Tottenham will be aiming to revive their Champions League bid when they host top 4 rivals Everton at White Hart Lane, with both sides playing catch-up with in-form Liverpool. The Toffees recovered well from the defeat in the Merseyside derby to beat Aston Villa and they should go into this clash in better spirits than the opposition.
Everybody can see that Spurs have shown a great deal of improvement under Tim Sherwood, with the biggest change that they have finally started utilizing their attacking potential. Andre Villas-Boas’ cautious style of play was the main reason for some under-par performances in the first part of the season, with the team seriously improving their attacking record over the last month or so. The team have yet to find the right balance in the side, as witnessed by the 5-1 home defeat to Manchester City, which is enough to suggest we are about to see another high-scoring match. With fourth-placed Liverpool already six points in front of them, Spurs have no choice but to attack Everton from the off in an attempt to remain in contention for a top 4 finish. And with Sherwood reverting to a 4-4-2 formation against Hull City, the likes of Adebayor and Soldado could prove a handful for the opposition defence. On the other hand, Tottenham only kept one clean sheet in last five fixtures in all competitions, so they cannot really be trusted to keep Everton attackers at bay. Both Andros Townsend and Moussa Dembele are expected to return, meaning Erik Lamela is the only unavailable player at the moment.
With all the changes taking place at Goodison Park in the summer, not too many people believed Everton would be able to mount a serious top 4 challenge this season, but some shrewd transfer dealings as well as excellent work of new boss Roberto Martinez ensured the Toffees remain close to the Premier League summit. The Spaniard was unfortunate to have quite a few important players pick up injuries at the turn of the year, with his decision to risk several crocked players in the Merseyside derby coming back to haunt him. The club did well to reinforce the squad with Aiden McGeady and Lacina Traore in the January window, who could have a major role to play now that Romelu Lukaku is out injured. Everton overcame all their problems and came back from a goal down to record a very important victory over Aston Villa, but they are well aware that only a victory at White Hart Lane would give them a realistic chance of catching local rivals Liverpool anytime soon. The visitors will be boosted by the return of Seamus Coleman, whereas Gerard Deulofeu and Lacina Traore should both be fit to play.
With fourth-placed Liverpool slowly getting away, Tottenham and Everton desperately need all three points from this game, which should make for a highly entertaining encounter at White Hart Lane. The match may be too close to call, but over 2.5 goals should be a safe bet.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 10/11
Bookmaker: William Hill