Tottenham returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane over top-four competitors Everton. Despite the game not being in Spurs control for the entire 90 minutes, the victory showed that the fight is not over as Tim Sherwood’s side move within three points of Liverpool in fourth.
Spurs began the game reasonably well. Christian Eriksen attempted to play Adebayor in early into affairs but the ball was slightly too far for the striker to reach. Everton had their own chance not long after, Osman found himself on the receiving end of a Mirallas ball, only for Lloris to miraculously claw it away from his goal. Lloris denied Osman not long after as the Englishman struck a dipping effort towards the Spurs goal.
Mirallas was proving to be the most threatening of all the travelling players. His invention and speed was forcing the Tottenham defence into retreat with Dawson often finding himself caught out as a result of the forward’s work. When the home side attempted to push forward, it was often very effective however when they reached the point of shooting, they often cowered away and passed to the side. There was no bite or fight within the ranks despite the hard work of the midfield. The twenty minute mark was something of a frightening one for the fans. Dawson slipped to provide Naismith with the ball, his cross was met by Vertonghen who’s clearance smashed into Paulinho and came sparkling across the Tottenham area, Lloris’ intervention was vital to prevent Osman from pouncing.
But the first half was something of a frustrating one. Despite at times looking comfortable on the ball and in possession, most of what was good about Tottenham was accidental and often when they were defensively strong or had made a good tackle, it looked purely accidental and if it had not been for these moments, Spurs could have found themselves behind. Towards the end of the half, spectators saw the very best of the full-backs from both teams. Walker and Baines were battling well for the ball which made for good viewing for the in-attendance, Roy Hodgson. On the other side of the pitch, Danny Rose was forcing his way through the backline and without the power of Seamus Coleman, he probably would have been more fortunate with the outcome.
The second half altered very quickly for Spurs. Despite beginning well and coming out of the blocks, just 10 minutes into the half, Sherwood’s men were on the receiving end of various Evertonian attacks. It more for fascinating viewing and at times was proving to be a clear indicator as to the strength of the top four battle this season. The crowd were behind the home side and finally, their patience was rewarded. Kyle Walker took a quick freekick to float the ball into the path of Adebayor, only for the striker to chest the ball down well, turn into the area with a marvellous touch and smash the ball into the tiniest possible gap to put Spurs into the lead. The goal was met with the traditional Adebayor salute.
The game began to teeter out as Spurs looked in control. The 85th minute saw the introduction of Jermain Defoe who received a heroes welcome as this was to be his final Premier League home game for Tottenham. The final whistle went and Spurs had secured a priceless win. Defoe was lifted off on the shoulders of his teammates after a lap of honour in which he kissed the badge emphatically. What a servant to the club this man has been.
Lloris – Cannot fault him, some world class saves (Excellent)
Walker – Beautiful assist but some poor crosses elsewhere. (Good)
Dawson – Nurse! (Average)
Vertonghen – One particularly memorable and composed tackle. (Good)
Rose – Total nutter. (Average)
Dembélé – Beauty in the form of dribbling (Excellent)
Paulinho – Disappeared a bit after a good game against Hull (Average)
Bentaleb – Some good challenges but didn’t really have a role (Not bad)
Lennon – Not the Lennon we are used to. Shame. (Average)
Eriksen – Again, disappeared a bit. (Average)
Adebayor – Just can’t get enough (Excellent)
MOTM – It’s a draw between Dembélé and Lloris. Both had very strong games. Wonderful stuff.