Halfway through the Premier League season both Everton and Tottenham enter the new calendar year 2016 hoping to finish the campaign with the European places secured. Everton and Tottenham go head to head in contrasting forms, but with the same goals.
The Goodison outfit have suffered a dip in form which had their fans feeling a bit down following the flying start to the 2015/16 season. Everton are currently in the 11th place at the table with 26 points to the name, nine short of their Sunday rivals who are safe in the European zone. Despite the exciting football they have been producing for much of the term so far, the Toffees have been going through a sticky patch which saw them record only a single win in the last six Premier League outings. Roberto Martinez has been put under the spotlight with his position at the helm questioned by the media and pundits alike. Everton have finished the year 2015 with a nerve-breaking 4-3 loss to Stoke City and the fans will be quite disappointed with how the team reacted in the final match in the calendar year. With ten minutes on the clock Toffees looks on course for the triumph, but Joselu and Marko Arnautovic in the stoppage time made sure that Everton players were left empty-handed and disappointed. Liverpool-based club have one of the worst defensive records in the league outside the bottom-placed clubs and with their sights set on the European football Everton will have to improve their backline dramatically in the next year. On the other hand, Romelu Lukaku has been the brightest spark in the struggling squad with the towering Belgian netting 15 goals in 19 appearances this season and 11 in his last ten games in all competitions. With January transfer window now wide open, Roberto Martinez will have plenty of worries in keeping his young and exciting squad together.
Everton have lost more than just points against Stoke City as James McCarthy and Tom Cleverly sustained groin and Achilles problems respectively and will be forced to sit out through the affair.
Phil Jagielka, Tiyas Browning, Tony Hibbert, Bryan Oviedo and Steven Pienaar complete the injury list which is giving Roberto Martinez a huge headache ahead of the Tottenham match.
It’s an exciting time to be a Tottenham fan. Mauricio Pochettino’s charges have kept touch with the leading teams over the first part of the season and find themselves in fourth place at the beginning of the new calendar year. UEFA Champions League has been a dream for years now and Tottenham players seem well capable of achieving it this term. Not to be underestimated in their excellent run, the Spurs are even considered title favourites. There is only four-point gap between Tottenham and their great London rivals Arsenal at the very top of the standings and Spurs have every right to feel optimistic regarding their silverware chances. Tottenham have ended the year in great spirits having won 2-1 at Watford thanks to a late goal by Son Heung-Min. Another game on the road is in store, but Tottenham fans will be pleased to know that only three teams have picked up more points away this season than Spurs. In addition, Pochettino’s team boasts the best defensive record on only 15 goals shipped so far, while their scoring exploits have been equally impressive. Spurs have managed 33 goals
with Harry Kane dominating the team’s charts with his 11 goals so far. The England international has had a quiet period following the bright start to 2015, but he returned to his best once again helping his team go forward.
The visiting side will have not many selection worries ahead of their trip to Goodison. Mousa Dembele has picked up a groin strain last time out and will be out for the rest of the month.
Alex Pritchard and Clinton N’Jie remain the only other two absent players, but Mauricio Pochettino will be happy to welcome Kyle Walker and Christian Eriksen back in the fold.
Key factors to consider
- Everton have seen over 2.5 goals in 5 of last 6 home games
- Spurs are unbeaten in 17 of their last 18 Premier League matches
- Tottenham are undefeated in their last six matches versus Everton in all competitions
- Romelu Lukaku is the league’s top scorer with the tally of 15 goals so far
- Spurs have allowed fewest goals in the league, conceding 15 in 19 matches
Everton will hope to kick of the new year with a win that would be a huge morale boost following the latest sticky patch, but Tottenham have been in excellent form and will provide a stern test to the Toffees. Pochettion’s charges have set the course to the very top and will need to start win week in and week out if they want to achieve their goals. Given their current form I don’t see Everton stopping them.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 13/8