On Monday night an in-form Everton side travel to an out of form Tottenham Hotspur. After a massive statement of intent with a win against third placed Leicester City Everton supporters will be hoping that they will be able to make a louder statement. Beating one of the ‘big six’ at their own ground managed by José Mourinho. So, it is completely justified as to why Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti believes ‘it will be an exciting game.’
Two of the greatest managers of all time coming up against each other yet again. Both have slightly conservative styles of play so it will certainly be an intriguing tactical battle to watch. It may be exciting for the neutral however for Everton fans it will almost definitely be a nervous watch as they want to see their team compete with the big boys under Ancelotti.
Everton have played three since the restart. Won two, drew one and only conceded one goal. It is an impressive record with the defence shining through as Ancelotti has been setting his team up to frustrate the opposition. Whereas Tottenham conceded three in their last match alone against Sheffield United. A big contrast.
Tottenham seem to be a disorganised mess at the back and then when attacking there is a lack of fluidity at times hence why there is a big contrast between the team from London and the blue team from Merseyside. Everton’s attack has shown real promise especially against Leicester as their first goal was a brilliantly constructed move down the left hand side through youngster Anthony Gordon who has had the chance to catch the eye and he has done exactly that.
Therefore he may get the chance again in this vital game for Everton’s European ambitions with Ancelotti stating that Gordon ‘is improving’ and he started the Leicester game ‘because he deserved to play, not because he’s a young player from the academy.’ The Italian is defiant that Gordon has earned his place giving all the other youngsters hope that if they perform well enough they might just get that chance.
If Everton win on Monday, they will leapfrog Tottenham in the table so it is unlikely that any youngsters will be given their debut in this game unfortunately for them. There is one player back from injury though to boost the squad depth and that is World Cup winner Djibril Sidibé.
It is unlikely that he will start at the back though with Seamus Coleman showing good form since the restart. The Frenchman may start a little bit further forward instead as Ancelotti has played him there before, but it depends whether he wants to bench Iwobi.
Richarlison did not train on Friday but Ancelotti eased fears that he will not be available saying that the Brazilian will train on Saturday and Sunday. So, Everton’s main man should be ready for the challenge of Tottenham Hotspur, who have no new injury concerns, and he will be embracing the opportunity to perform in a big game.
Sigurdsson did start in the midfield alongside Andre Gomes against Leicester but after just under an hour Tom Davies was subbed on and with Tottenham’s attacking firepower a bit more defensive cover may be needed in the midfield. Ancelotti had a lot of praise for the 22-year-old in his latest press conference saying that ‘he’s an important part of our team and he will be an important part for the future.’ So it would not be a surprise to see the skateboarding scouser start on Monday.
It may also not be a surprise if Ancelotti changed the system for Monday after an impressive cameo from Yerry Mina on Wednesday allowed Everton to defend astutely with three centre-backs on the pitch. There is plenty of options for Ancelotti which can only be deemed as a positive.
This will be a big challenge for Everton, but it may be a bigger challenge for underperforming Tottenham which tells you a lot about how well Ancelotti has done with this Everton side so far. Whatever the result Everton fans can certainly be looking forward to the start of next season and that might be with some European football depending on how Monday night goes.
Written by Elliot Thompson