Tottenham and Everton shared the points in a result that sheds no further light on who will grab those European places.
Blues boss David Moyes continued in his fashion of shocking Evertonians in recent weeks with the first eleven, as midfield youngster Ross Barkley started in place of Nikica Jelavic. Midfield doubt Kevin Mirallas made the game so only one change was made. Moyes opted for a 4-5-1 formation, with Heitinga partnering Gibson in midfield with Leon Osman ahead of them, and Barkley and Mirallas occupying the wing positions.
Tottenham, who were missing key men Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe, played a 4-2-3-1 with Steven Caulker partnering Michael Dawson in defence, Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen in the full back slots, Dembélé and Parker holding fort in midfield with Holtby, Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurðsson interchanging in the attacking positions. Emmanuel Adebayor ran the front line on his own.
Everton kicked off and only 10 seconds later lost the ball, in which Tottenham capitalised, breaking down the wing and throwing in a cross that found Emmanuel Adebayor poking it home after 34 seconds. The worst start was realised for the Blues.
For 5 minutes, further sloppy play continued from the men in Blue but as the players pulled themselves together, the first attack arrived in the form of Leon Osman winning the ball from Michael Dawson and firing wide with Hugo Lloris stranded out of his goal. 15 minutes into the game and Everton had a corner. Leighton Baines duly delivered with a great ball across and with Lloris stuck to his line, stand-in Everton captain Phil Jagielka rose highest to head in the Everton equaliser.
The rest of the half was largely a battle in the midfield and produced no clear cut chances for either side. Spurs fans shouted for 3 different handballs, and while 2 did hit the hands of Everton players, they weren’t given and rightly so.
Tottenham started the second half but this time it was Everton who were on top straight away. Darron Gibson fired wide from range and Moyes looked to jump on the slow start from the home-side by bringing on striker Nikica Jelavic for midfielder Barkley. Just a minute later the Blues completed the turnaround, with another brilliant solo effort from Kevin Mirallas following on from the one Evertonians were treated to against Stoke the week before. The tricky Belgian winger picked up the ball on the right, drove towards goal and, just like against Stoke, cut back to his right and slotted it cooly past French goalkeeper Lloris.
David Moyes’ men then began to sit deep, inviting pressure from Tottenham. Minutes after the goal, Mirallas’ Belgian team-mate Moussa Dembélé forced a save from Tim Howard, who dived low and pushed it high onto the bar. The Toffees defended well for the large part of the second half, restricting Andre Villas Boas’ team to long range efforts that were no trouble. Everton on the other hand had two great chances to seal the game off, with Lloris beating Osman to the ball for an easy tap in and Victor Anichebe blasting just over.
As the game entered the final few minutes, Tottenham got desperate and threw every man forward. England International Kyle Walker was getting joy down Everton’s left, and his final run of the game proved costly to the Blues. As the right-back flew past Baines in the 86th minute, he cut the ball back, where Dempsey dummied the ball through to Adebayor, who struck it sweetly but against the post, and luck favoured Spurs as it bounced to Sigurðsson who calmly passed the ball into the back of the open net. Two goals apiece.
The game wasn’t quite over but it wasn’t the men in White that had the final few chances, it was those of the Blues. Two chances were spurned, firstly Jelavic failing to find Darron Gibson for a simple effort on goal and then Anichebe racing through and not getting enough lift on the ball to take it over an oncoming Lloris. The final whistle went and both teams were left in a disappointed mood.
QPR are next up for Everton, with a set of good results behind the team and suspended duo Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini returning.