The fixture at Goodison Park on Sunday was sluggish and indicative of both Everton and Tottenham’s current form. Prior to the match I thought that with Everton’s usually fiery home performances, and both team’s necessity to take three points, we would see a more exciting run out. However, neither side took hold and few chances were created.
Tottenham did go one up in the second half via a rather surprising drive into the box from Dele Alli after Alex Iwobi misplaced a pass. This kind of skillful attacking intent is something we haven’t seen from Alli in a long time. Hopefully he can use this to foster some momentum and begin climbing back to his best form, which is where Tottenham desperately need him to be.
Unfortunately, the rest of game was marred when Andre Gomes suffered an horrific ankle injury after a clumsy Heung-Min Son challenge meant he fell awkwardly into an oncoming Serge Aurier. However, Son’s challenge was certainly not made with malicious intent, and the result of it was rather unfortunate.Despite this, possibly as a reaction to the severity of Gomes’ injury, Atkinson felt Son should be shown a red card. This has since been rescinded, which begs the question, why could it have not been looked at on the pitch there and then?
In fact, Atkinson, with the help of VAR, had his fair share of controversies prior to this point in the match, denying two possible Everton penalties and a Spurs penalty. All three penalty shouts had serious grounds for being awarded, especially when the ball struck Alli’s arm in the box in his aerial challenge with Yerey Mina. Although it was accidental, by letter of the law his arm was above his head,so in my opinion this should have been awarded.
With the injury incident causing an emotional stir and resulting in twelve minutes of added time, there was a sense of inevitability that Tottenham would let Everton back into the game with their extra man advantage. Sure enough, in the 97th minute, Tottenham were dealt a hefty blow as Cenk Tosun finished off a tidy attacking play with a close-range header. For Everton, a point gained in adversity. For Tottenham two more points dropped, leaving us in 11th place, ten points off the top four.
Aggravatingly, the fact that Son’s red card has been rescinded highlights that Atkinson’s on pitch decision was effectively wrong. This could have had huge implications for the minutes beyond the incident whereby Tottenham had to defend with ten men, and ultimately conceded. Yet again VAR, or at least the way it is currently used, was below par. I would like to finish this match review by wishing the absolute best for Andre Gomes and hope he has a speedy recovery. News has recently come out that his emergency surgery has been successful. Thoughts of the entire footballing community are with him.
Final Score: Everton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur.