Winning is everything, there is no doubt about that. Everything else comes after that; Tottenham learned that the hard way all these years. Spurs always had a reputation of not winning ugly when it mattered. Good football is what every Spurs fan wants but without the result, it means nothing. In my opinion Tottenham diminished that reputation under AVB. It seemed like they could only win ugly. Now, under Tim Sherwood, they are trying to do both, good football and big results. And today against Everton, they managed to get one of those and what a result that will prove to be at the end of the season. A one goal victory is nothing to be proud of, but against one of the best defences in the league, which not coincidentally, have one of the best away records in the league is going to feel good any day of the week.
At the start, it did not look good for Tottenham. The curse of the first 30 minutes almost haunted them yet again this season and they were extremely lucky not to go behind thanks to the heroics of Hugo Lloris and maybe the selfishness of Kevin Mirallas who could have easily found Naismith in the box on the counter for Everton. Then, Tottenham found the salvation in dominating the possession and passing the ball laterally. Starting Dembele in an attacking position proved to be the right decision for Tim Sherwood as the Belgian always looked to go forwards and used his strength to shake of defenders to keep the attack alive. Also, Bentaleb was so alert all game to get the balls back from Everton players in the attacking third and keeping the pressure on. However, Tottenham couldn’t send a shot on target in the first half and their best chance was an Adebayor miss after an inviting cross from Danny Rose. The problem was pretty obvious. Everton were pressing high, making the centre backs uncomfortable and closing down the Tottenham players in every part of the pitch. Spurs on the other hand were letting the Everton midfielders play the ball freely in the middle of the pitch and sitting back in their own defensive third. This helped Everton to dominate the possession in the final 10 minutes of the first half where Tottenham started to come out of their shells.
The second half showed that Tim Sherwood gave a helpful team talk, and Tottenham came out with a lot of energy and intention to attack. But, yet again they couldn’t find the opening they were looking for because Everton’s press was effective on Tottenham’s midfielders, especially Paulinho who was almost anonymous all game except from some moments. Also, the right flank players, Lennon and Walker were terrible in the attacking third, providing nothing but simple passes and blocked crosses. Also, Tottenham couldn’t attack Everton on the attack because Adebayor was drifting to the flanks all game long therefore there was no one to aim for in the middle of the park. The game was up and down for both of the teams but none of them proved a real threat in the second half and made the fans wonder how the opening goal was going to come and in the 65th minute, a piece of genius from Walker and Adebayor opened the score. After a free kick was given against Everton, almost all Toffees players switched off and forgot about Adebayor running behind the defence and Walker’s inch perfect pass and the quality of the Togolese striker combined for the only goal of the game and maybe one of the most important goals of the season for Spurs. At the end, Everton’s pressure was not effective at all, but Capoue could have been the villain as he stomped on Coleman’s foot in the box. Luckily for Spurs, the referee Mark Clattenburg waved away the protests and Spurs fans in the Lane took a huge sigh of relief.
This is a great win for Tottenham as they leapfrogged Everton to be fifth on the table and came back at Liverpool who embarrassed Arsenal at Anfield yesterday. However, there are still some questions about the team selection as Tim Sherwood played four central midfielders today and Lennon on the right. Andros Townsend is back now and Soldado could still be a part of the team, will Tim Sherwood stick with this formation or keep changing it until the end of the season to keep everybody happy? Newcastle is next on Wednesday and I am really curious to see if Tim Sherwood will shuffle the pack or stick with these players. Newcastle is going through some rough times right now and Tottenham couldn’t find a better time to strike and get couple of consecutive wins under their belt as crucial times are waiting for Tim Sherwood and his players.
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