Match Report: Everton 0 Spurs 0 (it could have been worse under Nuno)

Match Report: Everton 0 Spurs 0 (it could have been worse under Nuno)

Many people will have been disappointed by the result against Everton, I understand that (we’ve put up with a lot of shit under Levy’s reign). We only want to compete with the best. And there has also been a lot of criticism on social media.  But considering that Conte has only been in the job a couple of days and in that time he has got a win and a draw with the same hapless players that played under Nuno, I thought it was an excellent result. We would probably have lost the Vitesse and Everton games if Conte hadn’t descended on our Tottenham luxury stadium (of course, we don’t know this for a fact… but going on Nuno’s past games, it is a reasonable assumption). Nevertheless, I can see hope,  and with Conte at the helm, I think our future looks rosy (providing Levy backs him and doesn’t play his sacking monopoly games).

The day started off by being picked up by Mel at 6.30 am (he had already been travelling an hour by then), and then a four drive to the ground (the road was clear and smooth, stopping on the way for refreshments).

Once at the glory hole of Everton (the poor man’s Liverpool), we looked for a parking space, nothing, so, we travelled closer to the stadium and found a car park attached to the ground (well, across the road), it cost £15; sorted!

We then made our way to one of Everton’s top restaurants… yes, really posh… Wetherspoons… you can’t get any better than that at Everton… high class! And of course, going in – amongst the Everton supporters – we felt like royalty (ok, we are only talking about us… but a few more notches up the ladder, and we wouldn’t be far off Evertonian royalty). Then sat down to a luxury Everton meal; beans, mushroom, eggs, bread, all washed down with a pint of good old lunchtime beer (tea for Mel); yes, we felt privileged, after all, we were in Everton, where the gods refuse to tread, and the testicles of Liverpudlians shrivel.

After that, a walk back to Everton and their fans zone… only it didn’t exist,  because of COVID… (they didn’t want large crowds congregating in one lump sum). But it was ok to go into a jampacked Wetherspoons and also to the ground to spread our diseases… lunacy! So, back to the luxury restaurant for a glass of wine and bantering with Everton supporters. Then back to the ground and in.

We met Rick, Beverley, Dave, and Ian in the ground and waffled away until it was time to find our seat.

Before the kick-off, the songs were sung, the pointing of fingers was made (to the Everton supporters and their dole participation… “we are paying your wages” the Tottenham fans sung), and finally, the whistle goes.

THE MATCH

Conte’s first Premier League game ended in a hard-fought goalless draw. As I pointed out above, our new manager had only a few days to work with his players. In these few days, we beat Vitesse and drew against Everton. Considering we were crap under Nuno, I thought that was pretty impressive. What he needs next – once the transfer window opens in January – is a clear-out… but that will be then, this is now.

Another observation; Conte picked the same team that played for him against Vitesse. Which tells you that he picked the best of the worse to play. That is how much trouble we are in, and he must be congratulated to get what he could out of the players he had . Granted, with a bit more time with them – and a better fitness regime – we might, just might, get some sort of improvement from them.

We have gone more than three hours in the league without a shot on target, but substitute Giovani lo Celso almost got Conte off to a winning start when he curled an effort against the post with two minutes to go.

As for Everton, this was a much rallied Everton side from recent weeks, although they were without a win in the top flight since September. However, they did have Mason Holgate dismissed late on for a high follow-through on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Everton had thought that they had been handed an excellent chance to break the deadlock when the referee Chris Kavanagh awarded a penalty in the second half, only for him to overturn his decision after consulting the pitch-side monitor (so, a bit of luck on our side… which we welcomed).

Then Richarlison appeared to beat Hugo Lloris to the ball and was brought down in the area, but Kavanagh deemed that he had got a fingertip to the ball.

We enjoyed more possession, and there were signs of the style imposed by Conte on his successful sides of the past, with us showing more gumption and concentration than previously this season (pointing the finger at Nuno).

One of our best chances fell to Sergio Reguilon, unmarked at the back post from Harry Kane’s cross before the break.

This draw keeps the teams a point apart, with us ninth and Everton 11th – though we both are within one win of a Europa League place.

Conte warned that he knew this job would take patience and hard work, though there were already signs of aggression and willingness to put bodies on the line.

After the game, a 3 hours journey back home, with me falling asleep… just me, as if Mel had, I probably wouldn’t be here to tell the tale (unless I/ we survived through the mangle and disfiguration… but alas, we survived to keep our good looks intact (J)…)  A few stops on the way livened us up.

My thoughts

A desire for the team to build possession from the back initially gave us some anxious moments, with us giving it away in dangerous areas on several occasions, but, I must say, we did look far more willing to play through midfield than previously.

I also noticed that our wing-backs got forward more, with Reguilon the most prominent, whipping a deep cross to the back post that was nodded over by Emerson Royal before Reguilon himself failed to find the target from Kane’s cross. However, we must mention Lo Celso’s late strike shook the post. As our  front three of Kane, Son, and Lucas Moura failed to test our opponents.

We have now gone two and a half league games without managing a shot on target, though this draw did at least end our run of two consecutive defeats. A clean sheet and the fact the players were up for the fight will please Conte, and he will have something to build on. Knowing Conte’s reputation, you can expect attacking ways drilled into them on the training ground in the weeks ahead.

So, that is that. Wherever we end up this season, I won’t be pointing the finger at Conte. If anything, we should be pointing the finger at Levy for cocking up and getting the wrong person in, in the first place, instead of going for an experienced coach. However, I will give Levy the benefit of the doubt for now and hope he has learned lessons from his past exploits. Getting a new director of football was the right approach, and then getting Conte in (a top manager) was another good move, even though late. But the baying fans are watching… ready to bounce and start the protests all over again if he should slip up and start going down the road of tight bum postulations. Maybe Levy has started thinking of that statue he wants to be erected in his honour (you never know what Levy is thinking or hoping for, for the future… but we can all laugh for now… statue… don’t be ridiculous!).

Now a two-week break from football, but not for me… I still have to carry on regardless… I’ve got two book reviews to do, one on Dave Mackay and another on a new author who has written a book on White Hart Lane (yes, you remember that place!).

Al the best, Glenn

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