Could Mason Holgate be recalled to help man a central-defensive trio?
Everton head south this weekend for what promises to be their toughest assignment since the trip to Stamford Bridge in early November.
That day, Chelsea, who are now the Champions-elect, demolished a Blues outfit that was still coming to terms with the new demands of Ronald Koeman's management and which was in the middle of a poor sequence of results that would end at one win in 11 games in all competitions.
It was a chastening evening for the Blues as the defensive solidity that Koeman appeared to have restored to the back line evaporated but, while it would take a further five weeks and another dreadful result back in the southeast at Watford, the Dutchman began to turn to the tide.
What's more, since the turn of the year, Everton are unbeaten in nine in the Premier League and among the form teams in the division. They travel to the Capital in buoyant mood and as a very different proposition to the one that was steam-rollered by Antonio Conte's seemingly unstoppable machine.
On this occasion, they meet a team every bit as indomitable on home turf. Spurs may have struggled in their nominal home games at Wembley in European competition but at a transforming White Hart Lane, they have won eight matches in a row and are unbeaten, the only club able to boast such a record in the Premier League.
As if those portents weren't bad enough, Mauricio Pochettino's men trounced Stoke City 4-0 last weekend behind a Harry Kane hat-trick, a victory that kept Chelsea's lead at the summit to 10 points and ensured that the north Londoners remained in second place.
This is, then, just the sort of match where Everton can come in and play spoilers and it's the anticipation of being the first team Premier League team to win at White Hart Lane and thereby press further the potential for a late run at the top four that is so tantalising.
Koeman certainly has the tools to spring such a surprise: a goalkeeper enjoying his best form since arriving at the club three-and-a-half years ago; a defence that has let in just four league goals in 2017 (three of those in one match, of course, against Bournemouth); one of the tastiest midfields in the country now that Morgan Schneiderlin is gliding around the pitch alongside the stubborn Idrissa Gueye, the precocious talents of Tom Davies and the mercurial Ross Barkley; and the league's joint-top scorer in Romelu Lukaku.
If this team can muster the kind of fast start they made against the Cherries, and combine it with the bristling intensity that showed at home against Manchester City in January, then anything is possible. And, as Spurs showed in Europe and at Anfield, for example, they can crumble with the best of them.
“This week is not more of a test than it was last week [against Sunderland] or than it will be in two weeks,” Koeman said in his pre-match press conference yesterday. “Every weekend it's important to be at your best level.
“We know that Tottenham is one of the best teams. They are really strong at home. But, okay, it's a challenge to play against a strong team at [their] home. But be yourself and you can get a good result.
“We will defend differently than they did,” Koeman continued after being asked to comment on Stoke boss Mark Hughes's assessment that Spurs are the best attacking team the Potters had faced this season. “You need to stop the strengths of Tottenham — they have really good offensive football in the team and you need to stop that.”
The Everton boss specifically name-checked Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli as the men his charges would need to shut down as well as Tottenham's marauding full backs so that the supply lines to Kane are restricted (although first-choice left back, Danny Rose, is ruled out).
Pochettino also has minor injury doubts over Kane and Jan Vertonghen while Toby Alderweireld will undergo a late fitness test but it would not be surprising to see the first two or even all three play. Any possibility that they won't be operating at full capacity will work in Everton's favour though.
Koeman, meanwhile, has a virtually fit squad from which to choose and will likely make at least one change to the XI that started the 2-0 win over Sunderland last Saturday. Ademola Lookman's inexperience was evident in that game (it was, nevertheless, an ideal match for him to play and get more top-flight experience) and he probably won't be included in the starting line-up this time around. Past experience would point to Koeman reverting to a back three, possibly with Mason Holgate coming back into the side to replace the 19-year-old forward.
It promises to be a fascinating match-up and indicator of the progress Everton had made under Koeman since the two sides last met on the opening day of the season. That day, the Toffees struggled to maintain their fire longer than an hour but the team that takes the field in N17 this Sunday will be an altogether fitter one.
