Everton vs. Tottenham Hotspur.
Everton have drawn seven of their last nine games, and perhaps their credentials of being the team most likely to shock the established big and bigger boys is slightly on the slide. I also perhaps question the talk of them playing wonderful football and instead feel they are perhaps still retaining their ruthless efficient methods, but this season have a greater cutting edge and also a truly devastating match winner and man for the spectacular in Marouane Fellaini, who has a legitimate claim to be considered the Prems player of the season so far.
Fellaini's eight goals this season and five in the last five games, would appear to be the main headline maker for Everton, but one win in those nine games, and that against lowly Sunderland is hardly potential CL form and you wonder if David Moyes's boys are just suffering a slight dip in form or are in fact now finding their level after a very promising start. Of course they have some excellent players such as Baines and former Spur Pienaar and remain extremely hard to beat, but I also feel that Tottenham have the tools to get something here, with just a bit of luck and a decent 90 minute showing.
Parker, BAE, Bale and Dawson are all suggested as being a week away from fitness, whilst Younes Kaboul remains a longer term absentee, but with a Premiership returning Emmanuel Adebayor in line for a start, just as long as AVB feels brave enough to play two strikers in such a game, you feel we certainly have the quality to offer a decent fight as long as the players show up and look like they want to fight for the game.Though the pairing of Ade and Defoe excite me, I am still awaiting real evidence that they can play together and not be just to busy and outstanding individuals working high up the pitch. Have we yet seen enough from either as a partnership to be convinced of playing an efficient 4-4-2 at the moment?
Elsewhere I don't expect too many debates in the starting XI. Lloris, Walker, Gallas, Caulker and Vertonghen seem our likely back five and that seems reasonable. in the middle, Sandro and Dembele are our best current pairing, whilst I feel we will play Lennon on the right, Dempsey will move to the left to cover the injured Bale and Adebayor will partner (ish) Defoe in attack. All seems quite simple as long as we don't have any unfortunate huge, tweaks or fall outs in the next few hours.
With Arsenal and Chelsea both winning this weekend, I do wonder if Everton face slightly the greater pressure to win or at least not to lose. Though I have a feeling that neither manager would be devastated with a point apiece, Spurs could realistically lose and remain in 4th, whilst Everton will perhaps feel their positive start and media early season good will will count for nothing if they start next week in 8th or worse, should West Ham beat Liverpool and Spurs score a few. Again I worry that a Thursday European fixture will take something from our players legs, especially against such a hard running opposition, but I hope that our successfully getting out of the group stages will act as a boost to any fatigued legs or minds and we can then rest up for a few days before facing Swansea, safe in the knowledge that a top four place is looking more comfortable...
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