|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)||EVERTON 1 (0)|
|Date : – Sunday 13th September 2020||Kick off : – 16.30|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|Crowd : – 0,000|
|Referee : – Martin Atkinson (West Riding)||Linesmen : – Mr. Lee Betts; Mr. Peter Kirkup|
|Fourth official : – Graham Scott|
|VAR : – Andre Marriner||VAR Assistant : – Scott Ledger|
|Weather : – Sunny|
||Hugo LLORIS (c)||1.
||Matt DOHERTY (28. Tanguy NDOMBELE 76)||2.
||Seamus COLEMAN (c)|
||Harry WINKS (23. Steven BERGWIJN 60)||6.
||Andre GOMES (10. Gylfi SIGURDSSON 68)
||DELE Alli (17. Moussa SISSOKO 46)|
||James RODRIGUEZ (26. Tom DAVIES 90+2)|
||Dominic CALVERT-LEWIN (27. Moise KEAN 89)
Manager : Jose Mourinho
Manager : Carlo Ancelotti
Kit Supplier : Nike
Kit Supplier : Hummel
Shirt Sponsor : AIA
Shirt Sponsor : Cazoo
|Colours : –||Colours : –|
||Calvert-Lewin 54m 02s
|Hojbjerg (foul on Richarlison) 85|
|Tottenham kicked off and attacked the Paxton Road end in the first half|
A sunny afternoon in North London greeted the two sides as Spurs’ season kicked off in the Covid-19 restricted atmosphere (or lack of it) in an empty Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The usual excitement of a new season, new players and new hope was all down down the flat screen TV with games being televised for the rest of the month of September, with stricter measures imposed with a rise in the number of people infected with the virus across England meaning the return of fans to football ground will be delayed further.
Within a couple of minutes of the kick off Son had put a shot on target with Pickford fielding the low effort easily and next he was testing Coleman, getting onto a long pass from Davies over the top to get into the box, but the Everton captain got back to knock the ball off him for a goal-kick.
Both sides were fielding new signings procured since the end of the last season seven weeks ago, with Allan seeing plenty of the ball in the early stages, as Everton had a lot of possession and looked comfortable with it. Most of it was in the middle third of the pitch and the ball was being moved side to side, without hurting Tottenham. That almost changed fifteen minutes in when Davies played a blind pass across the pitch inside his own half, but it was too far beyond Toby Alderweireld and Richarlison took the ball past him and then around Hugo Lloris. With the empty goal ahead of him, he couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball enough, as he had gone left and he skied his shot high and wide. It was a big let off, with a loose bit of play going to Everton’s fastest player, but fortune was on our side and the game settled, with Tottenham having some more of the ball.
Sonny bent a ball into the goalmouth from the left and Mina ducked out of putting a diving header on it, leaving Kane to come in at the far post, but his lunge for the ball was just too short to get on the end of it. This brought a press that saw Everton give the ball away 25 yards from goal and Moura played it out to Dele, but instead of drilling a shot in from the right, he chose to pull it back across the box, where three defenders outnumbered Son and got a touch to take it away. In the next attack, Doherty’s cross was headed away, but Son got on the end of it and tried to bend a shot in from the left corner of the box, only to be denied by Coleman, who got his head in the way. Everton looked like they might break away when the loose ball was won in midfield, but Calvert-Lewin stood on the ball and Spurs got back, so when James Rodriguez tried to jink between a couple of Spurs defenders just right of centre, his shot bobbled harmlessly through to Hugo.
From an Everton corner, Dier headed it away and quick as a flash, Son was running towards the Toffees area, passing right into Dele, whose shot was pushed over the bar by Pickford. Harry Kane wanted the ball played into his run on the left, but the move did end by testing the keeper with a shot on target. Lloris hadn’t had too much to do, but he was diving across his goal to cover a Rodriguez shot that went wide of his right hand post.
Four minutes before half-time, Doherty drove infield from the right and passed the ball to Harry Kane’s feet outside the box. Harry lifted it over the Everton defence and Matt struck the ball on the volley as it dropped, but Pickford was close to him, blocking his shot. It was a good move and almost got Spurs in front. A couple of minutes later, Richarlison turned away from two Spurs defenders on the 18 yard line and struck a low shot that Hugo got behind and grabbed at the second attempt, with Calvert-Lewin sniffing around for the loose ball. Spurs were finding space to put crosses in from the wide positions by the full backs, but without much joy.
The first half wasn’t great and not much better than the game at home a few weeks back, but Mourinho brought on Sissoko for Dele to counter the three that Everton had in midfield. It meant Moura moving infield, as Moussa went to the right, so the change might have been made to additionally produce more of a threat from Lucas down the centre.
Five minutes into the second half, Calvert-Lewin crossed low from the left into Rodriguez 12 yards out, but he mis-hit his shot that went well wide of the far post. Rodriguez then crossed from the left with Richarlison coming in behind Doherty, whose jump was enough to distract the Brazilian striker who failed to get a firm contact on the ball, with it coming off his chest for a goal-kick.
