For a long time, Everton’s game against Tottenham at Goodison Park on Sunday was a non-event. Then came the inevitable VAR debate, with a number of incidents slowing the game down to a snail’s pace.
However, how most will remember the game for is a horrific injury to Everton’s star Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes, after a reckless challenge from Spurs South Korean international Heung-Min Son.
However, Spurs full-back Serge Aurier also produced a poor tackle after Son’s challenge. In reality, it looked as if Gomes got his foot stuck in the turf before his clash with Aurier. The Ivory Coast international challenge did not help Gomes’ cause.
Question marks over Son’s red card
On first viewing, referee Martin Atkinson decided to show Son a yellow card. VAR decided to overturn the decision to a red card, as the Tottenham star endangered an opponent. Son was obviously out for a touch of retribution after a clash with Gomes just before the injury.
However, as many have said Son will not have wanted to injure the Everton man. His reaction to the injury said a lot, as he was visibly upset after the incident. Even as an Evertonian, I am not sure it was a red card. Challenges like that happen in virtually every game, usually resulting in yellow cards. Unfortunately, circumstances were against Gomes.
VAR plays a big part AGAIN
The VAR debate is becoming boring now, but once again it was a major talking point at Goodison Park. Referee Martin Atkinson is one of the Premier League’s most experienced referees as commenters keep telling us. That just means he has had longer to become more incompetent at his job.
The fact that he is still refereeing in the English top-flight shows the poor state of English officials. However, in this game, VAR Anthony Taylor did not help him by deciding to interfere in so many incidents. Not only did he interfere in so many incidents, but he also took an age to make a decision on almost every incident.
The strange thing is that he decided to back up Atkinson on every decision. In short, the delays were for absolutely no reason. Arguably, the decisions he made were questionable as well. Dele Alli got away with a handball. Some will say that Yerry Mina had made contact with the midfielder, but that was not considered a foul by the Colombian.
On paper, VAR has the potential to be a good tool to make the correct decisions. It works very well in other leagues and even other sports. It is just the sheer incompetence of the people using the system that makes it look poor.
Both teams struggling this season
Aside from Gomes’ terrible injury and the VAR talk, both teams produced poor displays really. Everton may have shown great professionalism to get the late equaliser from Cenk Tosun, but they were poor against a Spurs team low on confidence. They continue to struggle to find form under Marco Silva.
Tottenham, without star striker Harry Kane, maintained decent possession. However, they seemed to lack the ability to break the Everton defence down, with Dele Alli’s goal a rare piece of quality attacking play from the north London team. The draw means that Tottenham have failed to win in 12 away games in the Premier League.
A top-four finish this season is already looking in major danger. In fact, Tottenham are now odds of 7/4 to qualify for the Champions League. Pochettino claimed he was happy with his team’s performance on Sunday. Just like his team, his standards must have seriously dropped this season.
The game, in the end, took a back seat to Gomes injury and we, of course, wish the midfielder well in his recovery. It may have also bought Everton boss Marco Silva some breathing space.
Can Tottenham still make the top-four this season?
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