Everton 2-6 Tottenham: Report Card as home side get an F and visitors an A

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Tottenham players celebrate

Tottenham Hotspur showed why manager Mauricio Pochettino is a wanted man by thrashing Everton 6-2 at Goodison Park on Sunday to close to within six points of Premier League leaders Liverpool.

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.

THE GOOD

For Everton…

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

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.

For Tottenham…

Tottenham stars celebrate

Tottenham stars celebrate.

‘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.

THE BAD

For Everton…

Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford.

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.

For Tottenham…

Dele Alli is challenged by Jordan Pickford

Dele Alli is challenged by Jordan 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.

GRADING

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.

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