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The final Premier League game before Christmas came bearing the gift of goals. Eight, to be exact, but it wasn’t the happiest of festive afternoons for the Goodison Park faithful as Everton conceded six of them.
Mauricio Pochettino’s relentless Tottenham Hotspur side drive home for Christmas joyful and triumphant, just two points behind Manchester City. While all the focus has been on the battle between Liverpool and City, Spurs have snuck up behind them thanks to an impressive first half of the season under the wily Argentinian boss.
Marco Silva’s side, meanwhile, have plenty of work to do if they’re to join the elite in this league.
From the outset they looked susceptible to balls behind their defence, whether in the channels or over the top. Both Harry Kane and Son Heung Min were making runs off the last defender and causing problems. Kane beat the offside trap on one occasion but his chip over Jordan Pickford only found the side netting. It was a warning sign.
A rare moment of Everton control in the first half came courtesy of Gylfi Sigurdsson. He trapped the ball, fed it down the left channel to Dominic Calvert-Lewin who squared for Theo Walcott to tuck home.
It looked like Walcott had returned the favour moments later when he crossed for Calvert-Lewin to head past Hugo Lloris, but the striker was adjudged to have pushed Davinson Sanchez.
Just as Everton looked to have worked their way into a commanding position, they undid all their hard work. A first-time ball over the top from Kane caused confusion between Pickford, who had rushed out of his area, and centre back Kurt Zouma. Son picked up the loose ball and guided it over the covering defender. Not the easiest of finishes from a narrow angle, but the forward did well.
Everton’s back line were having problems and Son once again found a way in behind them, latching on to a pass from Moussa Sissoko. His shot was saved by a strong hand from Pickford, but the rebound fell to Dele Alli who drove through a crowd to give his side the lead.
The home side were slow to the second ball on that occasion, but they were even slower for Spurs’ third. Kieran Trippier fired a free-kick against the post and Kane had the freedom of the penalty area as the ball bounced out, tapping in to make it 3-1 at half-time.
Second half, same problems for the Toffees. This time it was Kane who found his way between two defenders, and though his cross was cleared by Seamus Coleman it fell straight to Eriksen who lashed past Pickford from outside the area.
Sigurdsson pulled one back for Everton shortly after but Silva’s first substitution, replacing Andre Gomes with Morgan Schneiderlin, was that of a manager who wanted to halt the flow of goals.
It didn’t work. It was more of the same from Spurs as Erik Lamela sent Son through. Though the South Korean looked offside the flag stayed down, and Pickford was beaten for the fifth time. Everton were on the end of a stuffing. Many home fans had already left when Kane added a sixth, assisted by outstanding Son 15 minutes from time, as the Spurs support sang Pochettino’s name.
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