Two goals apiece but still a lot of work for Everton and Tottenham Hotspur to do if they are to realise their European ambitions and finish in the top six. A draw was not the worst result but it definitely wasn’t ideal as neither side were able to pinch all three points from a challenger.
Harry Kane and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s braces ensured that this fixture, which delivered a 5-4 FA Cup classic in February, served up goals once again. However, the result means that just 19 of Everton’s 49 Premier League points this season have come on home turf.
For Spurs, this was a frustrating evening which saw them surrender a first half lead before clinching an equaliser and then they lost their goalscorer, Kane, to an ankle injury in stoppage-time. It will be a nervy wait to see if he is available for next weekend's League Cup final.
Story of the game
Having only won one of their last four Premier League games, Spurs started with a back three as a way of getting Kane and Son Heung-min in partnership up-front. It hardly made the visiting side a potent attacking threat, however, as the first 20 minutes was played predominately in the midfield area with chances few and far between.
Both side’s defensive midfielders - Tom Davies and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - were both booked before the half-hour was out in a sign of the manner in which the game was being played. Proceedings were screaming out for a touch of quality and that’s what James Rodriguez provided when his pass opened the defensive door and sent through Richarlison, but his shot was too close to Hugo Lloris.
With the pace starting to quicken, Spurs took the lead with their first effort on target. Tanguy Ndombele prised a cross from the left which evaded the head of Michael Keane and found an unmarked Kane at the back post. The Spurs striker had the freedom of the Everton area as he took a touch before firing a shot past the helpless Jordan Pickford, who was making his first start in a month following a rib injury.
It will have disappointed Jose Mourinho that his side couldn’t hold on to the lead for longer than a few minutes. The manner in which the equaliser arrived will have irked him even more. James had just pulled back his left foot to shoot but was brought down by Sergio Reguilon, who had got into a tangle and clipped the Everton playmaker. Sigurdsson stroked the spot-kick into the left corner of Lloris’s goal.
From there it was the home side that finished the half the stronger. Lloris had to be on hand to save a dipping shot from James and then parry another effort from the Colombian after he had been fed the ball by a lovely blind pass from Sigurdsson as the culmination of a flowing Everton move. Richarlison and Ben Godfrey both had headed chances late in the half but were saved and off target, respectively.
It was not surprising that Spurs emerged brighter for the second half after 15 minutes with Mourinho in the compact surroundings of the Goodison Park portacabin. Pickford had to deny Son at the near post after the Spurs attacker tormented Keane on his way into the area. Then a quick counter saw Kane lay off Ndombele but his shot was deflected into the turf and over the crossbar. From the subsequent corner, Toby Alderweireld headed against the woodwork.
Would Spurs pay for missing their early chances after the break? On the hour, Allan chipped a ball into Richarlison, who dispatched a finish but was offside. Then Seamus Coleman, new from the bench, played a one-two with Richarlison before crossing low into the area. There, to meet the ball, was Sigurdsson, who guided a first time shot with his instep into the roof of the net.
Whereas Spurs couldn’t hang on to their first half advantage, neither could Everton in the second half. Erik Lamela had just come on and lifted a ball into the area. Keane stooped and attempted a headed clearance but it struck Mason Holgate’s back and fell kindly for Kane. There was no doubt that the marksman would swipe in for his second of the evening and his 164th in the Premier League, which is the highest tally for a player without a title to his name.
Kane was nearly in again moments later as his header just narrowly missed the target. But after the toing and froing, and for the sake of both these side’s European ambitions, one of the teams had to take a hold of the game.
It was Everton who took the initiative. Carlo Ancelotti sent on Josh King for Davies in an attacking change and it almost reaped immediate dividends when the substitute forced a low save from Lloris and then Richarlison struck the rebound over the crossbar.
That was the closest the home side came in their search for a winner. While for Spurs there was the worrying sight of Kane limping off in stoppage-time after Richarlison landed on the striker’s ankle. It was a painful end to an evening which saw neither side finish completely satisfied.