Tottenham look to make it 11 Premier League matches on the bounce without losing to Everton, a streak that goes back more than five years.
Coming off a disappointing home draw with West Ham, Spurs are once again in need of a bounce-back performance as they close in on Liverpool for the last available Champions League spot.
Current Tottenham ongoings
Spurs go into the match with the sixth best home record in the top flight, with only a single loss on their 2017-18 Wembley CV. You’d have to scroll back over four months to source Tottenham’s last home defeat, a 1-2 loss to Chelsea on Aug. 20. And, if you’re blessed with an elephant’s memory, you’ll recall Spurs dominating that particular fixture, too.
However, Tottenham’s almost unblemished home record is flawed by four draws, all of which against teams far the Lilywhites’ inferior. Just when you think Tottenham have reclaimed consistency expected of top teams, a result like the draw against Hammers brings Mauricio Pochettino’s men back down to Earth. Then again, the West Ham result would have been worse had it not been for Son Heung-Min’s heroics.
Suffering a single loss in eight matches, there are ostensible signs of Tottenham reaching their peak level. Son and Dele Alli are scoring again, crucial elements to a concerted Spurs resurgence.
Harry Kane, who is a goal shy of tying the Teddy Sheringham’s 97 for a share of the club record, is scoring at an otherworldly rate. His goals are assured, but Spurs’ continued success depends on the prodigiousness of the supporting cast.
According to PremierLeague.com, Son will become the second Tottenham player to score in five consecutive top flight matches with a goal against Everton; only Jermain Defoe can boast of that Spurs’ goal-scoring achievement.
Current Everton Premier League ongoings
Big Sam stormed in and righted an off-course, wayward Everton vessel destined to be shipwrecked. Initially, that is. Everton are winless in five matches since their unbeaten run under Sam Allardyce’s tenure. Reality is often a menacing thing to cope with, as Big Sam can attest.
But in classic Big Sam fashion, Everton’s once porous defence has seen a drastic improvement, both in the number of conceded goals and their shape on the pitch. More organized and disciplined, the Toffees defence is more compact and extremely difficult to penetrate.
But with the good comes the bad, and Everton’s offence is garishly bad. Kept off the score sheet in three of four matches, Everton mustered a single goal during that anemic stretch, scored by Idrissa Gueye in a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth.
Accentuating those scoring dilemmas is Everton’s abysmal away Premier League record. One win in their last 19 away outings underpins how miserable the Toffees perform away from Goodison. Everton, with a single victory on their travels this season, make identifying their away misgivings easier than pointing out Allardyce’s fixation on defence-first football.
While you’re not supposed to knock a man when he’s down, this is the top flight, an unforgiving league where merciful behaviour is a sign of weakness.
Spurs are a lot of things, but being weak is most certainly not among them. Look for Tottenham to add to Big Sam’s away misery on Saturday afternoon.
(This piece originally featured on Tottenham HQ. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)