21/12/2023 57comments  |  Jump to last
Match Preview

Vitalii Mykolenko looks set to be involved after missing the last two games through injury

Everton travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium looking to lift themselves back up after disappointment in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening with what would be a fourth successive win in the Capital.

The Blues were beaten on penalties by Fulham and denied an all-Merseyside semi-final against Liverpool when Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye failed to convert on the shootout on Tuesday but the focus now shifts back to the Premier League and the ongoing quest to avoid relegation following the points deduction imposed by the Premier League last month.

Over the last 10 League matches, Everton have been in Champions League-qualifying form but they face what is arguably their most difficult assignment since the Anfield derby in October when they face a Tottenham side that has been rebounding from a loss of form and an injury crisis of their own.

Ange Postecoglu's team was already disrupted by the loss of key players like James Maddison, Ivan Perisic and Rodrigo Bentancur when they had two men sent off against Chelsea at the start of last month and went down to a 4-1 home defeat.

Article continues below video content

That was the North Londoners' first defeat of the campaign and they followed it with two more against Wolves and Aston Villa but so far this month, they have held Manchester City to a 3-3 draw, thrashed Newcastle and won at Nottingham Forest.

Their defeat on home turf to West Ham two weeks ago, however, offers hope to Everton that Spurs can be beaten even as some of their injured players start to return, Richarlison has started to score goals and they look more the outfit that started the season in such red hot form.

Postecoglu will also be without Destiny Udogie and key midfield man, Yves Bissouma through suspension, while Maddison, Perisic, Bentancur, Ryan Sessegnon and Micky can de Ven are ruled out through injury. Giovani Lo Celso and Brennan Johnson are doubtful. 

For the Toffees, Vitalii Mykolenko looks set to be passed fit. He missed the win at Burnley a week ago and the Carabao Cup tie with an apparent groin issue but Sean Dyche confirmed in his press conference today that the Ukrainian is "back in the thinking" for this weekend.

Seamus Coleman and Ashley Young won't be fit, however, and Abdoulaye Doucouré also remains out, with the Frenchman unlikely to feature against Manchester City on the other side of Christmas either.

A fully fit and firing Blues team would fancy themselves to pull off what would be a first Everton win at Tottenham in front of a crowd since 2009. However, the absence of Doucouré removes a key component of the attack and tends to leave Dominic Calvert-Lewin isolated and less effective leading the line.

Jack Harrison and James Garner have been deployed in the role behind the striker in recent weeks while Arnaut Danjuma offers a possible alternative based on his cameo against Fulham in the Cup but Dyche may err on the side of midfield solidity and partner Idrissa Gueye with Amadou Onana and push Garner into the "10" position once more.

And if Tuesday's game has any bearing on the manager's thinking, he could hand Calvert-Lewin a breather and play Beto from the start. The Portuguese is looking increasingly at home in England as his fitness and experience of the Premier League builds and he would, no doubt, relish the opportunity.

At the back, Mykolenko's presence would allow Dyche to retain a conventional back four, with James Tarkowski and Jarrad Branthwaite restored to the centre.

Kick-off: 3 pm, Saturday 23 December 2023
Referee:  Stuart Atwell
Michael Oliver
Last Time: 
Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 0 Everton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, Harrison, McNeil, Garner, Beto


Reader Comments (57)

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Paul Hewitt
1 Posted 21/12/2023 at 20:14:13
Great news. He's been excellent this season.
Derek Knox
2 Posted 21/12/2023 at 20:21:50
They say "You never miss the water till the well runs dry".

Very apt since Mykolenko has been out; how much he was missed… especially Tuesday night. We need our strongest possible eleven available for Saturday!

Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 21/12/2023 at 20:28:40
Mykolenko back with Branthwaite alongside Tarkowski, with Patterson. I'm happy with that.

Forget the penalty. Onana to build on his Burnley performance and goal. Garner & Gueye.

Harrison can have a go at this lot, as can McNeil.

Beto to bully their defenders.

As always, I don't care who plays, just compete and fight.

Nigel Munford
4 Posted 21/12/2023 at 22:46:54
No question of contention if he’s fit he’ll play, should always be first choice.
Kieran Kinsella
5 Posted 22/12/2023 at 00:40:55

Good point. This wing back malarkey isn't working out. Mykolenko
has also become an attacking threat. He was a bit of a slow burner but he's showing his quality now.

Also, if we don't cross paths again on ToffeeWeb have a merry Christmas mate.

Simon Harrison
6 Posted 22/12/2023 at 03:33:48
Hurray! I hope Myko is fit and available to play. We're a better team with him playing thus far.

