The Toffees are usually challenging for a European spot round this time of year, but inconsistency has severely dented the Merseysiders’ hopes of achieving such an objective.
David Moyes’ side currently sit in 13th place, which on the surface appears to be an anonymous mid-table position. But the fact that there is only a three-point difference between 18th-placed Fulham and themselves is a worrying situation.
The morose results have largely been due to the inability of the strike force to put away their chances, which has seen many a game - which should have been a victory - being turned into a draw, or worse. And barring Wigan Athletic, every other team outside the relegation zone has scored more goals than the blue men from Merseyside.
If things could not get any worse, midfielder Tim Cahill – arguably the team’s best performer this season – has left to represent Australia in the Asian Cup and will therefore be unavailable. The hosts could miss him dearly, as he has scored nine goals and created three more this season. This accounts for the 31-year-old having been involved in over half the goals that the Goodison outfit have scored through the course of their league campaign.
But in the absence of their best performer, the Toffees still have a relatively good side and could threaten Spurs on their day.
Consolidating Fourth Place
Unlike their opponents, Tottenham have had a superb season to date. They have managed to navigate their way past a very difficult group in the Champions League to qualify for the last 16 of the tournament, and they will soon lock horns with continental powerhouses AC Milan in a bid to make it to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Harry Redknapp’s positive style of football has seen his side being exposed at the back on several occasions, but to his credit they have managed to outscore their opponents during a majority of such occasions. Still, conceding as many goals as they have would only give their goal-shy opponents all the more confidence when it comes to finding the back of the net.
Now the visitors have the difficult task of hanging on to fourth place, as Chelsea - who are one point behind in fifth – visit Molineux to take on bottom placed Wolves.
All said and done, it will be a very confident Spurs side that will take to the pitch at Goodison Park, as Redknapp’s charges have now gone 11 games in all competitions without tasting a defeat.
Everton are without Tim Cahill, as the Australian has departed to take part in the Asian Cup. The midfielder will be dearly missed by manager David Moyes, who only recently described the former Millwall man as his best ever signing.
John Heitinga (knee) remains a doubt for this encounter. Louis Saha played 80 minutes of the recent loss to Stoke City, and may not be able to recover quickly enough to make another start.
Possible starting XI: Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman, Fellaini, Rodwell, Pienaar; Arteta; Yakubu.
Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Ledley King (groin) and Jamie O’Hara (back) are all sidelined through respective injuries, while Alan Hutton is a doubt. Robbie Keane (hamstring) is also a doubt - but given his situation at the north London club he may not have featured even if he was fit.
Jermain Defoe and Younes Kaboul are both suspended, having seen red against Aston Villa and Newcastle United respectively.
Possible starting XI: Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Palacios, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart; Crouch.