As Tottenham Hotspur and Everton FC face off at Goodison Park on Sunday, it is a match-up of two teams going the wrong way in the table. Since the calendar hit October, combined Spurs and Toffees have managed seven points on two wins and a draw against five losses.
In those five losses – all in a row – the two sides have conceded 12 goals and scored only three. To say that both teams are looking for something is an understatement. While the path to the current poor form is similar for both teams, the reality is Everton’s situation is still worse and Spurs are hoping they have found their spark.
Injuries are the reason for Everton’s woes
Just like Tottenham Hotspur suffered some injuries which led to a three-game losing streak, injuries are hampering Everton right now. On Sunday Everton is likely to be without defender Yerry Mina, midfielders Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes, as well as striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The absence of Calvert-Lewin is a big part of the team’s struggle to score of late. However, losing Doucoure and Gomes in the midfield leaves the team thin in the engine room, although Lucas Digne may be back.
With three sure-fire starters out in Mina, Doucoure, and Calvert-Lewin, and the team nursing a three-match losing streak, Tottenham has to smell blood in the water and attack. If Spurs can play the way Conte wants them to, they can jump on this Everton team and take advantage of the opportunity in front of them to kick a team while they are down.
Everton is desperate for a win and will have the support of the home crowd. Tottenham needs to jump on the Toffees early and not give the fans or the team any glimmer of hope. Alternatively, all Tottenham and their fans have right now is hope, and like Luke Skywalker, it is a new hope.
Tottenham looking for a Conte bounce on Sunday
Whereas Everton is likely going to need to get healthy before they get right, Tottenham Hotspur has most of their squad available – only Bryan Gil and Ryan Sessegnon are out – and more importantly, believe they have found the answer to their problems.
On Monday of this past week, Tottenham Hotspur let formed manager Nuno Espirito Santo and his entire staff go. On Tuesday, Spurs announced Antonio Conte was the new man in charge, and by Friday Conte had already overseen his first win with the club.
The players were responding to Conte against Vitesse as there was more movement and energy as well as a new formation. A red card and some lapses led to a much closer game than anticipated but in the end, a win is a win.
Now Conte leads Spurs against Everton, a team he has never lost to in five matches, all while in charge of Chelsea – earning four wins and a draw. Besides the fact Conte is now managing Spurs, Everton is led by Rafael Benitez, who Conte has also faced five times, winning three and losing two.
The point is just because Conte has not lost to Everton and the Toffees are banged up does not mean they are going to just roll over and hand three points to Spurs. Instead, Tottenham needs to start taking to heart what their coach is saying and play hard and more consistently, with less emotion.
Less emotion does not mean less passion. Rather playing with less emotion means playing with more football intelligence and more belief that they can and will overcome.
Sunday will be the first opportunity to see if the team has absorbed any of what Conte has been saying over the last five days. It is not much time but with a fighting spirit against a short-handed opponent Spurs should win if they have been listening.