That ability to last the pace and grab late goals will be vital if the scores are level or close heading into the closing stages and, if Everton can hustle Spurs out of their stride and match them head-to-head, then there's every opportunity they can come away from this ground with three points for the first time in eight seasons.
Kick-off: 1:30pm, Sunday 5th March, 2017
Referee: Michael Oliver
Last Time: Tottenham Hotspur 0 - 0 Everton
Predicted Line-up: Robles, Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori, Coleman, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Davies, Barkley, Lukaku
Full details: ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (95)
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1 Posted 04/03/2017 at 05:59:14
Robles, Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori, Coleman, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Davies, Barkley, Lukaku.
2 Posted 04/03/2017 at 06:56:47
3 Posted 04/03/2017 at 07:07:23
Be something to come away with three points from this one.
4 Posted 04/03/2017 at 07:22:05
5 Posted 04/03/2017 at 07:30:53
I'd like to see Koeman start with an unchanged side and take it to Spurs.
6 Posted 04/03/2017 at 07:31:03
I'd be surprised if we don't come down to earth with a bump at WHL though, we've improved but our away form is still under-par.
But, by the same token, they won't be looking forward to us visiting given how mean we've become at the back and that we've managed to notch some belting results up in recent weeks.
If we can win, I think everyone above us will sit up a bit and worry about us gate-crashing the party. Next week's game is equally massive in testing our European credentials so all I will say is hats off to Koeman and the team for resurrecting a season which I certainly thought was over after the cup defeat to Leicester.
7 Posted 04/03/2017 at 07:44:27
8 Posted 04/03/2017 at 07:53:17
Totally agree that we've got to play without fear, show them that we're just as good as them. If we can get 3 points... we'll be gunning for 4th spot. COYB
9 Posted 04/03/2017 at 07:55:38
We have all been excited and impressed (rightly so) about our good run since Christmas but, apart from Manchester City which we passed with flying colours, tomorrow is undoubtedly our biggest test of the year so far.
It's a huge test tomorrow of our improved mental strength, it's a bogey ground, White Hart Lane, against basically a bogey team that we rarely see a win against, home or away.
We need to start putting some of the home performances and results into the away games, our away record hasn't been up to scratch, if it had been, then we'd arguably be above or level with Liverpool now.
Why we don't flow as well in the away matches is surprising but tomorrow we need to show this improved mental strength; if we start flakey, then we'll quite simply be met with a hammering as Spurs have too many good players for us to go there half-cut.
We need big hearts tomorrow, tenacious pressing and a fearless nature so that we are not restricted to just stopping Spurs playing, we must stop them but also play our attacking game.
A win tomorrow would seriously open the door on pushing that top 5.
10 Posted 04/03/2017 at 08:05:38
Is it possible that Lukaku upfront on his own might be easy work for both Spurs centre-backs therefore another option could be Valenica starting over Davies and playing up front with Rom.
12 Posted 04/03/2017 at 08:16:41
Watching the Liverpool - Spurs game a couple of weeks ago and Liverpool ripped them to pieces by playing it quick through the middle; Spurs didn't know what to do.
It will be a good test for us; if we beat them tomorrow, it could be a better result than the Man City game.
I can't wait for the game tomorrow win this and we can really gatecrash that top 6.
13 Posted 04/03/2017 at 08:28:03
No room for Lookman today. I would play McCarthy instead and let him constantly press their defence in an advanced role.
14 Posted 04/03/2017 at 08:31:53
15 Posted 04/03/2017 at 08:34:04
16 Posted 04/03/2017 at 08:37:56
So, sorry Andrew, I disagree with your thought process. Same for when we play the Red Shite, teams like these hate to be pressed from the get-go. Sock it to them, show them no respect... and beat the bastards!!!!!
17 Posted 04/03/2017 at 08:43:07
Loads of energy to unsettle Spurs and look to break quick with Barkley and Lukaku; Davies and McCarthy to the left and right of the other two, and go and unsettle Alli, because he gets wound up pretty easily.
