nine Premier League games this season. Furthermore, he has scored the first goal of the past three managers reigns.

The South Korean has an average rating of 6.91 so far this season and has arguably been the North London’s side best player.

According to WhoScored, the 29-year-olds strengths include his finishing, crossing and general hold-up play. He has also scored a free-kick this season, something an Everton player has failed to do. He also has a shooting accuracy of 42%, with ten of his twenty-four shots on target.

The forward does have weaknesses, including his defensive contribution. This is something that Benitez’s side have seemingly failed to exploit in recent fixtures and exploiting Son’s defensive contribution tomorrow is certainly something the Blues should be looking at.

Everton are looking to stop their slump tomorrow, with just one win in their last six Premier League games. And Evertonians will certainly be looking for a reaction from the team tomorrow following three straight defeats.

Antonio Conte takes charge of Spurs, his first game back in the Premier League, following Thursday’s Conference League victory. The Italian will be hoping to start off his reign with a win, as he did when he was manager of Chelsea.

Spurs only have two victories in their last six games but will fancy themselves favourites given Everton’s poor form and their record against them.

They have only been beaten once in the last 17 Premier League games against the Blues, a run stretching back to December 2012. However, the last manager to beat Conte in the Premier League was Rafael Benitez.

Harry Kane has been strangely out of form so far this season, but always performs against the Toffees. The striker has eleven goals in twelve games against the Blues, including five braces, meaning that he is more than likely to score on Sunday.

Tomorrow’s fixture is pivotal for Everton. They need to stop the rot and put in a performance. Yet with key first-team players still missing, and Antonio Conte looking for a resurgence from his Spurs side, it is hard to see how Everton will get a result.

Prediction: 1-3.

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