Everton defeated Spurs on the opening day of the season 0-1 thanks to Dominic Calwert-Lewin's goal early in the second half. This is their first win against Spurs since December of 2012, laying down a significant marker of progress for Ancelotti and a pleasing start for Everton.
Everton started the game with a lopsided 4-3-1-2 with new boys Doucoure, Allan and James all making their full debuts. Allan played at the heart of the midfield as a CDM whilst Doucoure and Gomez played as no. 8. James was playing on the right channel and was usually opening his body to find a runner on that left side trying to move quickly (usually Richarlison).
In the first half Everton seemed keen to penetrate with a direct approach but due to a lack of pace and movement they lacked a killer edge. Even though they had more of the possession, through the use of effective triangles on the flanks. James, Doucoure, Coleman on right and Digne, Allan and Gomez on the left, the first half mainly consisted of the ball moving passively from side to side. They only serious chance they created was through a defensive error by Ben Davies but Richarlison was unable to sufficiently wrap his foot around it..
Everton increased their level in second half. Calwert-Lewin and Richarlison were now more active and made those runs for James to effortlessly feed them, with Digne making overlapping runs. Richarlison could have had a perfect game on the left side but missed a lot of key chances which would have killed the game.
After the goal, Everton dropped off a little trying to take advantage of the gaps left by Spurs players who were attacking to in search for the equaliser. Their man management late in the game was excellent too and for the most part Everton looked comfortable defending against Spurs.
Spurs started the game with 4-2-3-1 which turned into 4-4-2 with and without ball. Højbjerg and Winks started in the midfield with Moura and Dele Alli providing the width albeit starting from in the middle, whilst Kane and Son played alongside each other up top. Spurs had less of the possession but were looking threatening on the counter. Son always found space on the left channel whenever Spurs played a long ball. This was because of Everton's narrow back line and James not tracking back to mark the South Korean.
In the second half Spurs' attacking threat was gone and even after conceding the first goal they could not increase the tempo of the game. Just trying to play long balls and expecting Kane and Son to do something about it. But this time Everton players covered them pretty well and won most of the long balls.
Spurs tried to overload the flanks to create some space in the middle but failed completely in doing so. All in all, it was far from a good Spurs performance, leaving many doubts and much scrutiny over both the approach and selections of Mourinho.
Everton did good business in the transfer window, signing James from Real and Allan from Napoli. Both of them performed really well against Spurs. Allan played at the heart of the midfield as a CDM. He was strong in the midfield and did not let any Spurs players get past him. He also played a key role in shutting out Spurs attack from left side in the closing stages when Spurs were overloading the flanks.
The addition of Docoure too gives Everton the steel, mobility and a mean streak that was lacking with Siggurdsson and the now departed Schneiderlin. With Delph, Davies and the soon returning Gbamin in reserve, Everton can consider their transfer activity to be amongst the league’s best, turning their weakest part on the pitch to potentially their strongest and most in depth.
James too had good game. He looked like he's going be the main key player for Everton this season with his distribution and vision. His first half performance was not up to the mark in terms of penetration but did a great job in the second half, frequently finding Richarlison and Calwert-Lewin on the other side.
Spurs lacked that attacking intent in the final half. Son and Doherty were the only players to create some good chances. Winks had the responsibility of keeping the ball moving for Spurs and he succeeded in doing so in first half, but once Everton midfielders got onto him he hardly had any impact on the game.
Defending was sloppy from Spurs players especially on the set piece from which Everton profited from. No one even tried to jump and create some problems for Calwert-Lewin. A seriously bad start for Jose with the team looking devoid of fight and potency.
In conclusion, a dull game which will send alarm bells ringing around White Hart Lane. Tottenham looked very stiff, playing in straight lines and whilst defensively they did not look that bad... there is a lack of team chemistry and cohesion. The high tempo of the Poch era seems like a distant memory and Son seems isolated as the sole source of creative fission. Everton on the other hand look a much improved outfit but the slowness of their possession and lack of killer instinct may prove their undoing if they are aiming for top 6.