Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Everton
It’s said that top managers are at their most dangerous when they feel wounded.
Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they lick their wounds and do everything in their powers to bounce back.
After last Thursday’s 3-1 Premier League defeat at Sheffield United, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said he was “destroyed a little bit on the inside” and “disturbed” by the fact their opponents had more desire than his own charges.
So, it was with a certain inevitability that Spurs bounced back here, even if this was a far from convincing performance – from either side – and one which required a fortunate own-goal to separate the sides.
Highlights of the game
On the occasion of his 200th Premier League win, Mourinho made two changes from the side humbled in Sheffield as Toby Alderweireld and Harry Winks came in for Davinson Sanchez and Steven Bergwijn.
For Everton, one home-grown player came in for another with Tom Davies replacing youngster Anthony Gordon, who impressed in last week’s 2-1 win over Leicester.
Billed a mid-table clash before kick-off, Premier League 2020 highlights were few and far between.
Lucas Moura fired a 25-yard strike narrowly wide and that was the only real moment of quality before the decisive moment midway through the first half.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min linked up before the former’s shot was blocked into the path of Gio Lo Celso, whose powerful strike hit the back of the luckless Michael Keane and flew past a stranded Jordan Pickford.
Just before the break, a Richarlison run and drive flashed just past Hugo Lloris’s goal and it was the Spurs captain who was making the talking points at half-time.
As the whistle sounded, he ran around 40 yards to express his anger with Son as he left the field, shoving the Korean in the back and clearly unhappy about something as the pair had to be separated by team-mates.
It was ironic given that Lloris has been “Mr. Inconsistent” personified at times over the last 18 months, while Son has been a ray of light in Spurs’ brighter moments.
Whatever it was that sparked the Frenchman’s anger, it was all forgotten about by the end of the contest and was a sign Mourinho admitted he was pleased to see.
“Beautiful” and “something needed for the team to grow up” was presumably what he had hoped for when he spoke of a lack of desire four days earlier.
Into the second half, Son stung the gloves of Jordan Pickford and also called the England goalkeeper into action again, but there was little other goalmouth action to report.
Indeed, the game generally added weight to my theory that without a crowd, football has lost some of its intensity (not to mention its enjoyment) and, for those sides with little to play for, many of the end-of-season matches are little more than exhibition games and a case of dutifully fulfilling the fixture list.
Spurs may be playing in Europe next season; Everton definitely will not.
Mourinho has become the fifth manager to reach 200 Premier League victories, with only Sir Alex Ferguson (322) doing so in fewer games than the Portuguese (326)
Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in two of their past three league games – as many as they had in their previous 14.
Everton have now scored 52 own goals in the Premier League, at least six more than any other team. Aston Villa are next on 46 in the Premier League era.
This was also the fourth own goal Tottenham have benefited from this season, a joint league-high.
Everton have lost exactly half of their Premier League games in London (78 out of 156), with only Newcastle (79) losing more in the capital than the Toffees.
Tonight’s result means they have not beaten Spurs for 15 meetings.
These two Premier League mainstays have faced each other on 178 occasions in all competitions, with Tottenham coming out on top with 67 wins to Everton’s 55 triumphs. There have also been 58 draws.
Everton have struggled in this fixture in recent years, mind, and have not beaten Spurs in more than seven years.
Their last victory was a 2-1 win in December 2012, thanks to last-gasp goals.
Steven Pienaar equalised in the final minute of normal time before Nikica Jelavic netted the winner in added time at the end of the game.
They did draw 2-2 at Spurs on the final day of last season and earlier this season, a game most notable for an Everton equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage time and accidentally caused serious injury to Andre Gomes.
If there were SBOBET Premier League 2020 betting odds offered for entertainment, I can guarantee Spurs’ next match will be more enjoyable than this.
On Thursday, they travel to a Bournemouth side in desperate need of points, while Everton host Southampton at Goodison Park at the same time.
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