Sunday’s match up between Everton and Spurs, pitches two of the Premier League’s inform sides together as the battle for the top four and Champions League football slowly heats up. At half time on Sunday a quarter of the Premier League season will have passed by and it has to be deemed a successful introduction to life at Everton for Roberto Martinez.
Three draws have been followed by five wins in the last six matches, with Everton now in touching distance of all but Arsenal at the top of the league. A win on Sunday, combined with results going Everton’s way elsewhere could see the Blues finish the weekend in the Champions League places for the first time this season.
The two teams have had impressive starts to the season and it is no surprise to see the Sky Sports camera’s at Goodison for this meeting of two of English football’s top sides. Last season the sides served up some brilliant football, with Everton edging the corresponding fixture 2-1 thanks to two late goals from Pienaar and Jelavic. The tie at White Hart Lane was equally entertaining, with the sides drawing 2-2 in an enthralling game that ebbed in both directions before Spurs equalised in the dying moments.
Everton don’t have a great Premier League record against Tottenham, but that record has rapidly improved in recent seasons, with Everton unbeaten in the last six matches on Merseyside. Indeed, the last three Goodison meetings have all ended with Everton victories and the Blues will hope to continue that record against AVB’s Spurs. Nikica Jelavic has scored the decisive goal in each of the last two seasons and Everton may look to the Croatian from the bench, especially if the match remains tight in the closing stages.
Our archive footage comes from the 1989-90 season and another 2-1 win for Everton. The Tottenham side that day included Paul Gascoinge and ex Blue Gary Lineker, with Gazza creating the Spurs equaliser for Paul Allen. Prior to that Everton had been on top and opened the scoring through Mike Newell, who was enjoying an electric start to the season. The brilliant Neville Southall kept Everton in the game with an outstanding save to deny David Howells, before Kevin Sheedy popped up with the winner to ensure Colin Harvey and his team celebrated victory.
Martinez is unlikely to make any changes to his starting line-up, although he does have the option of brining Leon Osman in for the young and impressive Ross Barkley. Osman played exceptionally well off the bench at Villa last week, but Barkley has enjoyed a very impressive season to date and Martinez is likely to remain faithful to his young prodigy. On the bench Johnny Heitinga is fit to return, but Arouna Kone is likely to be out for a couple of months, with his knee injury suffered against Hull, much worse than first hoped.
Possible Starting Team: Howard; Baines, Coleman; Distin, Jagielka; Barry, McCarthy, Barkley; Pienaar, Mirallas, Lukaku.