Blues hang on for a point after early Barkley goal

By Michael Kenrick 13/08/2016  213 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Idrissa Gueye made his senior competitive debut for Everton
Everton 1 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur

Everton's 2016-17 Premier League campaign kicks off with a tough assignment against last season's 3rd-place finishers at Goodison Park.

Ronald Koeman's first team selection for Everton is hampered by Coleman missing out with a knock, and Romelu Lukaku is also out with an ankle injury he picked up against Espanyol. No place for new signing Ashley Williams, who is way behind in pre-season preparation but Idrissa Gueye makes his debut for Everton.

Spurs kicked off but soon conceded a free-kick that stalled down the right as the early play was particularly scrappy. Barkley tried to advance to the byeline but Wanyama had the measure of him. Holgate in a back three called upon to clear decisively early on.

Wanyama took out Mirallas conceding a free-kick a fair way out that Barkley curled over everyone, it bounced almost in slow motion in fornt of the diving Lloris who totally missed it s the ball bounce up inside the post and the Park End net. Great start for Everton and Ross Barkley!

Spurs responded with some determined attacking and blocks were required, especially from Jagielka. Deulofeu got forward well and cut inside but rather scuffed his low shot at Loris.

Everton conceded possession for a spell but then moved the ball around nicely until the loose forward ball into the Spurs area. Blues were forced to indulge in some pass the parcel around the back to retain possession, Wanyama getting called for another clip on Mirallas, and another free-kick opportunity but this one well out, yet fired in brightly by Barkley and headed on well by Jagielka, forcing the save from Lloris.

Kane was penalized, perhaps unjustly, for a strong shoulder-barge that sent Funes Mori flying, and once again, Everton stoked the ball around nicely, a tremendous cross in from Baines that Barkley got underneath rather, under some defensive pressure.

Spurs persisted in driving down the middle but the Blues were defending well, and denying them space, with Holgate looking very good. Deulofeu got loose and played the ball forward for Mirallas, both down the right, but his low shot was straight at Lloris when more invention was required on the shot.

The standard of football overall was already an order of magnitude better than the garbage Martinez had served up for the understandably critical Goodison crowd, with far better tempo and good defensive shape to keep Spurs in check.

More Spurs pressure but it was kept at distance, with Eriksen finally making a shooting at Skekelenburg. Some excellent distribution from Funes Mori almost put Lloris in trouble with Deulofeu prowling, and then picked out Barkley well on the edge of the area. /p>

Spurs tried to get the ball forward earlier and almost caught the Blues out but Gueye was alert to the danger. Deulofeu got a chance to run at the Spurs defence but was both indecisive and selfish, missing a ball to Barkley. He did better on the next attack but it was Barkley's touch that was too heavy.

Michel Vorm was a surprise change, the Spurs keeper Lloris coming off at 35 mins, with a hamstring problem.

Alli ran at Jagielka but it was like running at a brick wall, such was the control of the Everton skipper. Mirallas then did well to steal the ball and retain possession through Stekelenburg, with Holgate pumping a great ball forward down the right.

The pace slackened somewhat ahead of half-time, Spurs playing the game at walking pace, the Blues forming an organized defence in front of them. Deulofeu again had a chance to run at Spurs but could not beat Dier.

Deulofeu got one on a plate when he anticipated a poor backpass but his execution was nowhere near smart enough, giving Vorm the opportunity to block it away. It ended an excellent half from Everton nevertheless.

Spurs edged possession in the first half ans that's how things continued as they game resumed but Everton were still too strong for them in defence and Barkely was able to break strongly, feeding Deulofeu who could not beat Dier but won the first of three corners that were delivered well by Mirallas.

McCarthy fed Deulofeu with good movement but again his run in was thwarted too easily. He then took a poke from the edge of the area that Vorm collected easily, when a pass would have been the better choice.

Spurs second switch was surprisingly the excellent Dier, scarified for another striker, Janssen. It led to a better play from Spurs, and a setup for Alli who fired high and wide. At the other end, Mirallas tried a snapshot onto the top corner that had the power taken out of it via a deflection, allowing Vorm to save with ease.

But a superb cross in from Walker, a fine header from Lamela and Spurs were level. So much for all that good defensive structure and discipline. So much for all those chances squandered by Deulofeu.

Spurs looked much brighter and full of energy., as the Blues struggled to restrain them. But Deulofeu did feed a nice ball to Mirallas on the run but the Belgian could not dig out the shot. No-ne on the bench who could do much different for Everton, as Koeman looked on impassively, with Spurs threatening to turn the Blues over.

Barry looked to release Deulofeu but he had strayed offside, and was visibly starting to fade after 65 mins, finding himself offside again. Time for Arouna Kone, perhaps? Yes, the change was made on 68 minutes.

Gueye was far too easily disposed in the middle but it was mopped up. However, the game was being played almost entirely in the Everton half, Janssen winning a corner headed away well by Barkley. Back came Spurs but Gueye did well to break up play and set Kone free, then get into the Spurs box for the return ball. Funes Mori tried his shooting skills from some distance, drifting wide with Vorm scrambling.

The Blues won a free-kick similar to Barkely's scoring one, but his execution this time was poor, unable to clear the first lone defender. The 70% fitness comment seemed to be all too accurate, as Lennon replaced Mirallas, who had sadly produced no end-product to speak of despite putting in some effort.

Everton had seemingly weathered Spurs' peak post-goal impetus and now set about holding on for the draw. They almost gave one up off a Spurs corner, Stekelenburg producing a magnificent point-blank save off Janssen. But it was all Spurs pressure into the final 10 minutes, Barry upending Rose dangerously on the edge of the Everton penalty box. Eriksen curled it well enough but just over Stekelenburg and over the bar.

Lamela got free doen the right and a supeb block defelced it, nmaking the save by Stek extremely difficult as he pushed oit up onto the bar and away. But pressure from corners was intense, as Koeman made the final change: Cleverley on for Barry.

Kone did well to release Barkley but he almost stopped and crossed a lame ball before going down with cramp. All hands at the back as Spurs kept coming forward, and another corner to defend, headed away by Barkley.

Into 3 minutes of added time, and the Blues able to play some possession football to relieve the pressure, and play down the clock, clinging to a vital point that should really have been three with better finishing from some good opportunities. But most will be happy that Spurs did not win this one.

Everton: Stekelenburg; Holgate, Jagielka, Funes Mori; McCarthy, Gueye, Barry (84' Cleverley), Baines; Barkley; Deulofeu (68' Kone), Mirallas (77' Lennon).
Subs not used: Robles, Galloway, Davies, Oviedo.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (35' Vorm), Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Walker, Wanyama, Lamela, Eriksen, Dier (56' Janssen), Dele Alli, Kane
Subs not Used: Mason, Onomah, Winks, Davies, Carter-Vickers.

Referee: Martin Atkinson


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