Ronald Koeman and company resume their Premier League campaign this Saturday, September 9th, as they take on Tottenham at Goodison Park in one of the marquee matchups of the weekend. The game is the third of four against top 6 sides from last year to begin the season for the Toffees. It will certainly take a valiant effort to take down Spurs, a team who will be sure to utilize their newest signings this weekend, but it can be done. With that said, let’s take a look at the keys to the game for the Toffees:
Win the Wings
For the Toffees to have success against this Spurs team, they need to make sure that they are winning the game on the wings. It is well known that Spurs’ wing backs are an essential part of their attack, whether new signing, Serge Aurier, plays or not. The addition of Davinson Sanchez also bolsters the back three to a point where the wing backs will definitely have more freedom to move. The strength of Sanchez, Vertonghen, and Alderweireld alone will be a tall task to overcome for the Toffees, but if they cannot control the game on the wings, they will find it tough to have any attacking presence at all. It is essential that the Toffees’ outside midfielders/wingers force the Tottenham wing backs back and don’t allow them to get involved in the offense. If they can’t, it’s game over.
Thou Shall Not Pass
Yes, Harry Kane is the star of this Spurs team, but the players that Everton need to watch out for are Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. These two are the architects of this talented team and if the Toffees let them out of their sight for just one second, there will certainly be trouble. The CDMs, probably Schneiderlin and Gueye, will have their work cut out for them this game following these two around as Alli and Eriksen are quick, smart and seem to find passing lanes at every waking moment. How do the Toffees stop that? They stick to them like glue. If the Toffee CDMs can work to deny the ball from Alli and Eriksen every time it is passed to them or they look to pass, it will be a game changer for Everton. The CBs must also watch those late runs into the box, a staple of the Spurs CAMs over the past couple years, if they want to win this game.
Money isn’t Everything
The Toffees spent a hefty amount on players this summer, but none more than they did on Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. The 45-million-pound fee comes with high expectations and the man behind it will have to live up to those in games like the one this weekend. The midfielder will have to show his worth as the Toffees will look to him to be the center of their offense. His passes will need to be crisp and on point and when he gets a shot at a free kick, he has to be accurate. Sigurdsson needs to be on his A+ game, plain and simple. He needs to be the creative mind behind all of the Toffee attacks, as a bit of that will be needed to break down this Spurs defense. If we are talking key players, Sigurdsson is about as key as it gets for Everton in this one.
All in all, a team effort is required from the Toffees to be successful. Tottenham will come at them every chance they can and it will be hard fought battle from start to finish. One thing is for sure, though, if the Toffees can win the battle across the midfield, it will prove to be a successful afternoon at Goodison.