That's all...

John Atkinson
7 Posted 22/12/2023 at 04:30:14
I went to Spurs in 1996 with my Australian wife. I'd introduced her to Everton. She became overwhelmed by all things Everton (thanks to ESCLA).

We went to the scum and saw out a nil-nil shite match. We were both Social Workers at the time. Living in Aton. Tracey wore our away strip shirt in yellow and blue stripes and I in collared DANKA. We left the ground and some Spurs fans decided to batter us for no reason. We were no threat to them but my wife suffered a bad head injury from a flying bottle.

Just saying I fucking hate Spurs with a passion called hate.

£70M Onana?? Please.

Chris Jones (NZ)
8 Posted 22/12/2023 at 06:11:48
John – a passion called hate? Hope that your wife wasn't too badly hurt and it was the 'start' of a love of Everton.

Perhaps the thugs had a taste of their own medicine one day "And what you give is what you get"?

Ajay Gopal
9 Posted 22/12/2023 at 06:42:24
Lyndon, I doubt that Dyche will replace Calvert-Lewin for Beto. Dyche (like Moyes all those years ago) trusts a few key players and is loathe to change things unless there is an injury/suspension.

Doucoure will be a big miss with his goals and nuisance value in the box. But perhaps Onana steps into that role and hopefully, he has been practicing all week on striking the football with force.

Strangely, Dyche has not used Dobbin since that goal he scored against Burnley. I would like to see him come on at some point.

The defence is looking pretty solid – the opposition has not scored against us the past 5 games (I am not counting the Keane own-goal) which is pretty darn impressive.

Tottenham will be a different kettle of fish though, with Son, Richarlison, Kulusevski in good form. But the rest of their team (based on available players) is no great shakes and if Everton can keep the ball in midfield and convert the chances that come our way, I am hoping we can come away with a decent result.

Steve Shave
10 Posted 22/12/2023 at 07:10:51
I'd also be surprised if Calvert-Lewin was rested, unless of course he's been blowing tugs since the Fulham game (where I admit he looked jaded). He is a superior player in every sense to Beto (who I quite like). Calvert-Lewin needs a goal to reward his effort in the last month.

Mykolenko coming back is a huge bonus, I am one of the few on here who believed he would come good as a solid defensive left-back and am delighted to have been proved right, baller. I'd pick the team suggested above except swapping Calvert-Lewin and Beto around, Beto to come on early if things aren't going our way.

John Atkinson, I am sorry you and your partner went through that, I can understand your "hate". We can get something from this, let's do it for John and his Mrs COYB!

Derek Knox
11 Posted 22/12/2023 at 07:12:59
Thanks Kieran @ 5, I would never cross your path mate, especially if you were driving a fast Chevy, unless I was in a Dodge !

Seriously, wishing you and all TW'ers the very best for Xmas. A special thanks to Lyndon and Michael for their continuous good and unstinting work bringing all things Everton to our screens!

Hope Swan (Lake) gets his selection right against Spurs and we have a Nutcracker of a game!

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 22/12/2023 at 08:13:32
I'll echo that Derek.

Thank you Lyndon and Michael for providing the best football forum out there. And as someone who scours other supporters' forums, as I like to get the opposition view, I mean that genuinely.

We debate, disagree, lock horns, argue and agree. But the commonality is that we are all Evertonians. For some of us, it's all we can remember. It is my first memory. For others it came to them. It doesn't matter. We are all Everton family.

Best wishes to all.

Onto tomorrow. Spirit. 1985.

Tony Everan
13 Posted 22/12/2023 at 08:17:40
It's a tough game, the hardest on this fantastic winning run , last two games there we have scored 0 and conceded 7. Kuleveski, Son, Richarlison will test our defence to the maximum.

Major pluses are Mykolenko back, Tarkowski and Branthwaite back as a pair. Right-back, Young or Patterson I don't know, both will need to have a perfect game. I'd stick with Patterson, he needs to grow as a player and matches like this will help.

Same with Beto or Calvert-Lewin, I don't know, Beto looks more likely to score at the moment, but the graft and discipline required here may just tip the balance to Dom.

Also, he was the player who got the winner a few years ago 0-1, when James Rodriguez was pulling all the strings for that, all to brief, halcyon period.


Patterson Tarkowski Branthwaite Mykolenko
Harrison Garner Gana Onana McNeil
Calvert- Lewin

Tottenham 0-1 Everton. COYBLUES!

