Mid-way through the season, Everton sit nine points behind Spurs in 11th place. But this team can score goals. Through 19 matches, only Manchester City and Leicester City have scored more, and Romelu Lukaku is tied with Jamie Vardy for the most goals in the Premier League (15). Yes, they lost to Stoke last week, but scored three goals in the process. On Sunday, the Toffies will take on a Spurs side that has allowed the fewest goals in the league this season.
Defensive injuries have been a problem for Roberto Martinez of late – Leighton Baines missed a significant part of the season though an ankle injury and Phil Jagielka has been out with a knee injury since October. While Baines has returned to the match-day squad, Jagielka is unlikely to play against Spurs.
The Everton defence is anchored by goalkeeper, Tim Howard. In the absence of Jagielka, Ramiro Funes Mori should start in the centre of defence alongside John Stones. Baines will probably get the start at left back after being rotated out against Stoke. At right back will be Seamus Coleman.
Everton could be without midfielders James McCarthy and Tom Cleverly who picked up injuries against Stoke. Should Cleverly be available, look for a three-man midfield consisting of Gareth Barry in the holding role with Ross Barkley and Tom Cleverly as more advanced midfielders. Barkley has been a key offensive producer for the Toffies this season, tallying six goals and seven assists.
The front three consists of some combination of former Spurs winger Aaron Lennon, Arouna Koné, Kevin Mirallas, and striker Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku has scored 15 times this season and provided four assists of his own. The in-form Belgian has scored nine goals in his last eight matches and will provide a significant challenge to his Belgium teammates at the center of the Spurs defence.
Lennon, who spent part of last season on loan to the Toffies before joining permanently in the summer, has not scored or assisted this season, but leads Everton in chances created (2.8). Koné, who can also play as a forward, has notched five goals and four assists on the season.
Mousa Dembélé has been ruled out with an injury sustained against Watford on Monday. N’Jie and Pritchard also remain unavailable. Dele Alli has excelled in the #10 role, but it’s possible that he could drop back alongside Eric Dier to accommodate Chadli in the attacking midfield. Though Mason, Bentaleb, and Carroll could also slot into the defensive midfield role, allowing Alli to play further forward.
The Spurs Expected Goal Difference for this fixture is +.23, favouring a draw on Sunday.
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