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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
12 January 2012
• White Hart Lane, London
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 36132
A. Lennon 35'
B. Assou-Ekotto 63'
A final word from My Veysey as he soaks in the atmosphere at White Hart Lane: " 'Glory, glory Tottenham Hotspur' played out on the tannoy at the end of another win for Harry's hot spurs. The big question is whether they can truly challenge for glory this season. But this was another fine win as the home side wore Everton down with their pace and invention. Assou-Ekotto's splendid goal is certainly worth a look for those yet to see it."
90' + 3'
And there goes the final whistle! It ends Tottenham 2-0 Everton at White Hart Lane. Spurs are now level on points with second-placed Manchester United with 45 points. They are now eight points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea. For Everton, they remain 11th, level on points with 10th-placed Sunderland.
90' + 2'
One fullback has tried his luck tonight from distance and was successful, how about the other one? Close but no cigar from Walker has his effort from 25 yards whistles past the far post.
90' + 1'
Everton continue to find that elusive final pass but has continually been out of their touch tonight. A very poor performance up front from them. Defensively they have been pretty impressive.
Into stoppage time now, of which there will be three minutes.
First involvement for the Russian as he tries his luck from an acute angle instead of finding a teammate inside the area.
Final change for Spurs as Pavlyuchenko comes on in place of Adebayor.
Yellow Card Marouane Fellaini
Entering the final five minutes now as Fellaini goes into the book. He is another player who has underperformed tonight.
Yellow Card Tim Cahill
After a couple of decent shouts for a penalty in the first half, now it's Everton's turn to feel hard done by as Drenthe appears to be tripped by Kaboul inside the area. The referee doesn't hesitate as he waves away the appeals. Kaboul can feel very lucky there. That looked stone wall.
Yet another close call for 3-0 as Adebayor, who hasn't been at his best tonight, fails to find Pienaar inside the area. Groans surround White Hart Lane, and I don't blame them.
Slightly better from Drenthe as he makes headway into the Spurs box before undoing all his good work by going down very easily under a challenge from Assou-Ekotto. Never a penalty, that.
Spurs make their first change and it is inevitable as ex-Everton man Steven Pienaar comes on to face his old club. Aaron Lennon makes way.
The sums Everton's play up. After 30 seconds to a minute of possession for the away side, they make good progress around the Spurs area before Drenthe hits a cross ball to absolutely no-one and it's suddenly a goalkick to the home side.
As we enter the final 15 minutes of the game, there really is only one winner in sight. Everton have been very poor in the final third. On a separate note, I am currently bang on with my prediction which, trust me, never happens. It, of course, means that there will definitely be another goal in this game.
Yellow Card Aaron Lennon
Here come Spurs again, and again it really should be 3-0 as Bale twice delivers for Adebayor to head home but both times it skims the striker's head. Van der Vaart has other ideas though and decides to go it alone but Duffy gets a nick on it and it flies out for a corner, which comes to nothing.
Oof, that could have so easily been 3-0. Van der Vaart finds Adebayor inside the area and the striker impatiently hits a shot goalwards, and it looks to have the beating of Howard but Baines dives in to stop the ball in it's tracks, and clear. Superb defending.
Here is Wayne Veysey's latest update from White Hart Lane: " 'Are you watching Arsenal' sing the delirious Spurs fans as they tighten their grip on the kings-of-the-capital crown. There were some great celebrations from the Spurs players after Assou-Ekotto's fabulously struck goal. Most piled on top of the popular left-back, while Adebayor mock bowed at the feet of his team-mate."
Well, here's one way. The invisible Anichebe is taken off by Moyes, to be replaced by Real Madrid loanee Royston Drenthe.
So how do Everton react now?
For those that remember Assou-Ekotto's only other goal for Spurs, which was a bullet from 25 yards against Liverpool on the opening day last season, that was even better. Fully 30 yards, if not further out. It did slightly flick off Cahill, but no-one needs to know that.
Assist Rafael van der Vaart
Goal Benoit Assou-Ekotto
GOAL!! He doesn't score often but, when he does, they are always absolute beauties!! Assou-Ekotto picks the ball up around 35 yards out, has a look around, steps forward a couple of steps and wacks the ball past Howard and into the top corner of the net. Stunning strike. 2-0 Spurs.
The first sign of action for Duffy as Modric strides towards him into the area, the ball flicks up onto his arm as he clears. The referee waves away the little protest from Spurs for the penalty.
And, typically, Moyes decides quickly. Youngster Shane Duffy comes on for his Premier League debut to replace Distin. Only his third ever appearance for the club.
Distin is down for Everton and he's shaking his head. It doesn't look good for the 34-year-old. Moyes needs to get his thinking cap on sharpish.
Everton are growing in confidence all of a sudden as they fling cross after cross into the Spurs box, but nothing is testing Friedel's goal so far.
