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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 1 September, 2015


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For those of you not watching the rugby, welcome to the last of the day’s football coverage. And it’s an interesting game. Will Tottenham’s tilt for third fall off the tracks altogether? They badly need a good result – even a win – after bad defeats against Arsenal and Manchester United. The only problem is that Everton isn’t exactly the best place to go  for that, given that they’re unbeaten in nine.

Louis Saha is on the bench for Tottenham, since it’s actually against Premier League rules to have a gentleman’s agreement.

The teams:

Everton: Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Coleman, Osman, Fellaini, Drenthe, Cahill, Jelavic. Subs: Mucha, Hibbert, Jagielka, Stracqualursi, Gueye, Rodwell, Anichebe.

Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto, Bale, Sandro, Parker, Modric, Defoe, Adebayor. Subs: Cudicini, Van der Vaart, Saha, Kranjcar, Rose, Livermore, Nelsen.

Referee: Mark Halsey

Tottenham certainly don’t look like a team who’ve been badly beaten – scoreline-wise – in their last two. Very positive and purposeful start with Bale haring down the wing.

An interesting formation for Spurs, though, with Baleon the right and Luka Modric on the left. Wouldn’t appear to get the most out of their talents.

Both teams still feeling each other out to an extent, with Everton have coming back into the game more. They are the second lowest scoring team in the Premier League, though, so this was never going to be a goal glut.

GOAL! Everton 1-0 Tottenham

Jelavic hits his first goal for Everton after 22 minutes but, as good as the finish was, you have to look at Younes Kaboul. He let Leon Osman in far too easily to set up the chance. Tottenham have a job to do… again.

The goal has really livened this game up with shots suddenly being fired at both ends. Seamus Coleman and Gareth Bale both have a go.

As has happened before in this fixture, Everton mostly handling Bale well. Coleman and Baines doubling up on him. The winger badly needs Walker to start overlapping to create space to exploit.

Friedel has to fly across the box to deny Jelavic a brilliant second, the striker delivering a free-kick supremely. Might have just lacked a bit of power to really put the keeper in danger though. It looked spectacular, mind.

Spurs enjoying a spell of pressure but no cutting edge. They essentially look exactly what they are: some good individuals in the wrong positions, meaning there’s little cohesion.

Half-time: Everton robust, resilient and deserving of their lead.

The second half starts. No changes from Redknapp in terms of substitutions, surprisingly.

Brilliant tackle from Distin at the edge of the box to block a Modric strike. Everton are pressing Spurs very quickly all over the pitch here.

Saha about to come on for Adebayor. Perhaps surprising Redknapp chooses the Togolese striker to come off. Defoe tested Howard only moments ago, however.

Younes Kaboul blazes a free-kick over the bar at the edge of the box. Sums up Tottenham’s game. Not sure whether it’s the lack of form or lack of a familiar shape but they’re struggling for creativity and increasingly resorting to such sledgehammer attempts.

Van der Vaart coming on for Sandro as Redknapp finally – and radically – changes shape.

What would you put Spurs’ recent slump down to? Distraction, Redknapp overplaying first XI early on or just inevitable poor run?

Defoe has the ball in the net but it’s ruled out for offside. Correct call.

Jelavic going off to a standing ovation after scoring on his Goodison debut with Stracqualarsi coming on.

Still much the same from Spurs. Banging their heads – or, rather, the ball – off the brick wall of Everton’s defence.

Five minutes left, Spurs have a corner and bring on Jake Livermore for Scott Parker. They must go for this now.

A comedy of errors there from Spurs, illustrating their frustration. First, Assou-Ekotto plays a ludicrous backheel near his own box.With Bale realising he isn’t going to get there, he throws himself to the turf over Leon Osman’s challenge. The Welsh winger then objects to the Everton man’s complaints, pushing him rather forcefully. No action though.

Five minutes of stoppage time…

So close for Spurs! With Friedel in the box causing problems, Saha shoots at goalbut his effort hits post, hits Howard and goes out!

FULL-TIME: Everton 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Yet another big result for Everton – if only they could start a season so strongly. Spurs, however, might be starting to have the same problem at the other end of the campaign. Their third place – and arguably even fourth – is suddenly looking a lot less secure.

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