Tottenham hotspurs played a 1-1 tiresome and absorbing draw in the season opener against Everton at Goodison Park. A side which looked imperial and magnificent nearly the whole of last season but lacked that knockout blow going winless in their last 4 looked to start of this season on a high note against Everton who are undergoing transition from top to bottom ranks. Mauricio Pochettino must have had some spirited words to say to his pack in pre season over the disappointing final few matches last season as they finished third in a two horse race courtesy a disastrous result on the final day to outgoing Newcastle United.
Spurs entering the match with a 4-2-3-1 formation looked a very attacking side with solidarity in midfield in form of Eric Dier and debutant Victor Wanyama provided Rose and Walker an extra freedom to fly down the flanks. New signing Vincent Janssen started on the bench, an addition which is expected to play second fiddle to Harry Kane who looked sluggish in the Euro’s. Young sensation Dele Alli started behind Kane to provide those final passes and grab the loose opportunity as they come.
First few minutes saw a stern and physical battle in the midfield with Everton dominating and winning those 50-50 chances and Barkley struck in the 6th minute with freekick that eluded everybody including Frenchmen Hugo Lloris. After the goal Spurs dominated possession but never looked threatening and not generated that tempo which was expected from them, lacked that urgency which Leicester showcased earlier after going 2-1 down.
Second half was brilliantly well poised for Spurs to tickle some changes and reply and did exactly the same. Ronald Koeman emphasised on his squad being at 70% fitness and was evident from tired Everton legs in the second half of which Spurs took good advantage of. Lamela snatched the equaliser against the run of play and changed the momentum in their favour but lacked the final pass in the box to go 2-1 up.
Player Ratings :-
Hugo Lloris :- He was left stand struck in the opening stages of the game against a Barkley freekick which took Everton 1-0 up and made couple of decent saves post that but was taken off in the 35th minute due to apparent hamstring injury. Rating – 5/10
Kyle Walker :- Had an outstanding match and was pretty much in the thick of things for Tottenham all the time they went forward. His pace proved vital at times and made great runs along the flank testing Everton defence. Was solid in the box and kept out Deulofeu on number of occasions from testing Lloris/Vorm. Rating – 7/10
Toby Aldeweireld :- Man which was responsible for Spurs being one of the most improved defending teams last season. He was strong in his position and played a Ramos-esque role maintaining the backline shape and pouncing on corner kicks occasionally. Rating – 6/10
Jan Vertonghen :- Spurs veteran man looked good and kept Everton forwards at bay. Faced little problem against the pace of Deulofeu but recovered well. All in all a decent game for him. Rating – 5/10
Rose :- Ran back and forth and showed exceptional levels of fitness throughout the game. Prevented inward movement from the sides and was excellent in switching the play at times. Had a sloppy moment at the stroke of half time when his misjudged pass found an Everton player but Vorm dealt with it. Rating – 6/10
Eric Dier :- One name which attracted last season due to his ability to play at versatile positions had a decent match but was sacrificed to add the attacking verve after going 1-0 down. Put down some majestic tackles inside the box at crucial moments but failed to dominate play with Wanyama in midfield. Rating – 5/10
Victor Wanyama :- Pochettino was keen on signing him for some time and the player made his debut straight away. He lacked serious co-ordination at some moments and gave away fouls needlessly. Bought that physical aspect in the midfield and won some 50-50 calls in spurs favour. Rating – 4.5/10
Erik Lamela :- Player who has immense talent and lived up to the expectations in this game. He got the equaliser for spurs and looked threatening at times. His positioning was great and was one of the top performers for Tottenham along with Walker. Rating – 7/10
Dele Alli :- One of the revelations from last season had a decent outing. Was isolated for part of first half but found his feet in the second half after introduction of Jannsen. Can do more and perform better than today in advancing play much regularly. Rating – 5/10
Eriksen :- Was excellent in executing tight passes and holding up play going forward. A bit lackluster as compared to his counterpart Ross Barkley in providing those final passes and making decisive call at times. Rating – 5/10
Harry Kane :- Looked far more isolated in the first half than any other player, with just 16 touches in the first half it looked he is yet to recover from his euro stint and had a quiet match. Like last season was a slow start for him. Rating – 4/10
Michel Vorm :- Having started on just 7 occasions last season was called into play when Lloris was subbed and made an excellent save in the 45th minute when Rose provided a false back pass. Had a good game. Rating – 5/10
Vincent Janssen :- His arrival induced a new belief and freedom for spurs frontline and there were more frequent attacks. He dragged the Everton defence which looked astute against Kane and Alli earlier and nearly got his debut goal in 80th minute from close range. Rating – 6/10