Date : –  Saturday 23rd December 2023 Kick off : –  15.00
Competition : –  Premier League Venue : –  Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Crowd : –  61,808
Referee : –  Stuart Attwell (Leamington Spa) Linesmen : – Mr. Richard West; Mr. James Mainwaring
Fourth official : – Tim Robinson
VAR official : – Michael Oliver VAR Assistant : – Harry Lennard
Weather : –  Mild, dry
Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the Park Lane end
Playing time : –   90 + 13 minutes


    Richarlison  08m 48s   Gomes  82m 23s
    Son  17m 28s   
  Kulusevski  (preventing a free-kick being taken )  86   Gueye  (foul on Richarlison)  23
       Onana  (foul on Royal)  26
       Gomes  (dissent)  75
      Patterson  (foul on Johnson)  83


13.   Guglielmo VICARIO 1.   Jordan PICKFORD
23.   Pedro PORRO 2.   Nathan PATTERSON   
17.   Cristian ROMERO  (  15.   Eric DIER  46)  6.   James TARKOWSKI  (c)
33.   Ben DAVIES 32.   Jarrad BRANTHWAITE
12.   Emerson ROYAL 29.   Vitalii MYKOLENKO
4.   Oliver SKIPP 27.   Idrissa GUEYE     (  21.   Andre GOMES     24   )  
29.   Pape Matar SARR  (  18.   Giovani Lo CELSO  73)   8.   Amadou ONANA     (  14.   BETO  79) 
22.   Brennan JOHNSON  11.   Jack HARRISON  (  10.   Arnaut DANJUMA  66) 
21.   Dejan KULUSEVSKI    37.   James GARNER
7.   Heung-Min SON  (c)  7.   Dwight McNEIL
9.   RICHARLISON  (  5.   Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG  63) 9.   Dominic CALVERT-LEWIN
Substitutes Substitutes
20.   Fraser FORSTER 12.   Neves VIRGINIA
65.   Alfie DORRINGTON 31.   Andy LONERGAN
35.   Ashley PHILLIPS 22.   Ben GODFREY
11.   Bryan GIL 5.   Michael KEANE
36.   Alejo VELIZ 58.   Mackenzie HUNT
63.   Jamie DONLEY 28.   Youssef CHERMITI

    = Assist        =  Goal scored       =  Own goal scored

Manager : –  Ange Postecoglou Manager : –  Sean Dyche
Kit Supplier : – Nike Kit Supplier : – Hummel
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Colours : –
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Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website


A fine start to the match put Tottenham 2-0 up on Everton, who staged a comeback, but lacking a reliable goal-scorer, could not take their chances, although they did have a VAR decision go against them to wipe out one goal, so Sean Dyche had something to moan about, but they scored late on and pushed for an equaliser, only to be denied by the superb Guglielmo Vicario.  The match was a battle between two contrasting styles, with Everton all grit and effort, while Spurs eased through the game with a style associated with the club, but that is not to say that the Merseysiders were not effective with their play, as it had earned them a good run coming into the game following the deduction of ten points for breaching financial regulations.

Tottenham kicked off the first half, unusually playing towards the South Stand from the start of the game, but they were soon into their stride.  Without the suspended Udogie and Bissouma, Oliver Skipp came in alongside Pape Matar Sarr and Emerson Royal slotted in at left back in a 4-2-3-1 formation and it was Sarr who had the first effort of the match, digging a volley to Dejan Kulusevski’s cross into the ground, which took a lot of power out of the shot and it bounced comfortably into Pickford’s hands.  That was in the first minute of the match and Everton soon after won a corner that was headed out to Mykolenko who struck a shot that came off someone in the box, but kindly went straight to Guglielmo Vicario, who was to play a vital part in our win.

