Date: 7th December 2012 at 9:32am
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Everton entertain fellow top 4 hopefuls Tottenham Hotspurs at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. Everton extended their run of draws, although, unlike the others, many Everton fans would have been happy walking away from the home of the champions Manchester City with a well deserved point and would have taken plenty of confidence ahead of the match on Sunday. However, that draw extended Everton’s recent results to 1 win in the last 9 games, although, they have only lost once during that time. The visitors head up North in fine form and last weekend recorded a convincing 3-0 win against London rivals Fulham, a result that saw Spurs leapfrog Everton into 4th. That win was their 3rd on the trot and will have the North London side confident ahead of the match on Sunday. Tottenham had to deal with Europa duties on Thursday as they nooked their spot in the last 32 with a 3-1 over Greek side Panathinaikos.

Vital Quotes:

Everton stalwart Leon Osman has urged his side to help ease the burden on star man Marouane Fellaini and spread the goalscorers saying

‘It’s always important to try and spread the goals, but at the same time you’re going to get a period in the season where it’s tough and you need your players playing up the pitch to score the goals. Felli’s certainly been doing that for us lately. He’s a massive player for us at the minute, that’s evident in the way he’s playing and the way we play. We’re not a one-man team, we’ve got a number of good players this year. I think it’s shown in our football this year how we’re developing as a team and that we’re becoming a better footballing team.’

Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas had this to say following his sides 3-1 win over Panathinaikos on Thursday night saying

“We had a good first half, had control of possession, created opportunities and then had a chance for 2-0 that hit the post (from Jermain at the start of the second half), When they equalised it brought a bit more emotion into the game. They had a big chance at 1-1, but it would’ve been unfair if we had lost. It was a good solid performance. It was great for the lads to go through after the way we`ve embraced this competition. The ultimate objective was to reach first place, but Lazio did well. We`re happy to go through.”

Everton Team News:

Everton could receive a massive boost ahead of the match with Belgian summer signing Kevin Mirallas having overcomes a niggling hamstring injury that has sidelined him since the Sunderland game and was pictured training last week, so he should be in line for a call up to the starting XI. Anichebe, who is also suffering from a hamstring injury, is questionable for the match as he continues in his recovery. The only definite outs for the side is club captain Phil Neville who is out until the new year with a knee injury and Seamus Coleman who is out with an ankle injury

Possible Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Hibbert, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic

Player to watch: Kevin Mirallas

The obvious threat for Spurs will be Marouane Fellaini given his scoring form over the past month or so, but underestimate the tricky Belgian winger at your peril. Prior to his hamstring injury, Mirallas was in scintillating form and arguably our best player in the Liverpool, Fulham and Sunderland matches before sustaining the injury. The winger reminds me a lot of Spurs’ Gareth Bale, he may not possess the same sort of power, but make no mistake, the lad is a direct player, isn’t afraid to take players on with his combo of pace and trickery and isn’t afraid to shoot and is a major goal threat. As I said, if Spurs underestimate the threat of Mirallas, they will be sorely punished.

Spurs Team News:

Tottenham received a massive blow following the 3-0 win against Fulham with manager AVB revealing Gareth Bale will be out for a fortnight with a hamstring injury. However in some good news, Scott Parker is continuing his recovery from an achilles injury as he played in the reserve match against Ipswich during the week, however, AVB may decide to be cautious and not rush him back into the side. Left back Assou-Ekotto is also on track for a return following a knee injure, however, the match will be too soon for the Cameroonian.

Possible Starting XI: Lloris, Naughton Vertonghen, Caulker, Walker, Sandro, Sigurdsson, Lennon, Dempsey, Dembele, Defoe

Player to watch: Moussa Dembele

Yet another Belgian who is excelling in this league at the moment. For a goal threat, it is hard to look past Defoe as he is in fine scoring form, and Everton defenders will need to keep an eye out for Defoe or else he will punish us. But, I am a massive fan of Dembele, I still think 15mil is a steal for the lad, on the ball he is exceptional, passing range is brilliant, has a decent peg on him, but to me, for his size, he has a great deal of power and strength, and I think that is the main reason why he excels in this league.. If Everton can limit his effectiveness, I think we will be in line for the 3pts.

Match Facts & Stats

1. Everton have drawn 8 of their 15 games this season, including the last 3, in which they have ended in 1-1. Spurs on the other hand have gone 12 games without a stalemate.

2. Everton have registered a league high 96 shots on goal this season. Everton have also hit the woodwork 13 times this season

3. Spurs have wins a rare commodity in recent seasons against Everton, the last 5 seasons have seen them draw 3 and lose 2, with the last 2 seasons

4. Spurs have a trouble of finishing games, if games ended at 80mins, Spurs would be top of the table. Whereas Everton are slow starters conceding 6 goals in the first 15mins of games this season.

Match Prediction:

Despite Spurs’ good form recently, I am slightly confident. The main reason is because Gareth Bale will be missing and Everton could regain the services of Mirallas, and not only that, due to Bale’s absence it will mean that Mirallas can be more attacking oriented and less tracking back as he would’ve had to done if Bale was fit. Goodison Park has become a fortress of sorts with Everton’s last league loss at home coming back in March. Despite yet another draw, Everton side will be confident, they put in a solid effort against City, and the 1st half was particularly pleasing with Everton outshining City on their home turf. I just want to see something other than a draw, am sick to death of these draws, will be hoping for a 2-1 win to Everton with Jelavic breaking his drought and the ever present Fellaini scoring for Everton and Spurs to grab a consolation goal through Defoe. COME ON EVERTON!!!! 3PTS ARE A MUST AGAINST THE SPUDS!!!!!