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How Everton Will Line Up Against Tottenham Hotspur

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How Everton Will Line Up Against Tottenham Hotspur
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Everton face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in a crunch match at White Hart Lane.

Both sides sit within three points of fourth-placed Liverpool, making this a pivotal tie in the race for the Champions League.

The Toffees won three in a row at White Hart Lane between 2006 and 2008, but haven't won on their past five visits, drawing two.

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Earlier this season, the reverse fixture was drawn 0-0 at Goodison Park in a match dominated by Spurs.

 

Team News

Everton have managed to clear their congested treatment room, passing through the worst of a January injury crisis. 

The likes of Ross Barkley, Steven Pienaar, Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka have all returned in the past few games, with Seamus Coleman also making the bench.

Lacina Traore may be fit to play a part, as Roberto Martinez revealed during his pre-match press conference:

Elsewhere, Gerard Deulofeu is set to return to the squad, and Martinez provided further insight on the availability of Romelu Lukaku and Antolin Alcaraz, via Matthew Gamble of Everton's official website:

Antolin is going to be out of the weekend but it’s nothing to be worried about, it’s just trying to get him back to full fitness and Romelu Lukaku is going to be out this weekend and probably the week after, so it’s a couple of weeks for him, I don’t expect it to be any longer.

Bryan Oviedo, Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone remain long-term absentees.

 

Selection

With that team news considered, here's a look at Martinez's potential starting XI: 

Everton vs. Spurs - Football tactics and formations

The Catalan is likely to call upon his first-choice back five for only the second time in 15 matches.

Tim Howard will play in goal, with Leighton Baines, Distin and Jagielka all deployed in front of him.

 

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The only defensive question surrounds Coleman's fitness, but eight days of recovery should see him replace John Stones.

In midfield, Gareth Barry and James McCarthy will continue in the deeper slots, while Martinez has decisions to make for his attacking picks.

Pienaar's introduction was key to the comeback win against Villa. If fully fit, the South African deserves to start against his former club.

Barkley has looked a little off the pace since his return but should be back to speed after eight days off. The youngster may narrowly edge out Leon Osman for a central role.

That leaves two slots to be filled by Osman, Traore, Deulofeu, Kevin Mirallas, Aiden McGeady and Steven Naismith.

Mirallas is guaranteed to play, presumably up front, with Traore more likely to emerge from the bench in his first appearance.

The returning Deulofeu also seems an unlikely starter, leaving McGeady as the most natural fit on the right. For the first time in many weeks, Martinez will assemble a heavily bolstered bench.

 

Key Battles

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Tottenham will look to press high up the pitch which will be welcomed by Martinez.

If Barry and McCarthy can sustain a high tempo, create turnovers and keep the Toffees' transitions quick, there should be ample space in the final third.

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Despite a magical winning goal, Mirallas struggled as a striker against Aston Villa. However, if he continues in attack, he's more suited to exploiting Spurs' high line as opposed to Villa's deep, rearguard approach.

Everton will try and find Mirallas in one-on-one situations with Michael Dawson in an attempt to exploit the defender's lack of pace.

At the other end, Tim Sherwood's potential 4-4-2 will keep Everton's defenders occupied in what should be a particularly attacking spectacle.

For the home side, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon are one of the few right-sided duos to enjoy success against Baines. Therefore, expect a large proportion of Spurs' attacks to come down the right.

Prediction: Tottenham 2-2 Everton

 

Statistics via WhoScored.com

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