Referee Attwell had a lax game, allowing lots to go unpunished and when Son was fouled around the edge of the Everton box, he waved play on, only for no advantage to be gained as the visitors took the ball off Skipp and had a break of their own, which was only stopped by Cristian Romero making a great tackle on Calvert-Lewin at the expense of a corner.  Most good referees let play go on for a short while and then pull it back if nothing comes from the advantage, but that didn’t happen with Attwell.  With Everton having a height advantage and with Branthwaite standing on Vicario at corners, Tottenham defended them very well on the whole. 

There was an early goal for Spurs as they put together a very good move down the right wing.  Brennan Johnson and Pedro Porro worked the ball well to Sarr, who played a really good through ball down the line for Johnson, whose low first time cross to the near post was perfect for Richarlison to tuck away between keeper and post to give Tottenham a ninth minute lead.  It was the finish of a player who has found some goals and found his confidence, with this being his fourth in three matches.  Richi’s run left Tarkowski trailing as he got ahead of the defender and showed a goal-scoring instinct that we have been waiting for since his arrival.  After his groin operation, he certainly looks more like a £60 million player than when he was hampered by the condition.

At this stage of the match Everton were chasing shadows.  Spurs were finding it easy to play through the lines and with Royal doing a fine impression of Udogie, he got down the left to lift a ball to the back of the area, where Johnson was unmarked.  Brennan took the shot first time and fired it over the bar, but he knew he should have done better, with a second goal at his point probably killing the game.  A one goal lead, as we have found out recently, is a precarious one and Everton went forward with what looked like a good opportunity, but McNeil put his shot from the left side well wide on the other side of the goal.  Calvert-Lewin was the next to have a go at goal, meeting Mykolenko’s left wing cross with a header at the near post that Vicario reacted well to and pushed out with both hands and our keeper had to be alert as McNeil tried to beat our high-line, but Vic’s header dropped to Calvert-Lewin.  The Everton striker was off balance when he tried to hook the ball into the unguarded net, ending up putting it high into the North Stand from 35 yards out.  It wouldn’t have counted anyway, as the offside flag had belatedly gone up against McNeil.

From the free-kick, the ball went to Kulusevski on the left and his cross-field pass to Johnson was then played inside the full-back for Porro, but it was a bit short and Branthwaite cleared it for a corner.  Pedro took it short to Johnson, who played it to Kulu on the right hand corner of the box from where he returned to to Brennan, who had made a move into the area with his marker McNeil switching off, allowing him to shoot at goal.  Pickford beat out the effort that was straight at him, but it went straight out to the penalty spot, where Heung-Min Son hit it back at goal, with not the cleanest strike of his life, but it was enough to bounce it low past a cluster of players and in to make it 2-0 in the 18th minute.  Son’s 11th goal of the season went past four Everton players and the goalkeeper and while it was taken quickly, his shot found the gap inside the post that found the net.  It was another fine finish from our captain that punished Everton for some sloppy defending.

Soon after the second goal, Richarlison had the ball played up to him inside the Spurs half and Gueye scissored him, leaving him clutching his ankle, while the Everton player limped for a bit and then sat down.  Spurs stopped a promising attack (which was restarted with a drop ball to us that we could only play back to the keeper) and as Dyche complained on the touchline, Gueye was booked (rightly) for his challenge on Richi.  We all then had to wait because the Everton management couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery or even ready a substitute to replace the midfielder.

Ironically, injuring himself was the best thing to happen for Everton, who, up until this point, didn’t have much of a clue how to stop Spurs.  Andre Gomes came on and shortly after Spurs started to be less effective.  Before that, we might have scored the goal of the season with passing move that saw Kulusevski, Sarr and Richarlison all move the ball on with their heels or the outside of their boots to leave the opposition players bemused and the fluidity only came to a halt when Emerson Royal was bundled over by Onana, who properly received a yellow card. 

