Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Everton: Honours even as Spurs fatigue
Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Everton: Honours even as Spurs fatigue

Pochettino's side will look to recover and replenish before their 1st June date with Liverpool.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

 

The heroes of Amsterdam limped to a 2-2 draw against the blue half of Merseyside in a tired display by both teams, enough to secure fourth sport and Champions League football for the home side after an eventful campaign.

Eric Dier, slotting into a centre-back role, opened the scoring on three minutes as the hosts appeared to be cruising to victory. Yet, after a drab period to bring the curtain down on the season, two quick-fire goals appeared to put the away side on course for a snatch and grab victory.

However, it was Christian Eriksen, so often a saviour for his North London club, who curled home an equaliser after a frantic six minutes.

Strong sides for both clubs

Amid speculation of this being his last league game at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino made very few changes to the side that took part in that energy-zapping Champions League semi-final against Ajax just four days previous.

Kyle Walker-Peters was one of only two players selected who did not play a part on Wednesday evening, an able replacement for Kieran Trippier with as many assists this season despite only starting three contests. Jan Vertonghen, pictured leaving the Amsterdam Arena on crutches, was left out of the squad, replaced by Eric Dier.

Meanwhile, Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Ben Davies were all rewarded with starts, replacing Victor Wanyama, the suspended Son Heung-Min and injured Danny Rose respectively.

Marco Silva, who was battered 7-1 by Spurs with Hull on the final day of the season two years ago, made three changes from the side that defeated Burnley last weekend. Theo Walcott, Yerry Mina and Cenk Tosun came in for the absent trio of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Seamus Coleman.

The two clubs went into the fixture with contrasting final day form. Everton had lost their previous two, both against London clubs, whilst Spurs had won seven of the last eight, scoring 23 over the past three curtain-closers. They had also netted 16 in the four most recent meetings with the Toffees, winning 6-2 last time out.

Dier scores with the first chance of the game

Greeted by a vocal backdrop basking in the North London sunshine, it took the home side just three minutes to break the deadlock. Everton failed to clear their lines from a drifted corner, Eric Dier reacting quickest to slash home his third goal of the season. A desperate start for the visitors who had kept six clean sheets in the last ten with zonal marking.

There were no resting on their laurels for the hosts here, despite losing two successive league fixtures without scoring. Continuing to press forward, Champions League hero Lucas Moura blazed over from range.

Yet Everton had a chance of their own on the ten-minute mark. Former Spurs player and ever-present this season, Gylfi Sigurdsson, found the head of teammate Michael Keane with a deep free-kick but the centre-back could only float his headers straight at Hugo Lloris.

Keane was then almost at fault for gifting Spurs a second. Caught on the ball, Dele Alli combined with Lamela before the former curled an effort over. Faster footwork between the pair could have released the onrushing runners from deep.

Everton did have a brief burst forward, resulting in Walcott prodding straight at Lloris, but Spurs were straight back on the attack as Walker-Peters lashed over.

Tempo slows as Everton improve

The visitors gradually began to grow into the game midway through the half. Bernard picked up a loose Walker-Peters header before forcing Lloris into a stretched stop down to his right.

Dele had been looking to dictate whilst roaming around the park but was struggling to make a telling impact in the opening 35 minutes. However, he did flash an effort off-target as Spurs looked to regain some control. Moments later, Keane nodded another free-kick wide at the other end.

The fatigue from their midweek exploits appeared to be taking a toll as Spurs were unable to recapture their early rhythm. Everton captain Sigurdsson was the next to stretch Lloris from range.

After a frantic period of slips, slides and misplaced passes, Tosun showed why he has rarely featured as a starter under Marco Silva, mishitting two good opportunities inside the box.

Everton ended the half the better side but still an early goal behind.

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Eyes already on Madrid

Victor Wanyama came on for Dele at the break, again perhaps a repercussion from the Ajax contest.

Despite a slow start to the second period, the change did allow Christian Eriksen to venture into a more attacking role. The Dane had scored in his last three matches against Everton and saw a deflected effort drift just wide of the far post.

But for all of their efforts, the home side simply could not build any tempo. Everton had a great opportunity to equaliser just before the hour-mark, Bernard miscuing an effort after Tosun prodded a ball through.

As frustrations grew in the 60,000-strong crowd, Fernando Llorente headed a weak effort straight at Jordan Pickford, keeping his record of playing every minute of every game this season.

Spurs made to pay before striking back

The warning signs had been there for a substantial period and Everton finally made Spurs pay midway through the half, the start of a crazy six minutes. Ademola Lookman, coming on for his 18th appearance from the bench, burst inside before releasing the ball to Sigurdsson. The Icelander then recycled to Walcott who cut towards goal before sliding home an equaliser. His fifth goal of the season and a second against Spurs.

And just minutes later, the tie turned on its head. Keane met a Sigurdsson corner that was palmed away by Lloris. Lookman could only turn the ball straight back at the Frenchman, potentially in an offside position, before Tosun bundled the ball over the line. From 1-0 down to 2-1 ahead in a matter of minutes.

Yet, if midweek taught us anything, this Spurs side never give up. Winning a free-kick just outside the box, Eriksen guided an expert free-kick into the bottom corner to draw Spurs level. Eriksen's great record against Everton continuing.

Both sides looked to venture forward for a winner but without any real conviction. A share of the spoils perhaps a fair result on reflection.

Takeaways from the game

Could diagonal balls be the tactic against Liverpool?

Switching the ball from right to left and vice-versa was an obvious ploy in this contest with Spurs looking to get their full-backs forward. Considering how much Liverpool's wide defenders like to press on, Spurs will be looking at this tactic as a way of getting in behind them on the transition during the Champions League final.

Kurt Zouma impresses at right-back

When Yerry Mina was named as a replacement for Seamus Coleman, it appeared that the away side might switch to three at the back. But they stuck with a four and Kurt Zouma was impressive up against Dele, Lucas Moura and Ben Davies.

Spurs must recruit in the summer

Pochettino has already made clear his ambitions to sign new players and be backed by the board and this contest underpinned the importance of doing so. When they needed to change the game after a drab period, the bench looked particularly threadbare, out of form Vincent Janssen the only attacking player of the seven.

The frustrations of Lucas Moura

There have been a couple of times this season that Lucas Moura has shown his talents, running the show at the start of the campaign against Man United before that wonderful hat-trick in midweek. Yet he lost the ball time and time again during this fixture, in another all too familiar frustrating outing. If there was a week to sum up his inconsistency, this was it.

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