Monday, November 29, 2021

Everton 0-0 Tottenham: Conte held to goalless draw in first Spurs league game

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Nov 2021

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Antonio Conte’s first Premier League game in charge of Tottenham ended 0-0 in a frantic encounter with Everton at Goodison Park, with Rafael Benitez’s side reduced to 10 men late on.

In a competitive clash, albeit one lacking in clear opportunities, Everton had a penalty overturned in the second half before Giovani Lo Celso hit the woodwork for Spurs.

Richarlison was awarded a spot-kick after Hugo Lloris lunged in, but referee Chris Kavanagh changed his decision after checking the pitchside monitor, and Everton fell foul of VAR again when Mason Holgate received his marching orders in stoppage time.

Spurs did not have enough time to make their numerical advantage count, however, as Conte – who enjoyed a good record against Everton in his time at Chelsea, winning three and drawing one of their four meetings – had to settle for a point.

The only shot on target in a cagey first half long-range effort from Ben Godfrey, which was saved comfortably by Lloris.

It was the fourth half of Premier League football in a row where Spurs had failed to have a shot on target, despite wing-backs Sergio Reguilon and Emerson Royal having good chances, both directing their efforts wide.

The game finally came to life in the 63rd minute when Lloris appeared to bring down Richarlison in the box. However, after a VAR check showing that the Spurs keeper got a slight touch on the ball, referee Kavanagh reversed his decision, much to Everton’s chagrin.

Everton’s frustration was almost compounded in the 88th minute – the left-hand post coming to their rescue from Lo Celso’s excellent effort.

Substitute Holgate then saw a yellow card upgraded to a red for catching Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg after making a clearance, though Everton held on to stop their run of defeats.

What does it mean? Conte setting the foundations

It was a familiar three-at-the-back system from Conte for his first league game in charge, and though it did not immediately get the best out of Harry Kane, it did at least make Spurs look a lot more solid than they did in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.

The Italian began life at Chelsea with a narrow home win (2-1 v West Ham), but will probably be satisfied with a respectable, and more importantly well-earned, point from Goodison Park.

Reasons to be cheerful for Rafa

With all the focus on the other dugout, Benitez will have been happy to see an improved showing after a poor performance and result in the 2-1 loss at Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out. Everton were marginally the better team, having 12 shots, eight of which were inside the penalty area, and there was a clear determination to stop the run of three straight defeats in the league, which they managed to do.

The defence was much-improved, preventing the visitors from having a shot on target, while Allan (three key passes) and Demarai Gray (five shots) both looked bright.

Kane continues to struggle

Kane will be hoping that the arrival of Conte will give his own season a shot in the arm. Tottenham’s talisman has been a shadow of his usual self, scoring just once so far in ten Premier League games, his fewest goals across a ten-game span in the top-flight.

Although his overall play was slightly improved, his only two attempts were both blocked, and Spurs failed to register a shot on target for the second game in a row. They have not hit the target with a shot since the first half of their 1-0 defeat at West Ham.

Key Opta Facts

Everton have won just one of their last 18 Premier League games against Tottenham (D9 L8), with this the third nil-nil draw in this run of fixtures (also Nov 2013 and Aug 2015).
Spurs are unbeaten in their last nine league visits to face Everton at Goodison Park (W3 D6), extending their longest ever run without defeat there in league competition.
Spurs have failed to register a shot on target in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since 2003-04 (when this data is available).
Holgate was shown the first red card of his Premier League career, in what was his 97th appearance in the competition.
After scoring a brace in four consecutive Premier League games against Everton between 2017 and 2018, Kane has failed to score in three of his last four matches against the Toffees in the competition.

What’s next?

Following the international break Everton travel to Manchester City while Tottenham host Leeds United, both on November 21.

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