Garner tried a shot from outside the box and it looked like Romero’s attempt to get a head on it might beat Vicario, but luckily, it dropped straight into his hands.  The keeper had to be alert when a long ball saw Calvert-Lewin get between Romero and Davies, with Guglielmo brave to come out at his feet and stop any danger, although the Everton striker went down like he had been bouncing on a mini-trampoline.  Romero went down and was hobbling for a little while, which was a bit of a worry, especially as we were still playing the ball out from the back to him.  Vic was in action again as he dived low to push aside a shot from Garner and then Skipp got in the way of a Gomes effort that came off an opponent for a goal-kick and he had to make another save from a Harrison shot in added time to preserve our two goal lead.

It had been a strange half, as we had played really well for 20 minutes and then Everton had the better of the next portion of the half.  They rarely looked like scoring, with unconvincing efforts on goal, but there was still a long way to go.

The second half started with Eric Dier on for Cristian Romero, who had obviously suffered in the clash with Calvert-Lewin, so there wasn’t a great deal of re-arrangement in the side required, with Eric slipping straight into the middle of the back four.  There was a hilarious moment when Patterson tried to clear a ball up the line, but only succeeded in booting it straight into Harrison’s groin.  Perhaps someone will get him some nuts for Christmas !  Five minutes after the restart, Gomes robbed Royal of the ball and played in Calvert-Lewin in the right side of the area and his low shot went across Vicario into the opposite bottom corner.  Having just given Everton a free-kick for a soft push on Onana by Skipp in the Everton half, it took a long time for VAR to look at it and then advise Attwell to look at it on the monitor and then a minute more to disallow it.  The monitor was surrounded by Everton players which should have brought them all a yellow card each, but they weren’t punished, so they will do it again next time.  Gomes’ foul was a lot worse than Skipp’s, putting his knee into Emerson’s standing leg and putting an arm around his neck, but at least the decision gave Dyche something to complain about.  Obviously, it’s OK when a soft decision is awarded to his team and he then started indicating to his players to get stuck in, paying more heed to the sponsorship on their sleeves, which read “KICK”.

When we did get the ball we put together some decent moves and Kulusevski’s switch of play to find Johnson on the right saw him set up Porro, whose shot was blocked but then Sarr was lined up for a shot that Pickford couldn’t hold.  Everton carried a hint of a threat and when Harriso played a ball over the back four with the outside of his right boot, it put James Garner in the right side box with time and space.  His first touch was good, but his finish only resulted in the ball shaving the outside of the far post to go out for a goal-kick.

Richarlison, who had gone down holding his back a few minutes earlier was taken off with Hojbjerg coming on and Son moving up top, then our former loan player Arnaut Danjuma replaced the disappointing Harrison.  Danjuma got a good hand from the Spurs crowd, as most felt he was a little unlucky not to get more playing time during his spell with us. The changes prefaced a period of Everton pressure, as a shot from a corner being blocked by a number of bodies in front of the goal, with the inevitable shouts of “handball” going up, then another corner with Vic being hindered by Branthwaite, who made a “What did I do ?” gesture to the ref, having done the same thing at corners all match.  Pape had run his socks off and Ange brought on Gio Lo Celso to try and hold the ball better, with the intention of doing it further up the pitch, as we were being pushed back by the Everton press.  

Kulusevski showed why he is becoming such a key player, by using his strength to shrug off Patterson, who wasn’t able to foul him, then drive a shot in at the near post that Pickford shovelled around the post.  Gomes got a booking for dissent, which was the least of his offences and then, when free inside the left  channel in the box, hit the side netting instead of trying to go across the keeper.  Onana had committed a couple of niggly fouls after getting booked, so Dyche decided to take him off and bring on striker Beto.  Within three minutes, the Toffees had a goal back.  There were 82 minutes on the clock when Dier blocked a shot from Danjuma for corner and it was headed out, but not far enough, going to Gomes a couple of yards inside the box and his low shot beat Vicario into the opposite bottom corner.  It made for an uncomfortable last eight minutes plus whatever was going to be added on when we were so much better than them at the start of the match.