Really tough game this and even a draw would give the players loads of confidence for the other tough away games we have coming up. Win, and we might even start getting excited!
18 Posted 04/03/2017 at 08:53:23
Stopping the supply to Kane is vital and I'd suggest man marking Dele Alli as he's a major threat in the penalty box.
I need to see the likes of Lukaku and Barkley have huge games tomorrow, they don't always show up in these big away matches and tomorrow is a chance for a couple of head-to-heads to be won...
Lukaku versus Kane
Barkley versus Dele Alli
I'd suggest, if two from the same side win those battles, then they win the match not that there aren't other good players about but these two battles will be very intriguing.
19 Posted 04/03/2017 at 08:53:34
Goals for 30
Goals against 5
Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool have not beaten them.
Man City and Chelsea got beat.
A point would be a great result.
20 Posted 04/03/2017 at 09:02:25
Jim, it may appear that they're a bogey side but our last 10 games see us win 2, draw 5 and lose 3, so it's not THAT bad.
21 Posted 04/03/2017 at 09:08:54
22 Posted 04/03/2017 at 09:23:40
That's the last 10 matches.
Since 1992 we have played 50 matches and won just 7 yes SEVEN against Tottenham.
I don't know about you but I'd suggest that being a bogey side.
23 Posted 04/03/2017 at 09:24:00
If Alderweireld plays, we should beware his danger at set pieces – he is so tall and times his runs to perfection, often finding a mismatch at corners. I don't want to see Coleman or Baines jumping against him.
I think Rom will be up to showing who is the best finisher in the league. A win for us, 2-1.
24 Posted 04/03/2017 at 09:25:20
Fill out the midfield and look for the explosive counter attack. Start with Kev but look to bring on Lookman and Tom in the final 20 when legs begin to tire.
As someone else said, Rom and Barks have to turn up for this one.
25 Posted 04/03/2017 at 09:28:57
1996-97 at Goodison 1-0.
2003-04 at Goodison 3-1.
2006-07 at Spurs 2-0.
2007-08 at Spurs 3-1.
2008-09 at Spurs 1-0.
2010-11 at Goodison 2-1.
2011-12 at Goodison 1-0.
2012-13 at Goodison 2-1.
No win against them since December 2012, the Jelavic winner in injury time.
26 Posted 04/03/2017 at 09:29:46
I would agree with you if we had a high calibre attacking midfielder... but we haven't.
27 Posted 04/03/2017 at 09:34:11
Biggest worry tomorrow will be central defence, even if we are starting to keep clean sheets, so maybe playing these four midfielders might just leave us a bit short when defending wide areas because sometimes our fullbacks will have to tuck in and cover. Who'd be a manager?
28 Posted 04/03/2017 at 10:00:05
A loss wouldn't be unexpected to be honest, but a win would keep that Barcelona talk coming.
We went through the same rubbish with Martinez though.
29 Posted 04/03/2017 at 10:09:06
30 Posted 04/03/2017 at 10:16:28
31 Posted 04/03/2017 at 10:26:34
5/1 for us to win seems too big though, don't you think? Worth a few quid, I'd say.
32 Posted 04/03/2017 at 10:41:15
I'd start with Mirallas and, on the pretence he's playing for his future or psych him up to put in a full shift, he has it in his tank but rarely plays flat out and gives 100%.
Spurs showed against the RS and Gent, they are beatable and in my view EFC can expose the defence with our off-ball running.
A draw would be great and a win fantastic but we must take our chances and banish any daft tackles and acting, as we have been undone at Spurs in recent times by schoolboy errors.
Let's hope for a good result tomorrow and Rom sticks in a couple of early chances, and the referee isn't a bottler.
33 Posted 04/03/2017 at 10:42:46
For this one, I'd go either 3-4-3 with Holgate in for Lookman, or 4-5-1 with McCarthy with Lookman losing out (nothing personal). The latter may seem a bit unbalanced but we would have lots of energy and ball winners all over the park, and with Morgan & Gana as insurance, the 3 could get forward to support Rom.
