Everton away was supposed to be a potential banana-skin for Tottenham. Instead, Spurs pulled off a stunning 6-2 win that reasserted their credentials as title challengers, as they kept the gap to Liverpool to six points while moving to within two points of second-placed Manchester City.
On the other hand, it was a disappointing display from Everton, who would have been looking for a statement win against one of the Premier League‘s big six.
Here’s a look at how the players fared.
Jordan Pickford 3 – A bad mix-up between him and Zouma for Tottenham’s opener. Yet another error leading to a goal from Everton’s goalkeeper; not a good night from England’s No1. And he was lucky not to see red.
Seamus Coleman 6 – The only Everton defender to not look all at sea, though he had to deal with Kane, Son, Alli, Lamela and Erisken all making threatening runs.
Michael Keane 5 – Zouma’s goal-conceding error spared Keane’s blushes, because overall, this was a poor performance from the Englishman, who offered no solidity to the back line and was caught too high up the field.
Kurt Zouma 4 – Pickford will get the attention for Son’s first goal but questions will be asked of Zouma as well. A shaky performance from the Frenchman.
Lucas Digne 6 – Penned back when trying to attack, under siege in defence – not a game where Digne could have any impact.
Tom Davies 6 – Looked overrun in midfield against Tottenham’s energetic corps of Sissoko, Alli, Winks and Eriksen. Needs more playing time to regain his Premier League pedigree.
Andre Gomes 5 – Davies’ shaky performance is a poor reflection on Gomes, who should have offered more stability in the middle of the park.
Theo Walcott 6 – His goal masked another under-par performance from the former Arsenal man, who would have enjoyed his opener but has struggled to make an impact this season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson 6 – Possibly the only Everton attacking player who played anywhere near close to his reputation, though it wasn’t enough to have a telling impact even though he scored.
Richarlison 5 – Got an assist for Sigurdsson’s goal with a clever pass, but was underwhelming otherwise.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 7 – The only home player to emerge from this game with a lot of credit. His assist for Walcott was excellent, and he was a tireless presence in attack throughout. Wrongly had a goal chalked off for a slight push on Sanchez.
Morgan Schneiderlin 5 – A poor substitution from Everton as, right after threatening to get back into the game, Schneiderlin’s introduction handed the initiative back to Spurs. Sat too deep and offered nothing going forward.
Bernard 6 – Will rightfully wonder why he didn’t start, even if the busy Christmas fixture list is reason enough to rotate. By the time he came on the game was gone.
Cenk Tosun 6 – Would have needed a miracle to make a discernible impact coming on at 6-2 down.
No player has made more errors leading to goals in the Premier League this season than Jordan Pickford (3).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 23, 2018
Those words keeping coming back to bite him... pic.twitter.com/iJhm8gNZAT
Hugo Lloris 6 – Could do little for either of Everton’s goals, and was largely untroubled otherwise as Spurs dominated.
Kieran Trippier 7 – Unlucky that his fierce free-kick ended up only setting up Kane for a goal off the post rather than adding to his own tally. Showed yet again why he’s such a highly-rated talent
Davinson Sanchez 7 – Sanchez is the embodiment of Spurs’ depth. A solid display from the Colombian, keeping Everton at bay.
Toby Alderweireld 7 – Spurs need to sign him to an extension, because if they let him walk for £25million in the summer, they’ll regret it. Another excellent performance.
Ben Davies 7 – Solid defending, crisp passing – exactly what you want from a full-back. Davies is slowly building a reputation as one of the best left-backs in the league.
Moussa Sissoko 8 – Another solid display in midfield from Tottenham’s rejuvenated Frenchman, who helped Spurs control the game in the middle of the park and stifled Everton’s threat.
Harry Winks 7 – If Winks continues to develop the way he has, he may well end up becoming a regular for both club and country. Another display of composed, incisive passing.
Christian Eriksen 8 – Winks may be earning superlatives for his performances. Eriksen is making his brilliance seem routine. The great Dane ran the show in midfield and his finish was sublime.
Dele Alli 8 – A composed finish rounded off a bruising display in midfield. Alli continues to go from strength to strength. Substitution seemed precautionary, Spurs fans will certainly hope so.
Son Heung-min 9 – A game that showcased Son at his best. Two simple but brutal finishes, and an equally excellent first-time assist for Harry Kane.
Harry Kane 9 – Kane won’t score two easier goals all season – though his second required precise movement and finishing. Another superlative all-around display from Spurs’ talisman.
Erik Lamela 7 – Lamela has blown hot and cold this season, but this was a nice cameo off the bench after coming on at the start of the second half, including a good assist for Son’s second goal.
Oliver Skipp 7 – What a moment for the 18-year-old academy product, making his Premier League debut. Came on in perfect circumstances, with his team 6-2 up, and showcased some neat passing.
Lucas Moura 6 – Would have wanted to come on earlier as Spurs ran up the score, and had little impact after coming on.
