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Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Premier League: Tottenham vs Everton; “I expect him to show his quality, he has a lot of quality and I’m sure he will show it in this competition.”

Everton will be kicking off their new Premier League campaign away to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon and there will be a lot of optimism amongst the Everton supporters for many reasons. Firstly the 2020/21 season will be the first full season for Everton under Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure so the expectations will be slightly higher for Ancelotti to get Everton back towards the top of the table. Also, a hat-trick of impressive signings have been pulled off in the last week. They include Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and most impressively James Rodriguez. So therefore, the general mood is excitement. 

In his press conference before the game Ancleotti was alongside new marquee signing James and the Italian explained how he thinks James “has a lot of quality and I’m sure he will show it in this competition.” No pressure then. James will certainly thrive off that and the fact that he was alongside Ancelotti in the press conference could potentially mean that he will start on Sunday for his Everton debut although neither one of them disclosed this information. 

As well as James there is obviously the other two high profile midfield signings with Doucoure and Allan. Whether Ancelotti is willing to take the risk to start them together for the first time in the first game remains to be seen but it would be a surprise if not one of them started to refresh the dull Everton midfield. Allan will be more likely to start out of the two due to him being in training for a longer amount of time, but it remains to be seen whether the Brazilian gets his first start in the Premier League.  

With regards to injuries Ancelotti said that “I think that Holgate is out, Mina is available to play and Gomes is available. We are going to check Delph tomorrow.” The likelihood is that the centre back pairing will be Keane and Mina however youngster Branthwaite may yet again be given the chance to showcase his talents on the biggest stage of all. The usual front two, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, should be starting as long as Ancleotti sticks with his tried and trusted 4-4-2 formation but then the midfield is anyone’s guess due to the new arrivals and possible departures of Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson. 

It shall be a big test for Everton coming up against Tottenham in their first game as like Ancelotti Jose Mourinho will be getting ready for the start of his first full season as Spurs’ boss. These two sides came up against each other in the restart last year and Spurs came out as 1-0 winners in an unspectacular affair so Everton and Ancelotti will be expecting for a lot better this time around. 

In Mourinho’s press conference before the game he explained how he does see Everton as a threat this season as he said “I do see them as top six challengers. I think the 10 point distance last season was just the consequence of how strange last season was.” So this may give some motivation for the Everton players to prove him right as Everton’s dream this season is gate-crashing the so called ‘big six’ just like Leicester did last season. 

Mourinho did not discuss team news in his press conference but it has been confirmed that young defender Japhet Tanganga will not be available and also that Giovani Lo Celso is 50/50 as there will be a late decision made on the creative midfielder. New Signings Matt Doherty and Pierre Hoijberg will be expecting to take part. The other new addition Joe Hart will be hoping to feature on the bench. 

It’ll be interesting to see how Mourinho sets up his attacking firepower and who starts for the team in white but Ancleotti will be confident that his side can stop whoever it is. There is no better time to gather momentum than the first game of the season so both managers will be doing their upmost to win the battle. 

Written by Elliot Thompson

READ MORE: Everton FC boss Carlo Ancelotti and Liverpool celebrities turnout for glamorous Il Forno relaunch

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