Both teams could be criticised for over reliance on their centre-forwards for the goals, Spurs slightly less so than us, and Lukaku will be up against two world class centre-backs, so it'll be interesting how he performs.
I suppose it's a mark of progress that I'm looking forward rather than dreading it. COYB!!
34 Posted 04/03/2017 at 10:47:50
We have to produce great home displays on the road...this is the perfect time to do it.
35 Posted 04/03/2017 at 10:52:50
36 Posted 04/03/2017 at 11:03:52
It will be a tough game and a good test to see how far we have come. I think we played well within ourselves last week but Spurs will require us to play well and be strong for the entire game. Can we do that?
37 Posted 04/03/2017 at 11:25:07
I agree with Jim (#18) about Walker, I think we need McCarthy to hug the left side to protect Baines like he did the first game for Holgate. I would like to see the following:
Holgate - Williams - Funes Mori
Coleman - Gana - Schneiderlin - McCarthy - Baines
Let Barkley go wherever he wants, I think they'll stick Wanyama on him to nullify his threat, much as we will with Gana on Dele Alli. If Gana keeps getting in front of Dele Alli, he will get angry and see red...
Gives us good options off the bench:
Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Barry, Davies, Lookman, Mirallas, Valencia (no room for Lennon).
38 Posted 04/03/2017 at 12:08:59
When Everton do play away, the fault lines appear more than when Everton play at home. The Everton defence always looks to have a mistake in them, while up front, the attacking deficiencies show up more and Lukaku looks more isolated than when Everton play at home.
So for tomorrow's match from the start I would include James McCarthy in place of Lookman from the team that played Sunderland last week. Having McCarthy playing will allow Barkley and Davies to play further up the field to support Lukaku and still give Everton a more solid look about them with Gueye, McCarthy and Schneiderlin in a midfield defensive shield.
39 Posted 04/03/2017 at 12:11:29
While I think we have the players to go toe to toe with them, for some reason, our manager cannot get a solid 90 minutes out of them.
Barry should be nowhere near starting... Kane will have enough fun with Williams without giving him Gareth Barry to target.
If we play for 90 minutes, we'll win; if we don't, we'll get hammered.
40 Posted 04/03/2017 at 12:23:17
41 Posted 04/03/2017 at 12:44:50
Bring Lookman and Mirallas on in the second half. We can switch to more offensive by sacrificing Mason. If we need to close up the game bring on Barry. Fullbacks will be really important and need to supply all of our width. They'll also be fairly occupied themselves.
42 Posted 04/03/2017 at 12:57:44
43 Posted 04/03/2017 at 13:09:49
I've made no secret of the fact that I'm not a fans of Koeman's "safety first" attitude, but this could be right up his street; we have the midfield players to negate their creativity; we have full backs who will make theirs think twice about bombing on; Funes Mori and Williams will be forced to defend deep, but they are at their most comfortable doing that anyway.
Spurs are semi decent, but those making them out to be "formidable" are either trying to make a win seem like a miracle or they are simply getting their excuses in early, Even the RedShite took a night off from being err... shite to comprehensively dismiss them recently.
The bookies are being uncharacteristically generous offering 5/1. A win for me and not necessarily by the odd goal.
44 Posted 04/03/2017 at 13:12:02
Just got a feeling that Gana and Davies might run them off their feet and Lukaku can stretch them.
Odds against us but I'm going to be positive and say 2-1... Lukaku and Ross to score.
45 Posted 04/03/2017 at 13:15:46
The cliche that this game is, acidic test etc, is to my mind nonsense. It's a free swing at a team above us in the league. We should as, poster #2 pointed out, play without fear. Cliche anyone!
We have played our best football using 3-5-2; Koeman should revert to this, make our core solid and ensure Rom is not isolated.
I'd pick Mirallas for this one along side Rom. Lookman needs a touch of care after an encouraging appearance or two.
