In a match that was essentially all Tottenham for 90 minutes, Spurs executed Antonio Conte’s gameplan and topped Everton 2-0; here are some takeaways from the win.
Harry Kane is on a mission for Spurs
Most competitors that fail at their craft long for that next opportunity to right a wrong and get over that failure. On Saturday, Harry Kane was that competitor at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as our talisman got to attempt his third penalty kick in two matches.
Against Eintracht Frankfurt, during the week, Kane buried one penalty and blasted the other over. With the miss being the second of the two, as Kane himself admitted after the match, he was anxious to get another opportunity to atone for his mistake and right a wrong by burying his spot-kick.
With nine goals in 10 Premier League games, Kane now has more goals than anyone in the League not named Erling Haaland, who has 15 through nine matches as of this writing. Kane’s pace would put him at 34 goals in 38 games, besting his career-high 30 League goals in 2017/18.
While Kane’s assists are down – with only 2 through 10 matches – Harry has still been creating dangerous situations with his passing. That hint of luck for the assist has just been missing. However, given Kane’s goal-scoring success and his current performance, we should expect those bounces to start going our talisman’s way.
Tottenham is better defensively when the defense is aggressive
On Saturday, the game plan to beat Everton was clear, dominate possession – Spurs held more than 62% – and pressure the Toffees whenever we did not have the ball. What was particularly good about the pressure against the Merseysiders was that it came from the front and the back.
Richarlison, Kane, and Heung-min Son did not allow Everton time or space on the ball, thus limiting their build-up play. In and of itself, Spurs pressing up front is not that big of a deal. However, that pressure was accompanied by a forceful push from the backline.
Cristian Romero and Ben Davies had a clear plan of denying entry passes to the forwards and limiting any hold-up play.
Whether it was Romero stepping up near midfield, making a timely tackler, or Davies stepping up and heading the ball back into the attacking half, the idea was to prevent any real outlets for Everton as Spurs continued to ramp up the attack.
The more Spurs can press from both ends of the pitch, the more they can begin to dominate possession as we did against Everton.
Tottenham crossing game is on and off the mark
We expected Tottenham to find space and have some success down the Everton right-attacking Seamus Coleman, and we were right. Ivan Perisic managed to get eight crosses off during the match, and Son added a further seven.
As a team, Tottenham had 23 crosses, but only nine of those 23 were accurate, and only one was turned into a goal.
Richarlison and Kane both had good chances on crosses but failed to convert for different reasons.
The Brazilian seemed to have mistimed his jump on an early Perisic ball and headed the ball harmlessly over the goal. Alternatively, Kane did everything right in taking a full volley out of the air on the right side, but Jordan Pickford reacted well and deflected the shot Kane had driven into the turf off target.
Of course, with Tottenham looking for that second goal to put the game away, it was the Spurs midfield getting the job done as Rodrigo Bentancur hit Pierre Hojbjerg in the box, and the Dane calmly finished off Alex Iwobei and Spurs left 2-0 winners.
The opportunities that arise from the dangerous balls are worth it; Spurs need to work on improving both the delivery and the finish to create goals more consistently.