Tottenham moved up to eighth in the Premier League with a drab 1-0 victory over Everton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Monday evening.
In a game lacking any real quality or intensity, proceedings were settled by Michael Keane’s scrappy own goal, as the Everton defender inadvertently directed Giovanni Lo Celso’s strike past a wrong footed Jordan Pickford.
Richarlison fired wide for the visitors on the stroke of half time in Everton’s best opportunity of the game, triggering a heated argument between Son Heung-Min and Hugo Lloris in one of the match’s few interesting talking points.
Son forced Pickford into a smart reaction save from a tight angle early in the second half, as Tottenham saw out the game to keep themselves in the hunt for European football and earn Mourinho’s 200th Premier League win as a manager.
Key Talking Point
Spurs were pretty flat in the first half, only taking the lead thanks to a large slice of fortune. Their build up play was slow and side ways, and there was a lack of fearlessness and willingness to try something different.
A half-time fight between Hugo Lloris and Son was the biggest show of spirit mustered in the opening 45.
Spurs picked it up slightly in the second half, Son – who appeared to make up with Lloris in the second half – forcing Pickford into a couple of smart saves. They were disciplined and organised, but Jose Mourinho’s side were just fortunate that Everton didn’t show up.
Starting XI: Lloris (6), Davies (6), Dier (7), Alderweireld (6), Aurier (6), Winks (5) Sissoko (5), Lo Celso (6), Moura (5), Son (7*), Kane (5)
Subs: Bergwijn (5), Lamella (5) Vertongen
Spurs go up a level when Son gets on the ball. Both sides had been quite flat in the first 20 minutes, but when the South Korean international was in possession suddenly Spurs had more purpose going forward.
Son’s energy, willingness to run at players and the sharpness to his passing ignited a zip and intensity in Jose Mourinho’s side. He charged at the Everton backline with a bit of intent in the build up to the opening goal, offering Spurs the attacking impetus they needed to break the deadlock.
His part in the half-time bust-up, however, could be cause for some concern about squad harmony.
Key Talking Point
Everton had enjoyed an impressive run of form since the Premier League restarted, picking up seven points from a possible nine and sparking talk of a potential Europa League charge.
However, the Toffees were marginally second best in a first half where Tottenham were pretty poor, failing to register a shot until the stroke of half time.
They were gifted multiple set pieces but failed to take advantage. It was a limp, disappointing performance devoid of any real energy and urgency.
Starting XI: Pickford (5), Coleman (5), Keane (5), Holgate (5), Digne (6), Iwobi (4), Davies (5), Gomes (5), Sigurdsson (4), Richarlison (7), Calvert-Lewin (6)
Subs: Mina (5), Gordon (6), Bernard (5), Kean (5), Sidibe (5)
Best of a bad bunch for Everton. The Toffees rarely looked like breaking the deadlock, but if anyone was going to produce a moment of magic or inspiration it was Richarlison.
The Brazilian occasionally looked lively, and was prepared to get on the ball, try something a little bit creative and ask the Tottenham backline a few questions.
Both sides are back in action on Thursday evening. Tottenham travel to relegation threatened Bournemouth, while Everton welcome in form Southampton to Goodison.