Similar to Liverpool’s win over Arsenal at Anfield, Tottenham Hotspur took a commanding two-goal lead on Sunday before a small fright after Romelu Lukaku’s goal gave Everton hope.
Harry Kane didn’t add a third consecutive hat-trick, but Dele Alli’s late flick secured all three points for Spurs, leaving Enner Valencia to add a second consolation goal for the visitors.
Here are five things we learned from Spurs 3-2 Everton.
WHITE HART LANE IS A FORTRESS
Mauricio Pochettino’s team broke a record on Sunday, recording their ninth consecutive home win in the Premier League.
The Argentine boss will be upset to concede twice, considering they had only let in five goals all season, but the most important thing is the win.
Ronald Koeman was the last coach to win at Spurs’ home, but that came at the end of last season with the home side already dropping out of the title race. This is much more important and from the first whistle, Everton were dominated.
CLUB RECORD: Spurs have won 9 consecutive Premier League home games for the first time.
Conceded: 5 pic.twitter.com/7cJMG76H6W
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 5, 2017
Spurs now have the best home record in the league, winning 12 out of 14 games, drawing twice and remain unbeaten.They have scored 33 times, just three fewer than Chelsea, but conceded seven. That’s the best in the division.
Now, they look forward to Southampton, Watford and Bournemouth coming to their home before Arsenal and Manchester United finish off the season at White Hart Lane. What odds on Pochettino guiding this club to an unbeaten home record before they say goodbye?
Battle of the No.10s
This was billed as Harry Kane v Romelu Lukaku and the two star-strikers didn’t disappoint.
Kane launched an almost unstoppable shot in the first half, Joel Robles could have reacted quicker, but it was still a stunning hit.
The English forward made it 2-0 in the second half when great work from Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli pressure the Everton midfield into a mistake and Kane was clear and free to finish the neat finish.
The 23-year-old had six shots on goal, four of which were on target and only Kyle Walker being in an offside position denied him his hat-trick.
In what was a frustrating game for the Belgian forward, he may have only managed two shots – both of which were on target – the goal that made the game 2-1 secured his place as Everton’s all-time leading goal-scorer. Not bad for someone also just 23 years old.
— Everton (@Everton) March 5, 2017
Kane takes the plaudits for the win, but it won’t be the worst day Lukaku has ever had.
PHENOMENAL JAN VERTONGHEN
Yes, he did slip for Lukaku’s goal, and that probably stopped him from getting 8/10 in our player ratings, but Jan Vertonghen was excellent on Sunday.
Playing on the left of the three-man defence, even with Ben Davies outside of him, he didn’t stop bombing forward and add to the attacks.
— Football Whispers (@FB_WHISPERS) March 5, 2017
He finished with two shots, one on target, had 77 touches, lead his team in completed dribbles and made seven accurate long balls. An amazing return from a centre-back.
EVERTON HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO
What was clear from Sunday’s 3-2 defeat for the away side, is that they still have a long way to go if they want to compete for the top European places.
A victory could have moved Koeman’s side to within two points of Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, but it was never going to be easy with Spurs aforementioned home record.
Everton turned up at White Hart Lane with a game plan to sit and try and stop Spurs from playing, the issues come when that doesn’t work and you then don’t have the quality to try and build your way back into the match.
Their width was set to come from the full-backs, but when Spurs bombed forward, both Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines couldn’t get any traction in the final third.
Tom Davies couldn’t get a foothold in the game, Ross Barkley had a quiet first half and even the options off the bench – Kevin Mirallas and Enner Valencia – don’t have that ability to change a game.
It all leads to Lukaku being isolated and limits the chances he gets to trouble the opposition. Waiting for Spurs to feed him scraps, which he snapped up.
The Top four has now become the Top 6, if Everton want to make it a Top 7, then investment and a bigger squad is needed.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SLIPS
Spurs have had a problem of failing to turn in a performance when the big games come around. You can blame Wembley as much as you want, but when push comes to shove, Pochettino’s team had been found lacking.
They now face a two-month run when they will not face any of their main rivals. Arsenal come to White Hart Lane on the 30th of April and Manchester United on the 13th of May. What was crucial on Sunday is that they took advantage of both those clubs dropping points.
A six-point lead of Arsenal at this stage could be vital at this point in the season. If they can continue to pick up points and let the others fight amongst themselves, there is a situation where they could afford to lose both those games and still finish in the top four.
That will be a huge boost going into the summer and beyond.
However, if they want to be a true powerhouse club, they need to win those games too.