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Player ratings as Spurs squeeze back into top four


FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – Tottenham had to dig in deep to secure a 2-1 win at home to Everton on Saturday.

Spurs have moved back into the Premier League’s top four with Manchester City away at the Club World Cup and are now only three points off the summit ahead of leaders Arsenal’s trip to Liverpool.

The visiting Toffees fought hard and were unlucky not to take a point, and they are now only four points clear of the relegation zone again.

How the game unfolded

With ten minutes on the clock, Tottenham took the lead. Pape Matar Sarr’s clever pass between the lines picked out the run of Brennan Johnson, whose cutback was converted at the near post by former Everton favourite Richarlison.

Spurs should have added a second soon after when Emerson Royal’s cross found Johnson on the penalty spot, but he fired his half-volley over the top.

Everton went close to finding an equaliser when Jarrad Branthwaite’s pinpoint pass found Vitalii Mykolenko on the left wing. The Ukrainian crossed for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was denied by a smart save from Guglielmo Vicario.

Tottenham grabbed their second midway through the first half. Johnson forced Jordan Pickford into a save following a clever move from a corner, and Son Heung-min was on hand to scuff in the rebound.

The visitors pressed their hosts into a few errors when playing from the back in the first half, with James Garner testing Vicario with a shot from range just before the break.

Jack Harrison brought another fine stop out of Vicario in first-half stoppage time after he beat the offside trap, but couldn’t find a finish from a tight angle.

Shortly after the interval, Everton had the ball in the net. Emerson was harried out of possession by Andre Gomes who slipped in Calvert-Lewin to finish beyond Vicario. But after a VAR check, Gomes was ruled to have fouled the full-back and the goal was chalked off.

Back down the other end, Pickford spilt a strike from Pape Matar Sarr and James Tarkowski had to react quickly to beat Richarlison to the loose ball.

Everton again went close when Harrison found Garner with a lovely through ball with the outside of his boot, but the midfielder could only fire wide.

The shaky Pickford made a redeeming save to keep out Kulusevski after he shrugged off Nathan Patterson and shot towards the near post.

With just under ten minutes remaining Everton did pull one back. A corner fell kindly to Gomes on the edge of the box, and his sweet strike took a nick off Oliver Skipp and whistled inside the post.

Within seconds, Everton nearly pulled level on the break, with Vicario at full stretch to keep out former Spurs forward Arnaut Danjuma.

With two other chances in added time, Danjuma fired over and crashed the crossbar off the knee of Vicario – though an offside flag would have denied him a goal from the latter.

Tottenham weathered the rest of the storm to notch up three valuable points.

Guglielmo Vicario

Vicario was standout / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

GK: Guglielmo Vicario – 8/10 – Kept Tottenham afloat with some fine saves. Composed as ever with the ball at his fee.

RB: Pedro Porro – 6/10 – Guilty of overplaying at times but made up for it with neat contributions in the final third.

CB: Cristian Romero – 7/10 – Spurs’ calmest head at the back in the first half. Withdrawn at the break after sustaining a knock in the opening stages.

CB: Ben Davies – 5/10 – Commanding at Nottingham Forest last week but not as solid this time around. Beat Calvert-Lewin to some headers at least.

LB: Emerson Royal – 6/10 – Sometimes a little overconfident but did his duties off the ball.

CM: Pape Matar Sarr – 6/10 – Brought his usual energy and played a crucial role in the opener. Moved higher up the pitch in the second half before being substituted.

CM: Oliver Skipp – 5/10 – Uncomfortable in possession. Made some good recoveries off the ball but was ultimately a net negative in this role.

RM: Brennan Johnson – 7/10 – The only glaring weaknesses are his lack of a usable left foot and finishing ability. Used his speed well to set up the opener.

AM: Dejan Kulusevski – 6/10 – Decent in spurts but didn’t have the same all-conquering impact of recent outings.

LM: Son Heung-min – 7/10 – Scuffed his finish and got the ball stuck under his feet a fair bit, though ultimately his goal was crucial.

CF: Richarlison – 7/10 – Sharp, silky and back to his best in front of goal. Struggled to free himself from Tarkowski as the game went on and was eventually brought off just after the hour mark.

Substitutes

SUB: Eric Dier (46′ for Romero) – 6/10 – Still a little uncomfortable playing in such a high line but was fine for the most part.

SUB: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (63′ for Richarlison) – 7/10

SUB: Giovani Lo Celso (73′ for Sarr) – 6/10

Subs not used: Fraser Forster (GK), Ashley Phillips, Alfie Dorrington, Bryan Gil, Alejo Veliz

Manager

Ange Postecoglou – 6/10 – Tottenham got the second goal they needed but made it hard for themselves late in the day.

Andre Gomes, James Tarkowski

Gomes scored for Everton / Clive Rose/GettyImages

GK: Jordan Pickford – 4/10 – Weak pieces of goalkeeping proved costly in the end.

RB: Nathan Patterson – 5/10 – Battled well enough though outmuscled on occasion.

CB: James Tarkowski – 7/10 – Defended by example following Spurs’ fast start. Eventually dealt with the threats of Richarlison and Son.

CB: Jarrad Branthwaite – 6/10 – Likewise got into gear after Tottenham went two up. Showed off an excellent range of passing.

LB: Vitalii Mykolenko – 5/10 – In a bit of bother whenever put in a race with Johnson and Porro.

RM: Jack Harrison – 6/10 – Used his pace to get in behind but couldn’t quite find the net himself.

CM: Amadou Onana – 6/10 – Swept up and pressed well, making tackles with his incredibly long legs.

CM: Idrissa Gueye – 5/10 – Withdrawn early on with an ankle injury.

LM: Dwight McNeil – 7/10 – Wriggled out of tight spaces and was often the one orchestrating Everton attacks.

AM: James Garner – 6/10 – Usually involved in Everton’s best forays into the final third.

CF: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 6/10 – Lived up to his billing as a useful target man though couldn’t provide a lot of threat himself.

Substitutes

SUB: Andre Gomes (24′ for Gueye) – 7/10 – A wonderful return to action. Everton’s best outfielder.

SUB: Arnaut Danjuma (66′ for Harrison) – 7/10

SUB: Beto (79′ for Onana) – 6/10

Subs not used: Joao Virginia (GK), Andy Lonergan (GK), Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane, Mackenzie Hunt, Youssef Chermiti

Manager

Sean Dyche – 6/10 – Everton played well but only after going behind. The mountain proved too steep to climb.

Player of the match – Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham)



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