Friday night sees Everton take on Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park, a crucial match in the race for European qualification come the end of the season. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are winless in four, but a win would see them leapfrog their opponents into seventh place. A loss however would put them five points away from Spurs, albeit with a game in hand.
Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham go into the clash as narrow favourites, but are themselves winless in the last two having drawn against relegation contenders Newcastle United and lost to Manchester United last time out. Spurs also exited the Europa League in embarrassing fashion against Dinamo Zagreb last month.
This will be the third time that Everton and Tottenham have met this season, with Ancelotti’s men coming out on top on both previous occasions.
Most recently, Bernard came off the bench to settle an action-packed fifth round FA Cup tie between the two in February. Going to extra-time, the game ended 5-4 to the Blues but they would be knocked out by Manchester City in the next round of the competition.
Before that, Everton claimed all three points away from home on the opening weekend of this Premier League campaign, winning 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium courtesy of a second-half header by front man Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Top scorer at the club this season, the Toffees will have to try and get the job done without Calvert-Lewin this time around though, as confirmed by boss Ancelotti in his pre-match press conference.
As mentioned, striker Calvert-Lewin will not be in contention for Friday’s fixture. He missed Monday’s draw with Brighton and Hove Albion and has not yet recovered from his abductor injury, though manager Ancelotti confirmed that he will be back in the squad for the side’s next match away at Arsenal.
Likewise, Yerry Mina, Fabian Delph and Bernard will miss Friday’s game but are expected to be back in contention for the game against the Gunners.
Abdoulaye Doucoure remains out with a foot injury, it is unknown when he will return, while Jean-Phillipe Gbamin will not play another further part this season. Gbamin suffered a knee ligament injury in training but does not need surgery, so may well be back come the start of the next campaign.
There is good news for Everton though, as confirmed by the boss.
Pickford has been absent from The Toffees recent fixtures after suffering an abdominal injury, but the club’s usual number one will be hoping to reclaim his spot between the sticks.
In his pre-match press conference, Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that there was nothing new to report in terms of his squad prior to Friday’s trip to Merseyside.
Defenders Matt Doherty and Ben Davies both remain out, having withdrawn from their respective international squads in the March break through injury. Davies has a calf injury and may not feature again this season, while Doherty’s injury is unknown.
Elsewhere, youngster Dane Scarlett picked up a knock in an FA Youth Cup fixture earlier this week, but it wasn’t expected that he would be involved at Goodison Park anyway.
Ones to watch
With Dominic Calvert-Lewin out of the squad, Colombian James Rodríguez may be the man to unlock the Spurs defence if given the chance.
Their star summer signing, Rodríguez has been involved in just under a quarter of all goals scored in the league by Everton this season despite being injured in recent weeks.
Having netted six goals and assisted four, The Toffees may well need his creativity to shine through if they are to prevail.
Meanwhile, the most obvious threat for Mourinho’s men is forward Harry Kane, who – along with Son Heung-Min – is part of the deadliest duo in the Premier League.
Currently joint top goalscorer in the division – with Mohamed Salah – on 19, Kane will want to grab more goals before the end of the campaign and earn himself a third Golden Boot trophy.
He also sits top of the assists chart – outright – with 13 so has a combined amount of 32 goal involvements in the Premier League alone, adding up to over 60 per cent of all the goals scored by Tottenham so far this campaign.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Holgate, Digne, Allan, Sigurðsson, Davies, Rodríguez, Richarlison
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Aurier, Rodon, Alderweireld, Reguilón, Højbjerg, Sissoko, Lo Celso, Moura, Kane, Son
Where to watch
Kicking off at 20:00 GMT on Friday Evening, Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur will start the weekend’s Premier League action and can be found on Sky Sports Main Event as well as Sky Sports Premier League.