Christopher Timmins
14 Posted 22/12/2023 at 08:46:01
Let's hope for another win on the road in London to add to the many that we have already achieved this season.

With Mykolenko back in the fold we are in with a real shout.

Danny O’Neill
15 Posted 22/12/2023 at 08:54:51
Christopher, in line with the festive film season, Chicken Run for those who know it.

Let's knock that chicken they call a crest off the roof of White Hart Lane tomorrow.

Prisoners of Prince Rupert's. 1878 Originals.

Fear no-one. Loud and proud.

Apologies, it's that time of week.

Christopher Timmins
16 Posted 22/12/2023 at 09:05:39

Loud and proud tomorrow, no apologies necessary!

James Lawton
17 Posted 22/12/2023 at 09:14:00
Can I add my praise to others and thank Lyndon and Michael for all their hard work in producing this brilliant site.
Mal van Schaick
18 Posted 22/12/2023 at 09:25:51
This will be a tough test, but I am hoping that our resilience over many recent games, will spur us on to get a result, and that would be a benchmark of where we are with our squad. A 1-0 win away would do me.
Anthony Dove
19 Posted 22/12/2023 at 09:28:47
Just to add my praise and thanks to Lyndon and Michael.
Brian Harrison
21 Posted 22/12/2023 at 09:50:04
Well, we are hoping for a 5th win on the bounce in the league, although I think this will be the toughest. My main worry is for Son to run at Patterson, we need to make sure he doesn't get a one-on-one against Paterson. Great Mykolenko is back as he will keep Kulusevski quiet. It will be really strange to see Richarlison on the opposite side.

They like to play a high line but I am not sure we have anybody pacy enough to take advantage. I think it will be interesting to see what side Sean Dyche selects.

Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 22/12/2023 at 10:23:14
Tarkowski will cover, Brian.

McNeil on the break. Think the Brighton match last season.

And Harrison too.

Brian Harrison
25 Posted 22/12/2023 at 10:37:44
I hope you are right, Danny, but I do worry how we cope if Patterson gets exposed.

Both of these clubs are in the top 5 of clubs with the most debts as of 2022, Spurs being the most indebted and no surprise that both have or are building new stadiums.

I read some stats that surprised me, Liverpool have only the 5th highest wage bill but of that wage bill Salah earns 15% of their total wage bill earning £18.2 million a year.

Each year clubs are paying players more and more money and surely someone with half a brain will see you can't give in excess of 90% of your income on wages like we do.

Although a salary cap has been talked about and I believe Man Utd have set themselves a maximum payout to £200,000 per week, I know people will say how can they possibly manage on that type of salary cap.

How mad we pay players such ridiculous salaries yet doctors who save lives everyday get a pittance of what an average squad player gets in the Premier League.

Christopher Timmins
26 Posted 22/12/2023 at 10:39:28
Spurs will play a high line, there won't be much room for Son to attack Patterson. We have to take advantage of the space which result from them playing such a high line. We also need Dom to get us up the park as they will try and box us in.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 22/12/2023 at 10:48:56
I would take a point right now.
Rob Hooton
28 Posted 22/12/2023 at 10:53:25
I'm not feeling very confident about this one, I bloody hate Spurs and I think our record against them in the Premier League is pretty crap?

I'd pick our fastest squad player for the ‘Doucoure role', as hitting their high line on the break might be our best chance of scoring.

I'm going to predict a 1-1 draw, but my heart wants us to stuff them 0-3 - would be a perfect Christmas present!

Echoing the thanks to Michael and Lyndon for giving us our Everton refuge and a great site, Merry Christmas to everyone.

Ian Bennett
29 Posted 22/12/2023 at 11:08:56
I know it's not worked before, but I would go Beto and Calvert-Lewin up top. Get it forward early, 4-4-2.

Spurs have a problem at the back, and that's an issue in the Premier League.





Jim Wilson
31 Posted 22/12/2023 at 11:45:52
I hope Mykolenko is fit to play and we can get back to the back 4 that has served us so well.

In my opinion, we got away with the back 3/5 last week because it was Burnley we were playing. They were constantly getting behind our defence on our left side and against a better team we will get punished.

Back to basics, 4-5-1, hard work and hope for a miracle that the ref is not a corrupt 6 man! Nor the VARR.

Stuart Atwell and Micheal Oliver again!

Niall McIlhone
32 Posted 22/12/2023 at 11:59:48
I am liking the positivity on here, but this is a very difficult game for us, as Spurs have found some form again of late.

