Everton vs. Tottenham: 5 Things to Watch for in Spurs' Trip to Goodison Park
Coming off the back of three consecutive wins in the span of six days, Tottenham will look to keep their hot form rolling and improve on their fourth-place league standing.
However, a trip to Goodison Park to take on a dangerous Everton side awaits Spurs on Sunday.
The Toffees started the season in fine fashion, currently sit just three points behind Tottenham and are unbeaten at home through their first seven home league matches.
How will Spurs fare in this encounter? And what will they be able to take away from the match?
Here are five things to watch for on Sunday.
How Will Spurs Cope Without Bale?
With Gareth Bale injured for the match at Goodison, some obvious troubles arise for Spurs.
In his time at White Hart Lane, Bale has become one of the deadliest threats in the Premier League. His speed and quickness have enabled him to eat up defenders, while his crossing and fine left foot have created scores of goals for the club.
Without Bale on Sunday, Spurs' threat will clearly be diminished, but by how much?
Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and the rest of Spurs' creative forces will have to step up if Tottenham are going to create havoc on the Everton goal.
On the bright side, this is a short-term problem as Bale should be back very soon.
How Will the Spurs Defense Hold Up Against Fellaini?
This season, very few if any players have been more impressive than Marouane Fellaini.
The Everton and Belgium midfielder has eight league goals already this season and seems to keep coming up trumps in the Toffees' biggest matches.
Fellaini is an all-around threat: He has the size to wreak havoc through the air (see Everton's season-opener against Manchester United), pick you apart with the ball at his feet (see his performance against Arsenal) or a combination of both (see his performance against Fulham).
With Spurs' defense not exactly the healthiest or most in-form aspect of their side, dealing with Fellaini could be a tough task.
Will Defoe's Goal-Scoring Form Ever End?
Through 15 Premier League matches, Jermain Defoe sits on nine goals, just one off of the league lead.
This great run of form is a nice surprise for Spurs, as the 30-year-old striker had seemed inconsistent over recent years.
However, with only Emmanuel Adebayor available to provide cover, Defoe must continue to fire on all cylinders at least through January.
To do so, the striker must keep his confidence up, which would certainly be accomplished with a goal at Goodison.
Will This Be a Battle Between Slow Starters and Poor Finishers?
Thus far in the season, Tottenham and Everton are suffering from similar troubles: Each has a period of time during their matches that has consistently bothered them.
For the Toffees, that period of time is the first 15 minutes, where they have conceded a league-high of six goals through their 15 matches.
On the other side, Spurs have struggled mightily closing matches. In the final ten minutes of their 15 matches, Tottenham have conceded an incredible eight goals.
If this trend continues, this match could follow a route both sets of supporters will be familiar with: a Tottenham lead followed by an Everton fight back.
Will This Be a Big Match in the Race for Fourth?
Over the last few seasons, Everton's biggest problem in their fight for Champions League qualification has been their early-season struggles.
However, the Toffees have started off on fine form, currently sitting in sixth place in the league. Relative to past seasons, this is an incredible start.
Meanwhile, Tottenham have been in the race for fourth over the past several seasons, finishing in fourth or fifth each of the past three seasons.
With so much at stake in way of Champions League football and the money and prestige that it brings, both these clubs will put most or all of their resources towards a top-four finish.
Hence, this match could have a lot of say in determining the European qualifiers for next season.
If nothing else, this match will be a push in the right direction for one of these teams.
There are my thoughts.
What do you think? Anything I missed? Do you have anything to add?
Let me know in the comments section below.
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