Tottenham host Everton at White Hart Lane in our star match of the week in the Barclays Premier League.
Our soccer analyst this week is a familiar face. He was among our Three Musketeers who entertained you with their in-depth views and near-perfect predictions of all the Premier League games last season. We welcome back Kayode Tijani.
Tottenham will surely want to avoid the ignoble feat of 2008 when they failed to win one of their opening four matches of a season when Everton travels to White Hart Lane on Saturday.
The north London club has just two points in three matches, taking leads against Stoke City and Leicester City before conceding late to finish with draws. They lost their opening game of the season to Manchester United who are reported to be chasing Harry Kane.
The striker has yet to get off the mark this season, and I think he needs quality assist up front. All that could change with the $30 million capture of South Korean attacker Heung-Min Son who is yet to get his work permit, though.
Everton are coming into this game off a 2-0 loss to Manchester City and with four points in three games which is better than Spurs who are languishing in 16th place with two points.
Weak Defences v Strong Forwards
The lack of additional options in the attack has hurt Tottenham in their last two games but Harry Kane and his manager Mauricio Pochettino should not sweat over the Everton’s back four. With a defence featuring first-choice centre-backs Jagielka and Stones, the Toffees were just as bad defensively against Barnsley in the League Cup game on Wednesday.
Lukaku has started the new campaign strongly, scoring twice each against Southampton and Burnley. If Spurs grant him the same space they have Mame Biram Diouf and Mahrez in recent weeks, it could be spell doom for them.
Ryan Mason and Eric Dier v James McCarthy and Gareth Barry
Another key focus point is the middle of the park. Eric Dier and Ryan Mason have not done a bad job in Spurs midfield but the team needs a true defensive midfielder for them to stop conceding cheap goals.
It will be interesting to see how the young duo of Dier and Mason contains James McCarthy and Gareth Barry. The Everton midfielders have been partnering each other in the team’s engine room for the past two seasons and they look compatible. McCarthy provides the energy and controls the rhythm while Barry shields the defence.
Whichever midfield controls the game will contribute significantly to the outcome of the match.
With just two points from their opening three Premier League games, Tottenham could again do with a confidence boost against Everton. And I see them winning this match with a slim 2-1 scoreline.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Sun 24/05/15 BPL Everton 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Sun 30/11/14 BPL Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Everton
Sun 09/02/14 BPL Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Everton
Sun 03/11/13 BPL Everton 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Sun 07/04/13 BPL Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Everton
Key match stats (supplied by Opta)
Tottenham are unbeaten in their last six Barclays Premier League games at home to Everton (W4 D2).
Everton have failed to score in three of their last four Premier League games with Spurs.
Spurs have beaten Everton more times (22) in the Premier League than any other opponent and scored more goals (66) against them than versus any other team too.
Spurs’ win percentage at home under Mauricio Pochettino is 50%, lower than Sherwood (73%), Redknapp (64%), Villas-Boas (52%) and Jol (59%).
Following a run of eight defeats in nine Premier League games on the road, the Toffees have now lost just one of the last five (W3 D1 L1).
Harry Kane has scored just two goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances. In the 11 PL apps before this, he had scored 14 goals.
Kane has only managed two shots on target in 244 minutes this season (every 122 mins), whereas from his first start of 2014-15 in November until the end of that season he averaged one every 57 minutes.
Roberto Martinez has won just one of his five Premier League games as a manager against Mauricio Pochettino (W1 D1 L3) and has lost each of the last three versus the Argentine.
Everton have won their last two Premier League trips to London – they have never won three successive PL away games in the capital.
PREDICTIONS OF OTHER FIXTURES
Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace
Bournemouth 1-1 Leicester City
Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland
Manchester City 3-1 Watford
Stoke City 2-0 West Brom
Liverpool 2-1 West Ham
Southampton 0-0 Norwich City
Swansea City 1-1 Manchester United