Much of the threat they offer comes through Son, and the excellent Kulusevsky, but our players are organised, fit, and motivated, so we shall see? No doubt our stellar away support will again give their all, I think it will be a close game, possibly with a single goal either way.

I sincerely hope our travelling fans get there and back without undue delay; looking at the transportation systems in London on UK news outlets, it appears – yet again – that there is chaos for weary travellers over Christmas. COYB

Jimmy Carr
33 Posted 22/12/2023 at 12:53:56
I read The Guardian's standard Premier League review of this weekend's games: Ten Things To Look Out For This Weekend.

Once again, Everton reduced to a passing mention. The paragraphs devoted to the game were all about Tottenham. Unless we're in serious relegation trouble, or at the wrong end of a points deduction, then The Guardian isn't interested.

I'd love us to beat Spurs this weekend and see whether The Guardian mention us in more than passing then. If Mykolenko's back and Branthwaite is restored next to Tarkowski, then I suspect our defence will relish keeping Son and Co at bay. Dyche will have set up to nick one or two at the other end. Dom is due a goal if he starts.


Jerome Shields
34 Posted 22/12/2023 at 13:27:30
I think Beto is a must, particularly against a high-line Spurs.

Really impressive stadium. Had my moments at White Hart Lane.

Away supporters need to watch out, particularly outside the ground after the game. Stay with the crowd and get out of the area.

Alan McGuffog
36 Posted 22/12/2023 at 14:27:46
Never fear, Jimmy.

After Branthwaite delivers another imperious display, all the media will be banging on about how he deserves to be at a bigger club than plucky little Everton.

Paul Birmingham
37 Posted 22/12/2023 at 15:23:38
Tomorrow is a massive test. Hopefully the officials will keep Spurs in check in terms of cheating on the pitch, diving and feigning. Target their back line and hopefully keep them on the turn.

Doucouré is a massive loss so Beto for me should start. He will need good service but also his style will surprise the Spurs defence. But no charity and gives good as is given on the park.

Spurs on their day are a good side, but they aren't as good as the press often describe them to be.

Spurs has always been a tough away game off and on the park but Everton can take them, especially from set play.s But Everton must convert opportunities from 6 or 8 yards out, that they regularly make in most games this season.

Hopefully, Calvert-Lewin gets an early goal tomorrow, and kicks on.

The Very Best of The Seasons Greetings to Evertonians, and have a Ball.

Richard Lyons
42 Posted 22/12/2023 at 16:26:42
Jimmy Carr (33) have a read of this:

Brian Williams
44 Posted 22/12/2023 at 16:31:45

Me too mate, me too!

Dave Abrahams
46 Posted 22/12/2023 at 16:37:39
Brian (@44),

Yes, gather those points in, three are great but those from draws will come in very handy at the end of the season, or before, if/when we get some of those points back after the appeal.

Joe McMahon
47 Posted 22/12/2023 at 16:44:45
Jerome, agreed, it's not the poshest of areas!
Brian Williams
48 Posted 22/12/2023 at 17:50:49
Dave #46.

Aye mate it's important we keep the momentum going and if we can draw away at the top six sides with maybe the odd win we'll be fine. 👍💙

A draw tomorrow would be a very good result for us IMO.

Jimmy Carr
49 Posted 22/12/2023 at 18:09:10
Richard (42)

Thank you for that. It did make me feel better reading it. :)
Jonathan Oppenheimer
53 Posted 22/12/2023 at 19:01:19
If Mykolenko is back, I feel good about this one, with Garner pushing forward to replace Doucoure. If Myko isn't fit, I'd like to see Godfrey out on the left, to keep the 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 consistent.

I think there's an argument to be made to replace Calvert-Lewin with Beto to see what he can do for 60-70 minutes, but I don't see Dyche putting the two of them together, nor do I think it would work because Beto can't run and press like Doucoure and our other midfielders

It's time for Calvert-Lewin to get on the scoresheet. Tomorrow is the day. Plus Richarlison wouldn't dare keep scoring against us. Let's grab a needed point or three to put the Fulham match in the rear view mirror. And let's move on from the Onana miss, which was bad but deserves our forgiveness.

Happy holidays to all, and another thank you to Lyndon and Michael for building this tremendous community.

Billy Shears
54 Posted 22/12/2023 at 19:01:43
With a little momentum lost in midweek, I fear the worst in our remaining games this year.

3-1 to the Spurs and of course Richarlison to score against us!