Should we play a nominal 4-3-3, which really becomes 4-5-1 quite quickly, Rom often becomes isolated and Funes Mori in particular the weakest link; to be fair, Williams ain't far behind him.
I expect we will play well in this one, we feel a much more robust and physical side. Good enough for the win.
46 Posted 04/03/2017 at 14:36:17
47 Posted 04/03/2017 at 14:38:03
I think his treatment at the club has been shameful. When he was only used during cup games no matter how badly Howard played Martinez persisted with the Yank. If Stekelenberg had stayed fit, I'm sure he would've remained between the posts.
Robles is the type of player that needs games to establish his confidence, which naturally improves his form and now Everton are reaping the benefits. I guarantee before too long, Robles will be first-choice Spanish keeper.
48 Posted 04/03/2017 at 15:10:39
Well done, the Cherries against the Manc thugs.
49 Posted 04/03/2017 at 15:19:12
Robles | Coleman | Holgate | Williams | Funes Mori | Baines | Schneiderlin | Gueye | McCarthy | Barkley | Lukaku.
2nd half, revert to counter tactics with Davies coming for Barkley and Mirallas coming for McCarthy. 0-1 full time... COYB!
51 Posted 04/03/2017 at 15:41:29
But this game will show the boys mettle. Going for 1-3 score line, mad I know but oh well, alcohol does wonders for your confidence.
52 Posted 04/03/2017 at 16:15:08
IF, and it's a big 'IF' Liverpool and Arsenal draw and we can beat Spurs tomorrow, there will only be 4 points between 4th and 7th place with Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd all to play.
If Liverpool lose tonight, I reckon they'll take 3 points out of the next 3 games. If we can win tomorrow, I think we'll take 9 which puts us ahead of them. Beat them at Anfield (I know, I know) and we can put clear daylight between us and them.
As Rob (#57) quite rightly says, a few of the teams around us have postponed games so we have to make hay whilst the sun shines win all of our games in March, win the derby and we will be genuine Top 4 contenders...
Let me dream for 24 hours at least. :)
53 Posted 04/03/2017 at 16:35:07
Spurs are second in the league, haven't lost at home all season and are on an eight-match winning run at White Hart Lane. I think that makes them the textbook definition of "formidable". Or did you mean "unbeatable"?
We are going to have to be very good to get a win there tomorrow. Not impossible and I'm excited by the possibility we could, but let's be honest and realistic about the calibre of the opposition.
54 Posted 04/03/2017 at 16:54:11
55 Posted 04/03/2017 at 17:10:50
Jim, I can see where you're coming from but I think that the past ten meetings are more indicative of our current situation than stats from the days of Ball, Kendall, Harvey and Latchford.
It reminds me of the Villa fans suggesting that they're a bigger club (now) than us, Man City, Chelsea etc. when all but one of their Championships where before the Boer War, when silent movies were the thing, the Tsar still reigned, women didn't have the vote in other words, it was a different world. Let's right some wrongs tomorrow, eh?
56 Posted 04/03/2017 at 17:24:19
Every duel has to be won, everyone has to work their socks off and pull together. Chances must be taken. When I look at Spurs I half imagine us in a year or two, hopefully with the guile that takes us ahead of their functionality.
They are the good, strong team that Koeman wants us to be. They're nothing special, as is everyone in this league bar Chelsea.
Well, I've said it now. They'd better do it tomorrow!
57 Posted 04/03/2017 at 17:50:58
I've had too many trips to poxy White Hart Lane so I know full well that their players have always been dirty knobheads, but for me, their fans are also a bunch of parasites. Total twats actually, we always seem to have a bad time getting to and from their ground so I actually hate playing them, even worse than going to Old Trafford.
Me, I go for form when good teams play each other so this game looks like being a good 'un. If Barks and Lukaku are up for it then we have every chance of coming away with something.
Be cool and good luck getting back to your coach.
