Monday night football takes us to the magnificent Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Everton pay a visit to a floundering Tottenham Hotspur side looking to leapfrog their opponents in the Premier League table.
Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham side suffered a devastating 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United in midweek to effectively end any hopes of making a top four finish this season, leaving them nine points adrift of Chelsea and looking at the very real possibility of a bottom half finish this season.
They have won just one of their last six league games and are only a point inside the top ten, and on Monday they come up against an improving Everton outfit. The Toffees have won their last two matches and could leapfrog Spurs with a win on Monday and a return to European football is in their crosshairs.
But where could Monday’s game be won? We take a look at the key match-ups that might decide the outcome at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. You can also read the rest of our betting tips and analysis on our Tottenham vs Everton predictions.
Harry Kane vs Michael Keane
Harry Kane remains Tottenham’s attacking talisman and, after a periphery performance against Manchester United on his return to action, he has now rediscovered his goalscoring touch.
A goal against both Spurs and Sheffield United has taken his tally to 19 goals in 28 appearances in all competitions, and his record against the Toffees could be a good omen.
The 26-year-old has scored eight times against Everton since 2017, and it will be down to compatriot Michael Keane to put a stop to that goalscoring run. Everton’s centre back has improved enormously since Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival, averaging a squad-leading 4.4 clearances per match and supporting that with 0.7 blocks, 1.1 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per match.
Richarlison vs Davinson Sanchez
Michael Keane isn’t the only Toffees player to have enjoyed a boost in performance since the Italian manager’s arrival. Richarlison scored his 11th Premier League goal of the season in midweek before being forced off with an injury, although the Brazilian is expected to recover in time for this clash.
He has now scored five goals in his last ten outings for Everton and has picked up three man of the matches in his last nine matches. Davinson Sanchez will have to pay attention to more than just his goalscoring ability though. Richarlison leads the charts for Everton in shots per game (2.7), dribbles per game (1.7) and fouled per game (2), while also being in the top three for key passes per game (1.1).
With Davinson Sanchez expected to partner Eric Dier in the centre of defence, that makes the Colombian the most likely prospect to stop Richarlison. Sanchez makes more tackles, clearances and blocks than his central defensive partner and possesses a fair turn of pace, but if the somewhat hit and miss Richarlison is on form he’s likely to emerge with the upper hand in this battle.
Heung-min Son vs Lucas Digne
Harry Kane understandably takes the majority of Tottenham’s plaudits, but no Spurs fan underestimates the importance of Heung-min Son. The South Korean attacker has netted nine Premier League goals this season and, in his last eight competitive appearances, he has scored six goals and assisted another two.
In fact, no Tottenham player has contributed to more league goals than Son this season, who boasts nine goals and nine assists in total. He makes a squad-leading 2.3 dribbles per game and 1.5 key passes per game, also taking a punt at goal 2.8 times per game.
However, Lucas Digne is a fantastic left back on his day. Only Djibril Sidibe makes more tackles than Digne and he’s rated as the best defender in Everton’s starting lineup this season. This could potentially be the most important battle of the match, and whoever emerges victorious could well find his team on the winning side too.
Alex Iwobi vs Jan Vertonghen
Jan Vertonghen is expected to line up on the left side of Tottenham’s defence on Monday, and that pits him against the dangerous Alexi Iwobi on Everton’s right flank.
The former Arsenal man doesn’t always turn up, but on his day Iwobi’s pace and direct running can really trouble the opposition defence. He’s only scored once in the Premier League this season, but he’s among Everton’s best players in terms of key passes and successful dribbles, and on Monday he comes up against a left back who could really struggle to cope with his pace.
Vertonghen isn’t the fastest of full backs out there, but he does boast considerable experience and excellent positioning at times. Only the injured (and excellent) Japhet Tanganga makes more interceptions than Vertonghen, while Tanganga and Serge Aurier are the only players to make more tackles than the Belgian.
If he can limit the amount of pace Iwobi can pick up, Vertonghen should have the experience and defensive skills to deal with him. That might be easier said than done, though.
Andre Gomes vs Tanguy Ndombele
Andre Gomes faces off with Spurs for the first time since the horrific leg break he suffered against them back in November, and he’ll be hoping for a measure of revenge when he battles with an underwhelming Tottenham midfield.
Harry Winks and Tanguy Ndombele certainly have the skills to dominate the centre of the park, but their performances this season have been well below par and neither of them are among Spurs’ top tacklers or interceptors despite their defensive midfield position.
With Gylfi Sigurdsson set to be rested, it will be up to Gomes to exploit this weakness. Only Fabian Delph, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane pass the ball more often than Gomes in this Everton squad and only Jordan Pickford attempts more long balls than the Portuguese midfielder.
Despite his output, he boasts an impressive pass success rate of 84%, so he’ll be key as The Toffees look to bypass the midfield and get Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin involved.
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