There’s an obvious conclusion to draw from this bizarre affair. Neither team were/are good enough to claim a victory—both are essentially playing out doomed seasons in the league—Everton won’t be relegated but neither do they appear to be a top half club and their manager is not long for this world.
Spurs won’t finish Top Four, might miss Europe altogether, and are simply in transition toward whatever the club will start to become after a transfer window or two, whatever the identity of the manager is. Neither showed enough spark, inspiration or ability tonight to deserve a victory.
As for the way it happened, they gifted us a ball, and after an hour of one futile possession in their third after another, Dele got the ball in space, made a nice inside cut, and an even better shot low left corner for what seemed for about five minutes could be a winner.
Until Andre Gomes (joining Richarlison) started to get all shi*housy and, for the second time in the last seven months, Heung-Min Son saw the red mist and a gruesome injury resulted. Technically Son’s offense was probably not worthy of a red—since it was the fall into Aurier’s boot that broke Gomes’ ankle—but what choice did Martin Atkinson have? Asking this defense—which generally had a solid game—to hold out for nearly 20 minutes was a bridge too far—Foyth gave too much space and Sanchez was unable to mark Tosun who produced a quality header for the equalizer. Spurs were a bit fortunate that Dele hadn’t been hit with a penalty minutes earlier on a cross that appeared to have hit the Everton’s player shoulder before grazing off of Dele’s arm which was raised above his head in a decidedly unnatural position. And Sanchez was inches away from handing the game to Richarlison at the death.
So now we lose Son for three games—we can only hope Lamela and Kane are both back and healthy. I thought it was a coin flip as to which of the absentees we missed more—gone is the squad that just last December tallied six times at this same venue—for most of this game Spurs were clueless in the Everton end—Eriksen and Dele simply shells of their former selves. The defense overall played well—Sanchez had a couple of shaky possessions early on but had a nice time of it with Richarlison but for his final near-error.
Serge Aurier played well and it appeared as if the substitution of Foyth was as much to take a traumatised defender by the Gomes injury off as it was to bring the Argentinian on. Ndombele had some near-brilliant moments but also gave the ball up too much for my taste, and was guilty (as were a couple of others) of trying some 1 v 3 or 1 v 4 hero ball before Dele’s goal. Lucas was mostly outmatched by the stronger and bigger Everton defense; and before his moment of madness, I thought Son was held fairly well in check.
This is simply one of those seasons where things aren’t going to work out. Last year we rode a lot of good fortune to a Champions League final before it all went poof in 20 seconds with Mane’s ball off Sissoko’s arm. Perhaps we can beat Red Star this week and at least know we could get one more knockout round in Europe. But my guess is something bizarre will happen and we will be held to a draw or even lose. Given the quality of Chelsea and Leicester, top four appears to be a huge improbability—top 6 or 7 might even be beyond our reach. (The Blades come to London next weekend. They are in 6th position. Need I say more? All we can hope is that we learn some things about which players will be aprt of the future, and that some of them grow into their roles. Beyond that it is destined to disappoint us at every turn, this doomed season.
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