Everton and Tottenham will meet at Goodison Park on Sunday in contrasting form. The Toffees, under new manager Marco Silva, began the season well but are enduring something of a dip in form.
Spurs, meanwhile, are in confident mood having climbed to third in the Premier League standings with a late victory over Burnley last weekend.
This is a fixture with history, between two of the division’s longest-serving clubs. Traditionally, it is Tottenham who come out on top. And they will be favourites again this time around.
But Everton, boasting a strong record at Goodison Park this season, will be hopeful of pulling off a surprise result and reigniting their top six challenge.
Everton are on a four-game winless run, which they will be anxious to bring to a halt as soon as possible. Their fixtures have not been easy: they were beaten away at Liverpool and, most recently, Manchester City.
It is the home games that will have most disappointed Silva. Everton could only draw against Newcastle and Watford, teams they would expect to beat at Goodison.
There is no need to despair, though. The Toffees still sit in eighth, just two points off sixth-placed Manchester United and in good shape for the remainder of the season. They will be tough opposition for Tottenham.
Everton to finish in the top six 10.00*
Mauricio Pochettino’s side, meanwhile, come into this one on the back of three successive Premier League victories. Spurs also secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a draw in Barcelona.
They have responded well since losing 4-2 at Arsenal earlier this month and should be confident of continuing their strong run of form against Everton.
This is a very different Everton team from the one that struggled to an underwhelming midtable finish under Sam Allardyce. Silva has changed things for the better.
The Portuguese coach prefers a 4-2-3-1 system, and they are likely to continue with that against Spurs. The introduction of Andre Gomes in midfield alongside Idrissa Gueye has been significant. The Portugal international, on loan from Barcelona, has impressed in midfield and there is talk of making the move permanent.
Spurs are 2.25 to beat Everton at Goodison Park*
The main change for Everton under Silva is that they are no longer a reactive team. They aim to play on the front foot, pressing higher and maintaining some control of the ball. The result is that they are far more productive offensively.
Tottenham will adopt a similar shape to Everton, with the likes of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli given the freedom to roam behind frontman Harry Kane.
Spurs have tightened up defensively since the defeat at Arsenal, and Pochettino will be hopeful that his side restrict Everton in the same way they did Barcelona and Leicester.
Andre Gomes, Everton: Gomes arrived at Goodison Park with an injury and off the back of a disappointing season with Barcelona. He was shown the door at the Nou Camp, sent out on loan and cast aside by a group of fans who had heavily criticised him throughout the campaign.
The Portuguese midfielder’s talent was never in doubt. He is an accomplished passer of the ball and a player with great vision. That is why Barcelona signed him. It did not work out in Catalonia, but Gomes is now showing what he can do at Everton. He has been a regular starter in recent weeks and impressed Everton fans, controlling games from midfield.
Harry Kane, Tottenham: It is hardly surprising that Kane is once again amongst the top scorers in the Premier League, with nine goals to his name from 17 appearances.
He has, perhaps, not been at his most prolific this campaign, but he remains an integral part of this Tottenham team. He offers far more than just goals. That he has not scored in four games in all competitions should not, and probably will not, concern Pochettino. Kane is still capable of winning games for Tottenham.
*Odds subject to change
Premier League Preview, Betting Tips And Enhanced Odds – Week 18
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*odds subject to change.
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