58 Posted 04/03/2017 at 18:20:45
I agree that no-one is any great shakes other than Chelsea at the moment but I do think that Spurs are further down the line in development than we are. They are a much more solid team than we are. Our central defence is very suspect and we lack the goal scoring attacking midfield player. I'm sure by next season those problems will be solved.
Having said that if we approach the game in the right way I see no reason why we can't win as long as the centre of our defence keeps disciplined and doesn't keep hoofing the ball up the pitch giving possession away.
59 Posted 04/03/2017 at 18:25:14
61 Posted 04/03/2017 at 19:15:40
62 Posted 04/03/2017 at 19:41:01
63 Posted 04/03/2017 at 20:20:08
64 Posted 04/03/2017 at 20:28:28
In their last eight games Spurs have failed to beat Gent in two attempts (losing one); lost to Liverpool; narrowly scraped a win against Boro; failed to beat Sunderland; and only extreme late good fortune saved them from a humiliating cup exit at the hands of Wycombe.
Yes, they have achieved some eye-catching results... but formidable? "To be feared"? Not for me.
We have lost many a match at the grounds of the top four teams down the years I can't remember winning one and for me at least, the biggest reason for that is we have always believed the opponents to be "formidable".
The are several ways to beat Spurs tomorrow, but bigging them up before the kick-off is not one of them.
Let Spurs dictate and bully you and they can look quite a side, but several teams have shown that, if you stand up to them, they can be made to look really rather ordinary.
65 Posted 04/03/2017 at 20:56:10
We don't need to throw caution to the wind tomorrow but we do need to pose a threat up front from the start so that the Spurs midfield have something to think about other than providing ammunition for Kane and Alli. For that reason I would play Mirallas who has scored our last two goals at White Hart Lane.
Interesting to note that seven of our eight Premier League wins against Spurs came during the David Moyes era.
66 Posted 04/03/2017 at 21:09:20
67 Posted 04/03/2017 at 21:17:09
Spurs have given up only five goals at home all season, so I don't expect a win, but a draw would be a great boost heading into two eminently winnable home fixtures.
68 Posted 04/03/2017 at 21:26:28
P 13 W 11 D 2 L 0 scoring 30 conceding 5.
That just illustrates the task we face tomorrow. I have seen them completely dominate Man City, Chelsea and roll over Stoke City with considerable ease last week. A point will be a good result.
69 Posted 04/03/2017 at 21:34:12
For me Mirallas should definitely start this game in a 4-5-1. He has found Lukaku with two beautiful passes in recent weeks from which the big fella scored.
Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines
Barkley, McCarthy, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Mirallas
From my perspective, this is the biggest game we have had in a long, long, time derbies included. Get a result here and we are definitely on the up.
70 Posted 04/03/2017 at 21:37:48
However, Rose has been out and Spurs have not been as potent as they were despite the Stoke result. Obviously Everton need to counter Walker's forays tomorrow but they will have to keep Coleman quiet also.
As in most games it comes down to the battle in midfield and if Everton can contain Spurs early then they can win. It is possible Barry may come in on the left to help Baines and contain Walker. If Everton are due to lose a game, then let it be this and win the game against RS.
71 Posted 04/03/2017 at 21:41:42
All of that said, and as one who wrote off our season after the FA Cup defeat, we have to start to develop a mentality that take us to places like WHL with an expectation of victory; we do still retain a chance of getting higher up the table and why should we not be confident?
72 Posted 04/03/2017 at 21:53:53
73 Posted 04/03/2017 at 22:06:33
Go into the game 0-0 not 1-0 down before you get on the pitch... they're fucking Spurs, perennial fuckin bottlers. One league championship ever, friggin shit team, shithouse supporters, and shit history. COYB
74 Posted 04/03/2017 at 22:32:56
That would send us into our season cup final ( or me anyway) to win at Anfield for the first time in whatever amount of years full of confidence.
Come on Everton...