Slight panic for Spurs as Donovan whips in an Everton corner that leads to a bit of pinball inside the area. Kaboul eventually clears.
No improvement from Everton still as Assou-Ekotto darts forward and delivers a great ball into the area that Lennon managed to get a head on, but it's miles wide. To be fair to him, he had defenders all around him... and he's quite short.
That was Bale, nearly, at his best. Livermore gets a foot in and immediately sets the winger bursting forward. He charges 40, 50, 60 yards before having a dig at the edge of the area but it deflects off Heitinga and into Howard's arms.
Assou-Ekotto's inviting ball across the face of goal is missed by Adebayor and Bale, but the latter picks it up near the corner flag and delivers his own cross that Adebayor controls but cannot get a shot away.
So far it's business as usual for Spurs as they are dominating possession, trying to probe the Everton defence.
And the second half is underway. Spurs lead 1-0, but Everton always raise their game after the break.
As the teams come out for the second half, I must give a quick mention to Spurs youngster Jake Livermore, who has impressed in Scott Parker's absence so far.
Here is Wayne Veysey with his input on the first half: "It's time for half-time pies and hot drinks here unless you are hemmed into the famously crammed Spurs press box, as I am. Oh well. There was polite applause for the home team following a mixed first-half display but no-one here willl be getting carried away. Spurs have edged the opening period but need a second goal to feel any degree of comfort against Moyes' well-drilled outfit, who look dangerous on the counter-attack."
45' + 4'
...and it is. The half-time whistle goes! It's Tottenham 1-0 Everton at the break thanks to Aaron Lennon's fine run and shot after 35 minutes.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Landon Donovan
A first booking of the night as Donovan goes in late on Assou-Ekotto, but there really wasn't anything in it. The Spurs man milked it there. This freekick should be the last action of the half.
Two minutes of added time to play.
As we enter the final minute of normal time before the break, Spurs are looking to keep hold of the ball, whereas Everton are showing a sense of urgency which was lacking previously. Saha and Anichebe have been virtually anonymous though.
...Baines whips the ball in, Friedel initially punches it away but it falls to Cahill who has a pop on the volley that flies well wide.
A sloppy pass from Walker lets Donovan to run onto and test Kaboul on the wide right, leading to the defender conceeding a freekick near the corner flag...
Everton are camped in their own half as Spurs look to immediately add to their lead. Even Kaboul opts for a gallop down the left flank before remembering where he is and trots back to the centre of defence.
Will Spurs lower the tempo now they have the lead? Well, Redknapp definitely wants them to as he waves maniacally from the touchline. At the moment, though, it apears it's in vain as Spurs looked pumped.
Assist Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Goal Aaron Lennon
GOAL!! Spurs finally make the break through! A big, long cross-field ball by Assou-Ekotto is jumped upon by Lennon. The winger twists into the area and gets the better of Baines far too easily to slot past Howard.
He has been the star of a medicore show so far and Van der Vaart nearly lit up the show with a reaction shot from 25 yards after Modric's lay-off. The whole crowd hold their breath as the ball lands on the top of the net.
Here is Mr Veysey again with his two cents: "With half-an-hour gone, the natives are starting to get a little frustrated here. Two penalty appeals have been rejected, Everton are looking well organised and Spurs are lacking cohesion in the final third. This has echoes of last Wenesday, when West Brom ensured a war of attrition. Everton are doing the same."
Spurs definitely the team on top at the moment, but are only shading the possession stats 54%-46%. Everton need to do more when they have the ball, at the moment they are wasting every chance through poor passing.
Another call for a penalty for Spurs and this time it's a lot stronger as Cahill seems to trip Modric as they both enter the area. Nothing happening. However, Spurs keep up the attack through Assou-Ekotto and the left-back powers the ball into a group of players six yards out that Bale tries to turn and control but his shot is inches wide.
A very weak shout for a penalty for Spurs as Modric plays in Adebayor but pressure from Distin appears to force the striker to lose his footing. He looks up half-heartedly at the referee, but he's having none of it.
Ooooh, that was easily the best move of the game so far and Spurs really should be ahead. Van der Vaart (again!) gets a foot on the ball as he disposses Donovan with ease. He looks up and plays another great ball forward for Bale. The Welshman runs onto it and plays it across perfectly for Adebayor to tuck away but the striker opts to round Howard instead and his first touch lets him down as the ball rolls out for a goalkick.
A decent chance for Spurs again as Van der Vaart, who as you can probably tell has been everywhere tonight, picks out Modric on the edge of the area but the Croatian's shot is poor and easy for Howard to collect.
As we enter the halfway mark of the first half, there is more flow to the game. Spurs try to take advantage of more slack passing from Everton and counter through Lennon. The winger speeds forward across the halfway line but his attempted backheel to Modric is telegraphed by Baines and the move breaks down. That was definitely the wrong decision.
