Post by Matthew Barry on Sept 14, 2020 5:14:15 GMT
Spurs (a) London Calling
It’s always hard to temper your optimism after a game like that. The last opening game of the season where I had so much hope & expectation was 1988 & a Tony Cottee hattrick. It really is hard, because we’re just not used to it... and that’s a shame in itself.
But all the new boys started, after a week of pure positivity it was game time. Just how would it all knit together?
Carlo Ancelotti is a smooth operator, we know this. 4-4-2 was what we’ve been told, yet he gives us 4-3-3 and the reintroduction of a potent Andre Gomes, Richarlison off the left, James off the right & the 2 players that we’ve been crying out for.
Spurs only had 1 preseason game, a defeat to Watford & from kick off they were slow & weak. Everton were the complete opposite, playing with passion, desire, pace & more importantly an identity. Richarlison was a constant thorn in the side of the debuting Doherty, James was everything we had hoped for, hopefully it will continue, but he will need careful management.
A Ben Davies lose ball across the field just passed halfway & Richarlison was onto it like a flash, Alderweireld running through treacle couldn’t get there in time & our man was one on one with Lloris. A shift to the left and he was around the keeper, shoot or pass to DCL? Wrong choice as he couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball and it went out of play at the near post. Chance gone, this is where it usually goes downhill....
The wretched Son at the other end was getting the better of Coleman early on, & he cut inside & played an in-swinging ball that beat Mina & Keane only for the outstretched Kane to miss is it too & Pickford watched it go wide. And from an Everton corner a fast break saw Son chose Alli instead of Kane & he forced a good save from Pickford.
Allan & Doucoure were providing not just energy, but pressure on Winks & Hojbjerg that would see reinforcements called at Halftime for Spurs. This is something that was so lacking last season. Andre Gomes was now awarded time & freedom, he was able to play forward & look for Doucoure running past him aswell as the front 3.
James cutting in from the right was proving to be a menace, every touch, cross-field pass & through ball showed his level, & he came close with a shot that went just wide of Lloris’s goal.
Pickford having made a smart save from the vastly overrated Alli then made a game changing save from Doherty who was played in by Kane after a very neat one-two. It wasn’t game changing in the sense that it turned the game in our favour, but game changing in the sense that mentally Everton shrugged it off & didn’t panic. HT 0-0. Very good!!
No changes for us, Alli off & Sissoko on for Spurs to try & match the strength (yes strength!) of Doucoure & Allan. But it had little to no effect as Everton continued to absolutely dominate the ball. It was a joy to watch, the 3 new signings have raised this team by 2 levels, their game management has brought a calmness.
A freekick just over the halfway line saw Digne steal a few more yards to create a better angle. His ball was pinpoint in between the Spurs centre halves & DCL bulleted a header passed Lloris that the keeper could only stand still & watch hit the back of the net. Pandemonium amongst out players, a real group celebration. a really deserved lead.
The tiring Gomes was replaced by Sigurdsson, no shape change, like for like. Again Richarlison in off the left & shooting wide. It could have genuinely been 6-2 to Everton & revenge for a couple years ago at Goodison, but a domineering 0-1 would have been taken all day long by all Blues, and that’s what we got. DCL had a half chance to make it 0-2 & James had a half chance but miscued. Richarlison ended up with 7 shots on goal, Everton out shooting Spurs 15 shots to 9. All this due to having a competent midfield & sprinkle of stardust. FT 0-1.
Carlo knew what he wanted, it was a matter of time before he got it, now he has it. The bench today was strong & they’ll know that to get into that team they will have to show everything they didn’t last season & the seasons before that. Time isn’t on their side.
Onto Wednesday & the chance to make Gary Neville eat his words twice in 4 days.