75 Posted 04/03/2017 at 22:59:20
To be honest, we were poor against Stoke and Boro away so how any even optimistic blue can call this for us is dreaming, I'm afraid. Up against the Premier League's best home side, I'll be shocked but so so happy if we get even a point. But you never know... COYB
76 Posted 04/03/2017 at 23:24:06
In addition Dier has lost a bit of form of late so a bit of pressure on him wouldnt go amiss..
Spurs are there to be beaten and we need to do it. Ross needs to show the media golden boy who is the boss and be at his best.
77 Posted 05/03/2017 at 01:00:37
EFC let's take inspiration from Tony Bellew, "True Grit"!
78 Posted 05/03/2017 at 01:11:22
We now have an abundance of talent there.
79 Posted 05/03/2017 at 01:36:08
We draw and It'll be; Only one team interested in playing today.
We win: Poor Spurs slip up a home.
80 Posted 05/03/2017 at 01:50:16
For us supporters, we just want loads of buses carrying cups an shit round Bootle and Blundel Sands. (I'm a Sandgrounder by the way.) But I love the Irish Sea!
And that's it. xx
84 Posted 05/03/2017 at 08:18:40
Can the team shock and surprise the fans by keeping up the excellent home record but also by picking up a win away to one of Tottenham, Liverpool, Man Utd or Arsenal??
Which is probably going to be needed if we want to finish above one of United or Arsenal, I doubt we'll topple Liverpool, but certainly freefalling Arsenal and United are within grasp.
Or will we just revert to the Everton we are all used to and flounder within the usual glass ceiling in those type of away games, having four cracks away to these top sides in a short space of time and winning none?
It should make for a intriguing watch.
85 Posted 05/03/2017 at 08:57:19
No doubt that we can take Spurs on. We'll learn a lot about both teams today.
86 Posted 05/03/2017 at 09:36:31
Davies has to play because, without him, Barkley will become anonymous, and creatively we will just dry up.
I'm sure we will give a good account of ourselves, but we need to be 'up for it' from the start.
87 Posted 05/03/2017 at 09:52:23
89 Posted 05/03/2017 at 10:46:24
Any draw is a great result in all honesty.
90 Posted 05/03/2017 at 10:53:04
91 Posted 05/03/2017 at 10:58:55
Can Lukaku score away against one of the big boys? Can Barkley surprise us all and grab this game and control it?
I know results are the be-all and end-all but if we got a good performance and even a draw today then I'd be very happy going into future away games against top teams this evening.
A poor performance and a loss and at least we'll be well and truly put back in our box for another season.
92 Posted 05/03/2017 at 11:28:18
We have players who can hurt them, I don't think Pochettino or his players are thinking banker home win as the bookies' odds suggest.
Our record at the top clubs hasn't been great for a number of years hence why many posters are apprehensive about winning today. I even heard Leon Osman on the radio who said he would snatch your hand off for a 1-1 result today. But let's hope the new mentality that Koeman is trying to instil will bear fruit and show we can compete away at clubs in the top 4.
94 Posted 05/03/2017 at 11:41:23
95 Posted 05/03/2017 at 11:49:16
96 Posted 05/03/2017 at 12:06:54
97 Posted 05/03/2017 at 12:09:48
Unless Koeman has a 'master plan' I think a draw is the best we can hope for. It's essential that McCarthy plays instead of Lookman so that we have plenty of 'grit' in midfield.
98 Posted 05/03/2017 at 12:29:36
I'd take a draw.
99 Posted 05/03/2017 at 13:24:34
100 Posted 05/03/2017 at 13:25:38
However a well rested Barry, should stay composed and helps us grow into the game. With Lookman to come on later.
I was hoping Koeman would just go for it! Not likely though was it?
101 Posted 05/03/2017 at 13:32:53
Not much hope here.
102 Posted 05/03/2017 at 13:41:08
103 Posted 05/03/2017 at 14:17:54
At least were only one down. He needs to change it decisively now. Start by taking Barry off and putting gana back where he belongs.
They are not a better team than us.