Patterson finally got a yellow card after a number of rash tackles and it was for a tackle on Johnson that was so late it could have got a job delivering for Royal Mail.  The tackle was heartily applauded by Dyche of course.  When a Spurs move broke down just after nothing had come from the free-kick, a switch form right to left put Danjuma away in acres of space and he bore down on the penalty area, letting go a left foot shot looking for the top corner across Vicario, but the keeper reached up with his left hand to turn the ball over the bar with a super save, especially as it took a slight deflection of Dier’s shin on the way.  Our goalie’s reflexes are incredible and his flexibility to change direction when already committed to the dive is amazing.  When he was beaten by Tarkowski’s far post header at the corner, Ben Davies was behind him to stop the ball in front of goal. It still needed Vicario to claw the ball away from Beto’s head as it had gone up in the air from So’s attempted clearance before Hojbjerg hammered it away as Porro and Skipp were left on the floor.  Forever being in the fourth official’s ear, Dyche and his assistant wanted a penalty, although I am not quite sure what for, but they obviously thought they deserved it and it gave Dyche something to moan about (and whatever happened to only one person being allowed in the technical area ?).  The referee restarted the match with a free-kick to Spurs, which he hadn’t given at the time, but with Skipp pulled down off the ball and then Branthwaite trampling over Porro, it is hard to think why he didn’t see it.

Dejan picked up a senseless yellow card for kicking the ball away, but he was almost out on his feet, having put so much into the game.  Danjuma showed good skill to dart between Kulu and Porro, but Lo Celso made a good sliding tackle to concede a corner before he could get the ball across.  When it did come into the Spurs box form the corner, McNeil went down with Dyche wanting a penalty, but it was only a collision that happened because Tarkowski was pulling the front of Son’s shirt to spin him around into the Everton winger.

Lo Celso and Porro were doing well to stop Danjuma on their left wing and when Spurs did get the opportunity to break, Gio played a neat nutmeg through Tarkowski’s legs on the centre circle before spreading play left to Johnson.  Gio then flicked the ball over Beto’s head, but the ref gave a foul for Royal on Garner when the Everton man ran into him.  There was a nice ironic touch when Calvert-Lewin stood in front of Vicario holding his fingers up to try to make the referee do something about him holding the ball.  All a bit rich coming from someone who has Jordan Pickford in his team !

Three miutes into added time, Spurs had a break on when the hopeless Patterson had the ball taken off him by Lo Celso as he chased back and he eased past the defender again before bending a ball into Son’s path.  He got into the left side of the box and tried to square it, as he didn’t have an angle to shoot, but there was only Kulusevski coming in and Branthwaite cleared.   The ball went to Gomes, who played a long pass from the edge of the box as he slipped, but it still found Danjuma on the left wing.   Eric Dier stuck with him as he ran at the box and hit his shot over the bar.  The Everton manager wanted a corner and was on at the fourth official about it, so it least it gave Dyche something to moan about.  And then the fourth official went to speak to Ange about leaving his technical area.  What a joke these officials are.  

Into the last minute of added time, McNeil lifted a ball from the right over the Spurs defenders to the far post and Danjuma ran in to hit a volley that came off the underside of the bar off Vicario’s thigh, onto the post and it was cleared.  Danjuma had been flagged offside, but Attwell decided that we should play on for some odd reason, which lead to the ball being turned over and Everton came on the attack again.  As it happened, the unimpressive Garner was tackled by Lo Celso and was on his knees looking like he couldn’t take the pace of the game.  The ball went back to Pickford and he played it wide to Patterson, who let it run out of play.  And that was it.

It had been a game where we had to hang on, but that is what the team did.  Riding their luck on occasion and the last incident was shown that Danjuma had been onside and that the ball had failed to cross the line by centimetres, but to say that we deserve a little luck isn’t an understatement – either in this match or throughout the season so far.  The goal that was rightly ruled out for Everton was something that brought out the “Corrupt” chants from their supporters, but there was little wrong with the decision and if Everton feel hard done by, then they should look at their own players who let them down.

