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This was not a game for the purists but it was a game that needed to be won if European qualification was to be achieved by either of these two clubs. A single point separated Tottenham and Everton at kick-off highlighting the importance of the game. The game itself was a game that lacked any kind of quality from either side, evidenced by the nature of the winning goal.

It was Tottenham who emerged with the three points, not through superiority or technical brilliance, but through a deflected Giovani Lo Celso shot that cruelly hit Michael Keane and went into the Everton net.

Spurs came out of the blocks quickly, no doubt the ringing of Jose Mourinho’s words in their ears following their limp defeat at Sheffield United the previous Thursday. They looked energetic and forced Everton onto the back foot but that quick start did not really materialise into any chances.

A minute before the drinks break however, they took the lead in the most fortunate of fashion. Harry Kane advanced into the Everton penalty area and the ball broke to Giovani Lo Celso, he swiveled and hit a shot that was going well wide but hit Michael Keane and wrong-footed Jordan Pickford to give Spurs the lead.

The goal brought about an interesting stat. No team has conceded more own goals that Everton this season, and no team has benefited more from own goals than Spurs this season. Fitting.

After the goal Spurs defended well, but in truth the visitors offered very little imagination in the final third during a boring first half. As well as defending well Spurs for looked threatening on the break for the remainder of the first half although Pickford did not have a save to make.

At the other end Everton a wild effort from Andre Gomes following a corner, was their first attempt on goal in the 37th minute. Their second attempt a minute before the break was better, as Richarlison fizzed a shot just wide of Hugo Lloris’s right-hand post.

Ancelotti replaced the unimpressive Alex Iwobi at the break with youngster Anthony Gordon and he offered Everton energy and drive that had clearly been missing in the first half. Gordon was the 2nd substitute Ancelotti had used following Mason Holgate’s enforced substitution midway through the first half. He was replaced by Yerry Mina who had a good game.

The second half was brighter from an Everton perspective, they controlled the ball but found Spurs defence resolute. Gordon tested Lloris from distance as the Blues began to probe around the Spurs penalty area.

However Spurs were a threat on the break and Son Heung-min had two opportunities but found Pickford equal to the task with two decent saves.

Ancelotti made more changes and threw on Bernard, Moise Kean and Djibril Sidibe.

Bernard wasted a free kick before fellow sub Kean showed good close control to get a shot away but drilled it straight at Lloris. As Everton mounted late pressure Spurs captain Kane was back there defending and clearing his lines to get his team over the line in a victory that keeps them well in the hunt for a Europa League place.

Both teams look in need of some fresh blood, certainly Everton, whose midfield once again couldn’t get into the game. Carlo Ancelotti will be assessing each of these performances as he plans a rebuild to his side beginning this summer. Mourinho will be doing the same although neither club will be able to spend big in the market it may be time to get creative as there is a lot of progress needed to catch the teams above them.

Final Score: Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Everton 

How They Lined Up : 

Barry Cass