Tottenham Hotspur kick off their 2020/21 Premier League campaign as they welcome Everton to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
There could not have been many better ways to bring the Premier League campaign back to life than with games like Fulham vs Arsenal, Crystal Palace vs Southampton, and the goal-fest brought to us by Liverpool and Leeds United. On Sunday, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton lock horns in the hope they can entertain the fans while clinching the three points.
Last season was a roller-coaster of emotions for Spurs, who had started their season on the back of a Champions League final against Liverpool. However, the man responsible for taking them there – Mauricio Pochettino was sacked after gameweek 12 of the Premier League. A measly four hours after his sacking, Jose Mourinho replaced him to take charge.
Mourinho joined when the Lilywhites were placed 14th in the table and was able to redeem their season taking them to 6th on the last day of the season. That does not quite showcase the extent of his achievement, because, since his arrival, only Manchester United, Liverpool, and Manchester City won more points than Spurs.
Everton, too, went through much of the same, firing Marco Silva after 15 gameweeks into the season as they were left stranded in the relegation zone after a damning 5-2 loss to Liverpool. By the time the board went to search for a new coach, former Everton player Duncan Ferguson was appointed an interim manager,
Ferguson had to face Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal in the three-game spell as a coach but managed to stay unbeaten in the process, after which Carlo Ancelotti was hired as manager. The Toffees have already splashed some cash this transfer window bringing in Allan, James Rodriguez, and Abdoulaye Doucoure, and will hope to get back among the best in the country.
Team News & Tactics
Jose Mourinho has no sure-short concerns within his squad ahead of the game apart from Japhet Tanganga. Giovani Lo Celso is a doubt and will undergo a late fitness test to determine his involvement.
Harry Kane is expected to start up front for Tottenham and will hope to return to scoring form after failing to register a single goal in the international break against Denmark and Iceland. He did, however, end the club season with five goals in the last three games.
He will be aided by a Lucas Moura on the right and Heung-min Son on the left. Steven Bergwijn is in contention to start as well after scoring the winner for Spurs against Birmingham City in a pre-season friendly, but will likely be dropped in the hope of giving him some rest after he featured in both games for the Netherlands.
Spurs completed the signing of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg from Southampton for a fee of £15 million, with the Danish international in line to make his debut against Everton. He will feature alongside Moussa Sissoko as part of the double pivot which will play behind Dele Alli, who will start in the hole as the attacking midfielder.
Another latest addition – Matt Doherty – is tipped to start the game as the right-back, after playing as a wing-back for Wolves for four years. He will be accompanied by familiar faces in defence as Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, and Ben Davies should complete the backline. Finally, captain Hugo Lloris is expected to hold the fort for Spurs in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Doherty, Dier, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Højbjerg; Moura, Alli, Son; Kane
Ancelotti heads into the game with four absentees. The most prominent of those come in the form of Mason Holgate, who was the Italian manager’s first-choice centre-half if last season is anything to go by. Fabian Delph and Cenk Tosun will watch the game from the sidelines, while Jean-Philippe Gbamin is yet to return since picking up an Achilles injury more than a year ago.
Jordan Pickford will continue as Everton’s starting goalkeeper, and he will be screened by a familiar back-four. Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne will provide the width from the defence on the right and left sides respectively, while Yerri Mina and Michael Keane ought to start the game at the heart of the defence.
We expect newcomer Allan to make his debut against Spurs as part of a double pivot, starting alongside Andre Gomes, who is fit and available. Everton have plenty of options in these positions with Tom Davies, Beni Baningme and Abdoulaye Doucoure ready to provide some stiff competition.
Richarlison is expected to play on the left-wing as opposed to the second-striker role he was deployed in for the majority of last season. Theo Walcott will take the slot on the right, while James Rodriguez stars as the no. 10.
In front of them, Dominic Calvert-Lewin will start as the sole striker hoping to continue his exploits from last season. The Englishman managed 13 goals across the season for the Toffees, but failed to score in his last 10 games for the club.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Allan, Gomes; Walcott, Rodriguez, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin
- Everton and Tottenham Hotspur have faced each other 56 times before in the Premier League, with the latter registering 27 wins. Everton have won just eight, while 21 have been ties.
- Everton have won just three of their 28 away Premier League matches against Tottenham, with all three wins coming in consecutive seasons between 2006-07 and 2008-09 – they are winless in 11 visits since November 2008 (D4 L7).
- The previous meeting between the two clubs took place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the hosts got the better of the visitors thanks to an own goal by Michael Keane.
- Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti have met six times on previous occasions, and at the moment, the record stands 4-2 in favour of The Special One.
- The last time Everton won against Spurs was in December 2012, at the Goodison Park as Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic grabbed three points for Everton with two goals in the 90th minute.
Player to Watch
Despite his continually excellent output, Harry Kane looked like a shadow of his former self at times last season. For the sake of the team, Kane has been slowly roving deeper and taking responsibility to conduct play instead of acting as a focal point for the attack, spraying long balls towards the wing in the attempt to find the quick feet of Lucas Moura, Heung-min Son, or Steven Bergwijn.
This may have made Kane a less of a threat in the penalty area, but it has added a different dimension to his game, making him a threat with the ball in any position he takes up. The 2018 World Cup Golden Boot winner put the blues of the opening month behind him last season, breaking his streak of never scoring in August by hitting two past Aston Villa on opening day. Tomorrow, he goes again against a revitalised Everton.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Everton
Everton will go into this game with a team that looks as good as new, at least up the midfield onwards. The addition of new faces in the centre of the park is bound to increase healthy competition, and consequently, performance.
However, last season, the Tottenham squad got exactly what was needed – a new face on the touchlines who could add new energy into the team. They reached their peak with Mauricio Pochettino, who was without a doubt one of the best in the world but was drained of motivation. And this was visible as they rose from 14th to 6th, attaining 45 additional points in the process.
The game is bound to run down to the wire on Sunday and could end up being one of the best matches from the opening day. And, The Hard Tackle predicts Jose Mourinho & co. to go home with the three points.