Simon Harrison
55 Posted 22/12/2023 at 19:02:50
Sorry if this has been posted elsewhere, but here is Sean's pre-game match conference;

Dyche's pre-match presser Spurs vs Everton

Here's the timeline (and content of the video)

0:00 Intro
0:31 European Super League
1:39 Team news | Young, Coleman, Doucoure, Mykolenko
2:12 January transfers
2:55 Everton's recent form
3:21 Onana
4:25 Beto
5:17 Tottenham Hotspur
6:38 Confidence
7:48 Assessment of Tottenham Hotspur
8:34 Game plan vs Tottenham Hotspur
9:28 Mentality
10:57 Hangover after Carabao Cup defeat?
11:27 Workload
12:15 Transfer
12:40 Christmas
13:13 Danjuma

Simon Harrison
56 Posted 22/12/2023 at 19:12:30
I'm really worried about this game! I mean really worried... I just don't want us to come off the rails and tread-water on 16 points!

I think that Spurs just match up well against, however, the flip-side to that is that with them being very attacking, it gives our counter-attacking style a chance to get at them...

The problem regards their attacking four (If available and selected) is that Richarlison, B Johnson, Kulusevski and Son, are all (usually very) willing to track back and defend.

A lot of Spurs goals have come from the ball being won back around the half-way line with a quick break against an out-of-position defence.

I think our formation and tactics will be more important for this game than the playing personnel selected.

The thing I'm staying positive about is that if we do get the full three points, we jump from 16th to 12th. Allowing for other results obviously.

Simon Harrison
57 Posted 22/12/2023 at 19:14:47
Billy, [58] any possibility of some positivity, other than telling us what you're betting slip says?
John Atkinson
59 Posted 22/12/2023 at 20:35:25
Chris #8. Thanks mate and yes that was a Jam reference! Respect to you my antipodean brother!
John Atkinson
60 Posted 22/12/2023 at 20:52:23
Steve # 10 cheers mate!! I'd take a nil nil tomorrow!! Hope our Richy scores an own goal though!
Derek Knox
61 Posted 23/12/2023 at 07:30:40
Hoping as always for a win, in which hitherto has been a bit of a bogey fixture for us, but am slightly buoyed by our inexplicably better away than home form.

Glad Mykolenko is back, his absence has displayed how important he is for us, and upsetting the balance in defence. Plus he has recently developed an eye for goal.

COYB 💙💙👍

Laurie Hartley
62 Posted 23/12/2023 at 07:48:34
I think our manager may outsmart Ange here. We can win this – if we do, we will be:-

Singing the Blues!!! (again)

Danny O’Neill
63 Posted 23/12/2023 at 08:09:41
To interpret a famous 1980s advert.

"Tottenham Hotspurs? Who are dey?"

We are Everton. Be brave and bold blues.

Colin Glassar
64 Posted 23/12/2023 at 09:35:25
I don't see why we can't get a result today. Spurs will always be spursy so anything can happen.

If Mykolenko is back then our defence will be solid. Doucoure will be a miss but Idrissa will work his little socks off. I'd start Beto and tell him to run at them till he drops then bring Calvert-Lewin on for half an hour.

Danny O’Neill
65 Posted 23/12/2023 at 09:52:19
That might be a good shout, Colin.

Start Beto and let him bully them, then bring on a fresh Calvert-Lewin to get the winner.

John Hall
66 Posted 23/12/2023 at 11:11:05
Is Doucouré French? I thought he was from Mali.
Mark Taylor
67 Posted 23/12/2023 at 11:39:28
Hope Mykolenko is fit. If we play the system and personnel we did versus Burnley, I think Spurs will have a field day.

I'd take a draw without a moment's hesitation.

Rich Pembo
68 Posted 23/12/2023 at 11:46:16
Recent better form largely included only one of Gueye and Onana in midfield, not both at the same time. Fulham game reminded me of this.
Colin Glassar
69 Posted 23/12/2023 at 13:36:57
Doucoure is French born of Malian parents, John. He chose to play for Mali. Not that he would ever get into the French side anyway.
Kevin Edward
70 Posted 23/12/2023 at 13:41:07
Really hoping for a win, or at least a point today. We are due something against Spurs, but probably the ref will decide the result.

A win would go to making up for the bitter disappointment of the lost penalty shootout, another massive opportunity missed.
But we move on ….. don't we?


James Hughes
71 Posted 23/12/2023 at 13:54:05

Doucoure is from Mali but recently announced his retirement from international football. So he won't be going to Afcon.

Gerry Quinn
72 Posted 23/12/2023 at 13:55:44
Our record v Spurs over the last 10 years is: 1W - 10D - 10L, which, to me, makes this our bogey team.

Hopefully we can double our win number today!

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