⚽️ Away PL goals since Aug 2014:— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 23, 2018
61 Harry Kane
44 Sergio Aguero
34 Romelu Lukaku
33 Alexis Sanchez
32 Jamie Vardy pic.twitter.com/TyQBTcJnZx
Spurs have had to cope with the unwanted attention of Pochettino being linked with the Manchester United job following Jose Mourinho’s sacking this week.
But they showed no signs of being distracted as they roared back from a goal down thanks to doubles from Son Heung-min and Harry Kane with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen also on target.
Everton led against the run of play through Theo Walcott and even former Tottenham midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson’s strike to reduce the hosts’ deficit to 4-2 early in the second half couldn’t spark a revival.
Here is our Report Card from Goodison Park.
Calvert-Lewin impresses – Conceding six goals in 70 minutes at home with the manager employing a line so high their defenders were midfielders for much of the evening, there isn’t a lot to pick from.
But if Marco Silva wants to take solace from one aspect, then it would be in attack. Calvert-Lewin started in the No9 slot ahead of Cenk Tosun and Richarlison – who was moved to his usual position on the left – and the 21-year-old impressed. He showed strength to bulldoze into the box and then intelligence to cut back for Walcott to slot home the opener.
He should have made it 2-0 with a brilliant header only to be wrongly punished for the slightest of nudges on Davinson Sanchez. That really is about it for a plus point from an Everton perspective.
‘Fab Four’ all score – Eight goals being scored in this fixture wasn’t the only eye-opening statistic. Indeed, Tottenham’s very own ‘Fab Four’ – Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen – all scored in the same game for the first time ever.
Obviously that statistic carries the weight of requiring four goals in order for it to come to fruition. Yet, considering the wealth of talent between them, it’s still surprising it took so long for it to be achieved. The string quartet are a fine symphony and together they orchestrated a sweet destruction of Everton.
Kane was their bast passer and finisher, Son was all energy and precision, Eriksen was a delight at the tip of a diamond and Alli’s confidence added to the song sheet. It’s because of those talents Spurs are firmly in the title race.
Pickford’s nightmare – You know in those seconds before a car crash you realise what’s going to happen right before it does? That’s exactly what it felt like when Pickford bolted off his line in the seconds before disaster struck for Everton.
The England goalkeeper had no right to be in the frame as Kane clipped the ball forward with Kurt Zouma largely in control of the situation. As Pickford clattered into his own man, Son was able to profit from the wreckage with an open goal, albeit from a tight angle and requiring an exquisite finish to equalise.
It’s the third error which has led to a goal this season from Pickford – the highest in the league – and while the 24-year-old is an outstanding goalkeeper of fine distribution and shot stopping, repeated mistakes cannot be tolerated. His red face should have then made way for a red card as well because his wild challenge on England team-mate Alli was worthy of dismissal. A car-crash of a performance from Pickford.
Alli’s hamstrung – Pickford bulldozed two team-mates in one day and each with disastrous effects. The first occasion was of course by thundering into Zouma, the second was in injuring his international team-mate Alli.
The Spurs midfielder was forced off at the break after pulling up and clutching his hamstring in the immediate aftermath of Pickford’s dreadful lunge.
The 22-year-old midfielder has a history of recurring hamstring problems and although his withdrawal appeared to be precautionary, heading into a busy festive period, it’s an unwanted sight for Pochettino. The Argentine will hope he won’t be hamstrung for too long if Alli is struggling.
TACTICAL TALKING POINT
Everton’s high line
Yes, Tottenham were absolutely relentless, and yes, they are a far better passing team than Everton, however, the main reason they scored six is because the home side employed a farcically high line.
When will Silva learn and how many more goals conceded will it take? This is no exaggeration, Zouma and Michael Keane were effectively playing as twin No6s and the full-backs were wingers. Spurs found it way too easy to spring forward needing only single-digit passing patterns to enter into the channels or over the top. It was embarrassing.
Marco Silva v Mauricio Pochettino in PL:— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 23, 2018
Dec 2017 Watford 1-1 Tottenham
May 2017 Hull 1-7 Tottenham
Dec 2018 Everton 2-6 Tottenham pic.twitter.com/ReVlfEVs2r
Everton – F
F for foolish and farcical. Need anything more be said? Everton drop out of the top half of the table and questions will be asked of Silva after this shocking defeat.
Tottenham – A
Can’t really get much better than six goals away from home against what could have been a tricky opponent. Spurs are well in their stride and are just two points off second-placed Manchester City. The title race may be a three-horse race.
The England captain was on the bench for the midweek Carabao Cup win over Arsenal but came back along with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as Lucas Moura and Paulo Gazzaniga made way.
Toffees boss Marco Silva also made two changes with centre-back Yerry Mina dropped to the bench along with Bernard, with Theo Walcott and Tom Davies back in the team.
However, there was no place in the squad for Ademola Lookman as Oumar Niasse was included in the matchday 18.