The Spurs pressure is building. Van der Vaart switches play with a glorious ball over to Assou-Ekotto and the left-back surprises everyone by cutting inside and tries to play in the Dutchman, but the pass is too strong and Howard collects.
...it's swung in by the Dutchman with some speed and it beats everyone in the area. Nothing doing there, then.
Quick link-up play between Bale, Van der Vaart and Adebayor wins Spurs their first corner...
Really not much happening in terms of goalscoring opportunties for either side so far and it's not down to great defending either. Poor finishing seems to be the order of the day.
A corner to Everton, their first of the game, is swung in by Donovan but it fails to be the first man.
A slack pass by Donovan is picked up by Van der Vaart and the Dutchman looks up and threads a great ball forward to Adebayor. The striker, with Distin in front of him, skips towards goal but his effort, as he enters the area, is well over.
Here is our man at the ground, Wayne Veysey, with his thoughts on the preceedings so far: "It's a very mild evening here in north London, so much so that I'm not entirely regretting my decision to wear only one pair of socks. Leading the way on the fashion front are Harry and his three assistants Kevin Bond, Joe Jordan and Clive Allen, who are all wearing matching black puffa jackets. Look like they have goose down. I want one."
Kaboul with a charging run forward allows Adebayor to run wide. The striker collects the ball and lofts it into the area and Bale tries the spectacular with an overhead kick but fails to make any contact and Baines cleans up.
Everton enjoying some time on the ball at the moment, but failing to get it forward to their front two. The game is, predictably, being playing predominantly in the centre of the pitch at the moment.
Now Lennon tries his luck down the right, trying to twist and turn into the penalty area but Baines is more than a match and clears the danger.
Straight up the other end as Bale is set free by Van der Vaart but the move is haulted by the sight of the linesman's flag.
First sight of goal for Everton, inside the first minute, as Donovan takes advantage of a poor headed clearance by Dawson to whip a ball into the box to allow Saha to control, turn and shoot. It whistles past the far post. He probably should have hit the target, to be honest.
And Everton get us underway!
The teams are on their way out. Ex-Everton player Steven Pienaar shakes hands with his old teammates.
So then, with just over five minutes until kick-off what is everyones prediction? My colleague Adithya Ananth has opted for a 1-1 draw. I, on the other hand, believe Spurs have the edge at home and will run out 2-0 winners.
One aspect of this season's Spurs side that Moyes will be hoping to change is their impressive defence. Harry Redknapp's men currently boast the third best defence in the league, behind only leader Manchester City and Liverpool. Unfortunately for Everton, they are currently the joint-third worst scorers in the Premier League with just 20 goals, the same number that Spurs have conceded thus far.
However, Everton usually do well against tonight's opponents. They have won three of their last five games at White Hart Lane and have performed better on the road this season as opposed to in front of their own fans.
For Everton, it's not such a rosey picture. It's same old, same old really for David Moyes charges. A severe lack of funds, emphasised this week with the confirmation that the £10m from the sale of Mikel Arteta will not be reinvested back into the squad, has led to another season (so far) of trying to punch above their weight. They currently lie in 11th place but a draw or better will see them jump two places to ninth.
Spurs are enjoying a fantastic season thus far, since that humilation at the hands of Manchester City they have lost just once, in a game riddled with contentious refereeing decisions at that, and winning 13 times in those 17 games. A win today would draw them level on points with second-placed Manchester United.
Interestingly, had this match gone ahead back in the middle of August, Spurs would be without the focus of their attack Emmanual Adebayor and Everton would have not been able to call upon the likes of loanee Landon Donovan, but they would have been able to play Jagielka and, now an Arsenal player, Mikel Arteta. So who is better off? Who is worse off?
For Everton, the news that Phil Jagielka misses up to six weeks is a huge blow to boss David Moyes. Sylvain Distin comes into the centre of defence,with young striker Victor Anichebe to partner Louis Saha up front.
So the headlines are as follows: For Spurs, Ledley King, William Gallas, Sandro and Scott Parker all miss out through injury, making way for youngster Jake Livermore to have his first start since the beginning of the campaign in the centre of midfield. The negatives aside, the home side will be buoyed with the return of captain Michael Dawson to the starting line-up since the 5-1 thrashing by Manchester City back in August.
Everton: Howard; Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines; Donovan, Fellaini, Cahill, Bilyaletdinov; Anichebe. Saha Subs: Mucha, Drenthe, Stracq, Mcfadden, Gueye, Vellios, Duffy
Tottenham: Friedel; Walker, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Livermore, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart; Adebayor. Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Rose, Kranjcar, Pienaar, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko.
First of all, let's get those teams line-ups for you lot...
This game, of course, was originally scheduled for the opening week of the season (some 22 weeks ago), but had to be postponed due to rioting in Tottenham at the time.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton.
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