Antonio Conte will take charge of his first Premier League as the manager of Tottenham Hotspur when they take on Everton at Goodison Park this weekend.

Another new era begins at Tottenham Hotspur. After having sacked Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo in the space of seven months, the Lilywhites will look to get their Premier League campaign back on track under the tutelage of new manager Antonio Conte when they travel north to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.

It will be Conte’s second game in charge of the team after he oversaw Spurs’ UEFA Europa Conference League clash against Vitesse Arnhem on Thursday – a frantic affair that ended 3-2 in favour of the north Londoners. The Italian tactician will be demanding major improvements from his team as they look to bounce back after losing their last two league games against West Ham and Manchester United.

Those results have seen Tottenham drop down to ninth place in the league table, five points off West Ham United in fourth. A win would potentially allow them to close down the gap, with the Hammers facing a tough fixture against Liverpool. And, in Everton, Conte & co. will have an opponent that is low on morale and there for the taking.

Indeed, the Toffees, after a fine start to the season, have gone off the boil of late, failing to win their last four Premier League games and losing each of their previous three – the latest being a 2-1 loss away to Wolves. After the wretched run of results, Rafael Benitez has come under pressure, which has seen Everton sink to tenth in the standings, just a point off of Tottenham.

The corresponding fixture last season had ended in a 2-2 draw with Harry Kane and Gylfi Sigurdsson cancelling each other out with a brace apiece. Ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday afternoon, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Everton

Everton will be without a few key players for the game against Tottenham, as Abdoulaye Doucoure, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina remain sidelined while Andre Gomes is also unavailable. However, Rafael Benitez has greeted some good news as Lucas Digne has returned to full fitness and is in contention to start.

The home team will set up in a 4-4-1-1 formation in front of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The England international will be protected by the centre-back pairing of Michael Keane and Mason Holgate, who will be flanked by the full-back duo of Seamus Coleman and the returning Digne, both of whom will look to provide an attacking outlet on the flanks.

Allan is a certain starter in the middle of the park, where he will look to shield the backline and initiate quick and effective turnovers to help his attacking teammates hit the visitors on the break. He will have support from veteran star Fabian Delph, while Andros Townsend and Alex Iwobi will occupy the wings.

Demarai Gray will occupy the No. 10 slot, where he will have the freedom to roam around in the final third to try and make things happen. With Calvert-Lewin unavailable, Richarlison will be the preferred option to occupy the No. 9 slot for Everton. Salomon Rondon will be an option from the bench for the Merseysiders.

Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne; Townsend, Allan, Delph, Iwobi; Gray; Richarlison

Tottenham

Tottenham will have to make do without the services of Bryan Gil and Ryan Sessegnon for the trip to Goodison Park. Other than that, Antonio Conte has a full-strength squad at his disposal as he gears up to take charge of his first Premier League game.

Conte will set his Tottenham team up with a three-man defensive system in front of goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris. Summer signing Cristian Romero should line up alongside Eric Dier and Ben Davies, who was preferred in the midweek game against Vitesse. However, they will need to tighten things up after looking shaky in the second period in the Conference League clash.

Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon ought to continue as the wing-backs on the right and left sides, respectively. Given the way Conte likes his teams to play, the duo will have a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders, attacking and defensive. Oliver Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg should be the two central midfielders for Tottenham. 

Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min are certain picks for the wide attacking slots for the north London outfit. With star striker Harry Kane struggling to find the back of the net, they will have to step up considerably in the final third.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Skipp, Hojbjerg, Reguilon; Moura, Kane, Son

Key Stats

  • Tottenham have won 27 Premier League games against Everton, more than against any other side.
  • Everton have won just one of their last 17 Premier League games against Tottenham (D8 L8), beating them 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September last season. 
  • Tottenham Hotspur have only scored nine Premier League goals in their first ten games this season, their fewest at this stage of a season since 2013-14 (also nine). Their tally of 103 shots is their fewest after 10 Premier League matches in any season since 2003-04 (when Opta began recording shot data).
  • Everton have lost nine home league matches in 2021, only ever losing 10 in a calendar year on three previous occasions, doing so in 1929, 1958 and most recently in 1993.
  • Harry Kane has scored just one goal in nine Premier League appearances this season, his fewest goals across a nine-game span in the top-flight since scoring once in nine games between August and October 2015. He is averaging 2.3 shots per 90 minutes in the league this season, his lowest average in any Premier League season for Spurs in which he’s played more than once.

Player to Watch

Son Heung-min

It has been a slow start to the season for Son Heung-min, which, along with Harry Kane’s struggles, have contributed to Tottenham’s poor run of form. In 14 games across all competitions this season, the 29-year-old has managed just five goals and two assists. However, having found the back of the net in the midweek clash against Vitesse Arnhem, the South Korean will need to build on that and help Spurs get back their season on track.

Prediction

Everton 1-2 Tottenham

Everton are going through a rut currently and have looked like a shell of the team that started the season so well. Injuries to the likes of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina haven’t helped Rafa Benitez. As for Tottenham, they made a fine start in Antonio Conte’s first game in midweek before giving in to the usual defensive lapses.

So, there is a good chance that Everton will get a goal past their visitors on Sunday. But, Tottenham could eke out a victory like they did against Vitesse, with Son and Kane likely to come to the party.

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