As for Spurs, there was some vintage football when we were in the ascendancy and when it swung the other way, we showed that we could dig in the grind out a result.  It was hard to see why we suddenly lost control halfway through the first half and we were lucky we were only playing Everton, but the confidence they have gained over the last four games kept them in the game.  Speaking to one of their fans on the way to the station he said that they had played like that the whole season, but lacked a clinical finisher, with Dyche blamed for persisting with Calvert-Lewin when they spent a lot on Beto.  

Guglielmo Vicario is never ceasing to amaze.  He has no right to make some of the saves he does and his decision making is usually spot on, especially when he has to come out of his area.  The fluidity of some of our moves was a joy to behold and every player put in a full shift today, so I hope that the injuries Romero and Richarlison were withdrawn for are not serious.  Pape Matar Sarr was outstanding and Ben Davies did really well, as did Porro.  Johnson put in a great ball for Richarlison’s goal and caused panic for the second, Kulsevski was strong and showed greats stamina, while Son’s runs caused the Everton defence problems every time he went at them.  

While the team is still a work in progress, as Ange reiterates to the press, having to cope with changes in personnel because of injuries and suspensions, so there is not the excuses offered by Man United staff and the squad is coping with the loss of key players in a way that United are not.  This Spurs side are far from the finished article, but watching them develop is exciting … sometimes a little too exciting on the old heart and blood pressure !  But if it was any other way, it wouldn’t be Tottenham would it ?

News after the match that Patterson had pushed a ball boy came as little surprise.  He had been doing the same to the Spurs players all game, seemingly unable to rely on tackling with his feet.  Shockingly, I don’t suppose that the incident will find it’s way into the referee’s report, as he probably didn’t notice it at the time, although Bentancur and Romero did while sitting on the bench.  Maybe Dyche is  shaping the team in his own image, but they will need a bit more than that to be more successful.

There are two more matches next week before the FA Cup comes around, so the team need to be sharp against Brighton and Bournemouth to add a Happy New Year to a Merry Christmas. 

Pete Stachio


  • Tottenham completed 30 consecutive scoring games in the Premier League.
  • The second goal Tottenham scored was their 100th against Everton in the Premier League, more goals than Spurs have scored against any other team.
  • The second Spurs goal was the 300th scored against Everton in all competitions.


Crystal Palace 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
Aston Villa 1 Sheffield United 1
West Ham United London 2 Mancashter United 0
Fulham 0 Burnley 2
Luton Town 1 Newcash United 0
Nottingham Forest 2 AFC Bournemouth 3
Liverpool 1 Woolwich Wanderers 1
Mancashter City P Brentford P
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Chelsea 1

Premier League Table 2023-24

Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Points Goal difference
1 Woolwich Wanderers 18 12 4 2 36 16 40 +20
2 Liverpool 18 11 6 1 37 16 39 +21
3 Aston Villa 18 12 3 3 38 22 39 +16
4 Tottenham Hotspur 18 11 3 4 37 24 36 +13
5 Mancashter City 17 10 4 3 40 20 34 +20
6 West Ham United London 18 9 3 6 31 30 30 +1
7 Newcash United 18 9 2 7 36 22
29 +14
8 Mancashter United 18 9 1 8 18 23 28 -5
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 18 7 6 5 34 31 27 +3
10 Chelsea 18 6 4 8 29 28 22 +1
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 6 4 8 23 30 22 -7
12 AFC Bournemouth 17 6 4 7 24 32 22 -8
13 Fulham 18 6 3 9 26 31 21 -5
14 Brentford 17 5 4 8 24 24 19 0
15 Crystal Palace 18 4 6 8 18 26 18 -8
16 Everton 18 8 2 8 23 22 16* +1
17 Nottingham Forest 18 3 5 10 19 33 14 -14
18 Luton Town 17 3 3
11 18 32 12 -14
19 Burnley 18 3 2 13 18 36 11 -18
20 Sheffield United 18 1 3 13 13 44 9 -31

*  10 points deducted