Tottenham host Everton in the Monday Night Football clash, and Mike Norman believes we’re set for an entertaining affair between two very inconsistent sides…
Top four the only target after Spurs cupset
To say Tottenham’s form has been in and out recently is a bit of an understatement. It’s pretty much been win one lose one for the last two months, and prior to their midweek shock FA Cup loss at Middlesbrough Antonio Conte‘s men had won five and lost five of their previous 10 outings.
On Tuesday night at the Riverside Stadium the Lilywhites were second best, and not many Spurs fans had any complaints at the extra-time defeat.
That cup loss leaves Tottenham with just the Premier League to focus on, and with 13 games remaining their obvious target is to finish in the top four. Conte’s men currently sit five points behind fourth-placed Manchester United but they have two games in hand and can be backed at 5.69/2 in the Top 4 Finish market.
The key for Conte is to find some consistency. One good result must be followed by another, and with games against Everton, Brighton (twice), Newcastle, Villa, Brentford, Leicester, Burnley and Norwich – all currently 10th or lower in the table going in to the weekend – to come, putting a good run of results together could yield massive rewards.
Unimpressive Toffees in sticky league position
Everton were also in midweek FA Cup action, and although they were far from impressive they did at least win, albeit against National League outfit Boreham Wood.
Like Tottenham, Everton’s form has also been hit and miss of late, winning three and losing three of their last six outings, all of those games coming under new boss Frank Lampard.
The concern for Lampard must be that two of those victories came in the cup, at home to opposition he was fully expected to beat. The former Chelsea boss has lost three of his league games in charge of the Goodison Park outfit meaning the Toffees are staring down the barrel of a huge relegation scrap.
Everton will commence Monday night’s game 17th in the table, just one point above the drop zone, though they do have games in hand on the three clubs below them. Lampard’s men can be backed at 5.39/2 in the Relegation market.
Interesting game tactically
In the Match Odds Tottenham are the 1.625/8 favourites, and while I beleive that’s an understandable price it’s not one that I’d be rushing in to back.
Tactics are going to be key here. Spurs’ most impressive results and performances have generally come when the opposition has dominated possession and attacked them, thus allowing Conte’s men to win the ball deep and perform a swift counter attack of their own.
In fact it’s probably not too much of a stretch to say that Tottenham are arguably the best counter-attacking team in the Premier League.
Recent wins at Manchester City and Leeds demonstrate exactly why Spurs are so good on the counter, which is why teams should be sitting back against them when out of possession, forcing Tottenham to break them down.
But I’m not sure Everton are good enough to stay so organised for 90 minutes, and it’s certainly not in Lampard’s DNA not to go on the attack.
True, they achieved it to some extent against Manchester City last time, limiting the champions to just one goal, but I think Lampard will see this as a much more winnable game and resort to his preferred attacking approach, which ultimately could be his downfall.
The Toffees can be backed at 6.611/2 to win the match, while the Draw can be backed at 4.47/2, but in all honesty I have very little interest in the Match Odds market.
Plenty of goals on the cards
If Everton do have a go at the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t – then this game has the potential to be a wide open affair.
Over 2.5 Goals can be backed at around 1.8810/11 and I don’t think that’s a bad price at all, I fully expected it to be a tad shorter.
There’s a couple of factors in our favour if fancying goals to be scored, the most obvious being the talent that will be on the pitch; the likes of Son, Kane and Kulusevski for Spurs, and Richarlison and potentially Dele Alli (now wouldn’t that be a story!) for Everton have the ability to produce magic in the blink of an eye.
But most importantly, the way the game hopefully pans out should be massively in our favour. If the Toffees go for goals – and they may well get some given that Spurs have conceded five in their last two home games – then they could be left wide open to the counter attack.
So it’s worth pointing out that Everton haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home since last August, and that in their last four away trips they conceded nine to Southampton, Newcastle, Norwich and Championship outfit Hull.
Recent head-to-head results are also in our favour. In five consecutive meetings between these two from 2017 to 2019 they produced a staggering 24 goals at almost five per game on average. And just last season back-to-back meetings produced 13 goals (5-4 in the cup, 2-2 in the league).
Spurs really should be licking their lips at facing Everton on Monday night, and I dare say the Toffees are looking forward to it too. Over 3.5 Goals looks very generously priced to me at 3.185/40 and that will be my main bet of the game.