Poor defensive coverage on set pieces at Everton cost Tottenham two points

Poor coverage and individual errors defending set pieces cost Tottenham dearly at Goodison this afternoon, as Everton scored both goals on dead-ball situations.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages
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Guglielmo Vicario has been outstanding since joining Tottenham at the start of the season. For all of his superlatives, Vicario must improve his presence on corners and free kicks. Jack Harrison used his experience on Everton's opener, nudging Vicario and impeding the goalkeeper's ability to punch clear. However, the contact wasn't enough for VAR to overturn the goal.

And if we're being honest, Spurs' No. 1 needs to be much stronger on aerial challenges. His towering frame provides an advantage he must make the most of. The same situation occurred against Manchester City in the 1-0 FA Cup defeat, giving teams ample reason to go after Vicario in such situations.

While culpable for the opener, Vicario couldn't do anything about Everton's injury-time equalizer. Cristian Romero inadvertently flicked the ball backward on an Everton free kick, allowing Jarrad Branthwaite to pounce on the loose ball. Vicario could not get the jump on Branthwaite, who slammed it home from close range. Aside from that blunder and a poor 45th-minute giveaway, Romero had a decent outing. It's an error that will anger the Argentine, who, alongside Micky van de Ven, prevented Everton's attackers from procuring any clear-cut chances from open play.

Ordinarily, leaving Goodison Park with a share of the spoils would be considered a decent result. But that's not the case on this occasion. Conceding an equalizer at the death can only be described as an opportunity missed. Spurs played well enough in open play to take all three points but must improve in all phases and facets of defending set pieces. The Toffees scored both goals on set pieces but would have scored a third had it not been for Vicario's outstanding double-legged goal-line save at the end of the first half.

Ange won't take those inadequacies lying down and will invariably take the necessary time to improve his side's ability to defend set pieces. As demonstrated on Merseyside today, it can be the difference between Champions League and Europa League participation.