Richarlison won a soft free-kick when he went down holding his ankle after losing the ball to Alderweireld, with Calvert-Lewin getting up between Toby and Dier to power a header home Digne’s ball in from five yards out. It was a poor goal to concede and one that you had hoped that the manager would have worked on to defend better, with it being a trait that we had developed a few seasons before.
Jose decided to make an attacking change with Bergwijn replacing Winks with an hour gone. Tottenham did work the ball well to the left, where Stevie pulled it back to Son, but, with three players around him, the ball was taken off him. Spurs looked lethargic, with little dynamic movement off the ball when in possession, making it difficult to make any headway towards the Everton goal. The visitors were sitting deeper and brought Sigurdsson on for Gomes and a Spurs cross from the left found Moura, heading at goal, but it was a soft one that Pickford dealt with easily. It was Tottenham’s first effort on goal in the second half in the 68th minute. At the other end, Richarlison cut inside from the right, managed to stand up and bend a shot wide of the goal. Three minutes later, he did the same thing, but got a little closer, although the Spurs defence hadn’t quite worked out that when he is on the left he will come in on his right foot.
The ease with which the Everton players were going down was breaking play up and making any flow in the game stop in its tracks. Tottenham’s passing wasn’t helping, with it being short and not giving the receiving players a chance to do anything with it.
Coleman tried a volley from 20 yards, but it was straight at Hugo, but they were still creating a lot more than we were. Doherty won a header to Sissoko’s ball deep to the back of the box and Pickford had to jump up to punch it away from danger. Dead ball situations weren’t being made the most of, with the failure to beat the first man or not attacking the ball with enough determination letting Everton off the hook.
The match died a slow death, with Everton looking the more likely to add to their score than Tottenham looked like equalising. Ndombele came on for Doherty and while he looked to increase the tempo with his passing, there was no greater accuracy from him than there has been from his team-mates.
Everton were alright, but we made them look better than that. The way that their scorer attacked the ball was in stark contrast to how our defence defended it. For all the talk of aggression in the “All or Nothing” series, there was little on show today and it seemed that Spurs were still in pre-season friendly mode. Kane was strolling in the second half, which might have been a reaction to not getting a touch of the ball in the penalty area, but the closing was slow and there were few examples of joined up play anywhere in the side. With lots of games coming up, there will need to be a big improvement in the style of play and perhaps the international matches, quarantine and the late signing of Doherty meant that the team haven’t gelled yet. But this is something that happens season after season.
Leaving transfer dealings until the last minute might bring some bargains buys, but getting your business done early gives more time for preparation to start the season firing on all cylinders. Everton proved that and with fewer international call-ups, they might have had more time together to sort out how they were going to play it.
Lloris has less strenuous saves to make than Pickford, but the one chance that Everton had, they took. Spurs stuttered through the match and didn’t even look like the side that finished last season so well.
Where do we go from here ? It’s Thursday, so it must be Bulgaria and if the team don’t shape up, the Plovdiv chairman might have got it right, that they can beat Tottenham. Let’s hope not and that there are some players coming in soon, but they will still have to integrate with the rest of the team, so we are back to a slow start. We are not usually slow at this point, having a good first day record and our previously good record against Everton has now gone too.
Let’s hope the two days prep for the Europa League match is sufficient.
Matt Brearley, Potters Bar
It looked to me like Everton had done their homework, with Ancelotti blocking the way down the flanks. Whether it was Aurier or Doherty, the way to the last third was baulked by doubling up on the right wing back and Davies had a little more space, but not as much protection in front of him.
Mourinho’s team talks in the Amazon Prime documentary stressed that the press starts at the top of the team and rarely was that the case in this match. Dele had to drop deep to find the ball, as did Kane, most probably as they weren’t finding it where they can do the most damage. It left us light up front, with Alderweireld to Son being the chosen route forward.
Missing a play-maker in midfield was a problem and Gio can’t come back too soon, as he has a spark of creativity that can free those ahead of him. His injury (or Covid test) might have prevented him having much of a pre-season, but he has to take on the mantle Eriksen left, but he needs the support of the two defensive midfielders behind him and Hojbjerg didn’t enjoy one of his best games yesterday.
It’s still early days, but the loss of one game means that there is a need to start an unbeaten run soon, albeit difficult with the number of games coming up and the need to rotate producing a changed side most matches.
Nice to see in the matchday programme for the game that Spurs were carrying “Please remain seated” and “Emergency Evacuation” notices on the fixtures page.
Benny The Ball
Players took the knee before kick-off and wore “No Room For Racism” logos on their shirts.
Jose Mourinho lost his opening day fixture for the first time in his career.
|West Bromwich Albion||0||Leicester City||3|
|West Ham United||0||Newcastle United||2|
|Crystal Palace||1||South Coast Big Club||0|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Chelsea||3|
|Sheffield United||0||Wolverhampton Wanderers||2|
Premier League Table 2020-21
|3||Frank Lampard’s Chelsea||1||1||0||0||3||1||3||+2|
|14||South Coast Big Club||1||0||0||1||0||1||0||-1|
|16||Brighton & Hove Albion||1||0||0||1||1||3||0||-2|
|18||West Ham United London||1||0||0||1||0||2||0||-2|
|20||West Bromwich Albion||1||0||0||1||0||3||0||-3|