Weblog: The football punter

Terrific Tottenham to outclass Everton

Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event, 4pm Sunday

Tottenham have been doing a great job of clinging on to the coat-tails of Liverpool and Manchester City and they can keep their title hopes alive by defeating Everton at Goodison.

There may come a time this winter when Spurs buckle under the heavy workload.

The contest against Everton is their seventh in December and the schedule is about to get even more hectic for Mauricio Pochettino's side, who face six matches in the next 17 days.

Winning 2-0 at Arsenal on Wednesday was great for the players' confidence but it added another two massive games (two legs of the League Cup semi-final against Chelsea) to January's fixture list.

However, the performance against Arsenal was full of energy and intent and there should be enough left in the tank to cause problems for the eighth-placed Toffees, who are 15 points worse off.

Everton are desperate to challenge the elite teams and establish themselves as regular players in the battle for Champions League places, and their long-term ambitions are reinforced by plans to build a new 52,000 stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.

So off-the-field progress is encouraging but on the pitch Everton appear to have a mental problem whenever they face the top teams.

They have taken one point from a possible 15 against the big six this season and haven't defeated a big-six side in 22 league games (16 defeats and six draws) dating back to a 4-0 success at home to Manchester City in January 2017.

Plenty of money has been spent and the expensive summer purchase of Richarlison is working out well with the Brazilian scoring eight goals in 15 appearances.

Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson (six goals in 17 games) are the main threats to a Spurs defence weakened by the absence of Jan Vertonghen.

But Everton still have some way to go before matching the firepower of their opponents.

Harry Kane, despite looking jaded in the early part of the season, has weighed in with 13 goals and Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-Min are getting close to their best in the run-up to Christmas.

Son has netted on four of his last five domestic starts and Alli's confidence must by sky-high after producing a superb assist and a top-class finish in the win at the Emirates.

It was too much for Arsenal to handle and Everton are unlikely to fare any better.

Pochettino will have to carefully manage his star players over the next few weeks but seems far more likely to rest his big guns for the Boxing Day clash at home to Bournemouth than the clash at Everton.

And if Spurs are close to full strength in the attacking department, the chance to back them at odds-against should not be missed.


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Match in Focus

15:00 Sa 25May SKY

Newport Co v Tranmere

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Newport are unbeaten in 12 matches.
Expert verdict
Michael Flynn’s Newport headed into the playoffs as the fourth tier’s form side, securing seventh spot by finishing the season ten games unbeaten. Tranmere will know all too well about County’s disciplined defensive, having failed to score in both league meetings with them and, even with James Norwood leading the line, they look vulnerable.