Tomorrow Everton travel to north London to take on Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur in a vital match for the outcome of the Blues season.
A defeat tomorrow won’t be the end of the world for Everton, but it would represent a severe setback to hopes of qualifying for European football next season.
After a very solid beginning to the season restart, the Toffees face one of their challengers to those European places.
Spurs, like Everton, have a manager with a great past track record of success and winning trophies, although one in Mourinho who is a lot more controversial a character.
They are hoping that the Portuguese will revive their fortunes after the love affair with Mauricio Pochettino went sour earlier this season.
Mourinho has struggled to bring Spurs back to where they were just a year ago when they reached the Champions League final.
Tottenham were comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Sheffield United in their last Premier League game, meaning they will be desperate to win tomorrow’s match as well. Especially as their fiercest rivals Arsenal won yesterday too.
Predictably there are the usual stories of player unrest, which seem to follow Mourinho at which ever club he is at these days. It was Paul Pogba at Manchester United, now stories surface that a Spurs player is unhappy at the Portuguese managers approach.
Perhaps these criticisms are justifiable, and these players are probably far from entirely blameless. But this kind of turbulence is surely not conducive to building success, certainly not for the long-term at any rate.
Fortunately this sort of distraction isn’t a problem with Carlo Ancelotti, who has an excellent reputation for how he deals with his players. The way the players have responded to him since he took over, underlines this.
As for Everton, the Blues have showed their resilience over the course of the past three games and have picked up a creditable 7 points. This is a decent run and it’s important to try and maintain the momentum created.
More from Prince Rupert's Tower
- Rudiger a viable option for Everton
- Big transfer blow for Everton as target closing in on Valencia move
- Fabrizio Romano: Everton were never close to signing €15 million player
- Everton midfielder linked to Saints exit
- Everton predicted XI vs. Fleetwood Town: Yannick Bolasie and Fabian Delph start in 4-3-3
There are no new injury problems for the Toffees, although Richarlison, who limped off in the game against Leicester City, has missed training but might still be available to play.
Let’s hope so because the Brazilian is crucial to how the Toffees play. Hopefully Dominic Calvert-Lewin can also open his account again tomorrow.
As usual it is the midfield that presents the biggest quandry for Carlo Ancelotti to solve. I imagine that he will again go with a central pair of Andre Gomes and Gylfi Sigurdsson, although he might want for Tom Davies instead to provide more combativeness.
Out wide, I think Ancelotti should stick with Anthony Gordon again, especially after his fine showing against Leicester with Alex Iwobi to continue on the other flank. Bernard should be in contention as there’s not a lot between them all.
I think Spurs are there for the taking, especially if they play like they did against the Blades. However, I suspect this game will end in a draw, possibly 1-1 as both teams are pretty goal shy.