Everton Scout: 5 Point Tactical Report on Spurs

1.Selection and Formation

Spurs usually line up in something resembling 4-2-3-1 with Bale and Lennon pushed onto opposition fullbacks. With Lennon’s injury, Defoe has been played through the middle as a second striker with VdV wide but Lennon should return for this one with VdV returning to his more accustomed role in the hole. Redknapp has deployed Bale through the middle at times, recently with devastating results against Norwich as the average position image (above) shows so don’t be surprised to see him coming off the left flank. Injury wise, they have defensive problems like ourselves with skipper Ledley King definitely out and Gallas also missing . Scott Parker is a doubt and will most likely be replaced by Livermore in central midfield.

2.Tactics & Strategy

It’s fair to say Harry Redknapp doesn’t embrace the tactical side of the game as much as other managers. Forward Rafael Van Der Vaart pointed out last season that  “There are no long and boring speeches about tactics, like I was used to at Real Madrid. There is a clipboard in our dressing room but Harry doesn’t write anything. It’s not that we do nothing – but it’s close to that,”  Whether it’s tactical or not, the key strategy  is getting Bale on the ball which is why attacks are mostly focused down the left flank from Assou Ekotto passes to Bale. Modric’s long passes are superb with an 81% completion so far this season – this enables Spurs to go from defence to attack rapidly with the pace they have in wide offensive areas.


Make no mistake, we are really up against it on Wednesday night. Tottenham are very strong going forward, making the most shots per game (18.6) in the division.  Their forward talent has certainly won them many friends this season and with the vision and incision of VdV and Modric, combined with the ferocious pace of Walker/ Lennon / Bale and the physicality of Adebayor it’s hard to pinpoint weaknesses in their offensive strategy. Bale is a key man in many ways and his crossing is top draw –  so far posting a 31% accuracy from wide deliveries, slightly ahead of Baines 28%. Defensively  they are not too shabby either –  the Man City routing apart they have the best defensive record at home in the league.


Ledley King’s leadership and organisation will be a big loss for Spurs whose 3 league defeats so far this season have all come when he has been out injured .  Kyle Walker has established himself this season at right back and whilst his pacey attacking surges and subsequent ability to push opposition wingers backwards is a strength, he is still quite raw in terms of positional play – certainly weaker than Assou Ekotto on the opposing flank – so Drenthe and Baines in tandem could certainly get some joy in the space he vacates.

Despite being at club’s with larger cheque books than Moyes, Redknapp has not enjoyed a great record against him in top flight games, having only won  3 out of 16 of the games they have gone head to head. Both managers have their strengths and weaknesses with Moyes much more risk averse than  Redknapp and a more defensively astute tactician capable of nullifying opponent’s attacking personnel. This is perhaps why he has been able to stifle Redknapp’s attacking approach more often that not. A potential weakness could be in terms of conceding goals in the later stages – Spurs concede 45% of their goals in the last 20 mins of games whilst we score over 40% of our goals in the last 10 minutes of games so it could (hopefully) be a grandstand finish.

5.Toffee Approach

Injury wise, Jagielka is definitely out injured whilst Osman, Coleman, Cahill and Rodwell are all doubts. Moyes has tweaked his 4-5-1 this season, switching between 4-4-1-1, 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-2-1. Personnel wise, I think shifting between 4-5-1 (off the ball) and 4-3-2-1 (on the ball) will be our best hope here, with Heitinga’s ability to hit long diagonals to either Drenthe or Donovan crucial as the duo will provide the closest support  to Saha.

Defensively it will be interesting to see what Moyes strategy is for Bale. Last season Moyes opted to double up on Bale with Neville at fullback supported by Coleman. The average position shot (right) shows how close the pair positioned themselves to reduce Bale’s impact. This worked well – Bale failed to make one successful cross and was eventually shifted to the right. The other option is of course to push Bale backwards towards his own goal as Swansea did a couple of weeks ago with their attacking fullback Angel Rangel, however I’d expect us to drop off and double up again with Donovan asked to cut off the angle of the pass to Bale in the first instance and then helping Neville should the ball get past him.

It will also be interesting to see how Moyes shapes us with his defensive line. At home we keep a very high line and press opponents high up field. Against the better sides this season away from home this has been less so. Against Chelsea we were penned in by Chelsea’s pressing, whilst at Man City we voluntarily sat deep. The only time we have used a high line and squeezed play was at Arsenal (right) when only a wonder goal from Van Persie beat us. The threat of adopting this tactic  is leaving large spaces in behind our back 4– we were sprung a few times by the Gunners but luckily Gervnho and Walcott were wasteful. Against Spurs though it would be much riskier given Modric’s ability as a deep lying playmaker to spin accurate balls over our backline.  For this reason I think we will have to sit a bit deeper and look to counter attacks and our pacey wide men as our best bet of getting a goal.


21 thoughts on “Everton Scout: 5 Point Tactical Report on Spurs

  1. Which clubs has Redknapp been at that have had more money than Everton, Tottenham is the only one I can think of, Portsmouth certainly didn’t, nor Southampton.

    • everyone’s got more money than everton pal! at pompey he signed the likes of diarra, defoe, crouch etc for big money…pretty sure we haven’t signed a striker for money since the yak about 5 years ago!

      • Pompey had no money. They backed their multiple purchases of players with lines of credit and look where it got them.

        Kenwright / Everton – are a lot more prudent. And if you believe Kenwright (and I don’t) the bank won’t extend Everton the same lines of credit.

  2. I have read nothing more than the first line and feel compelled to correct you…Spurs rarely line up 4231, it is a fomation only tried a few times in the absence of Lennon. With Lennon its a 4411 but with both wingers with licence to roam, more so than last season. so maybe EFC double teaming Bale will be less effective this season.

    • cheers for pointing that out…always seemed to me that the wide mids pressed opposition fullbacks rather than support their fullbacks so more 4-2-3-1 than 4-4-1-1 but you are clearly more accustomed with spurs than I so will bow to your superior knowledge!

      • Lennon does a lot of defensive work these days. Not sure why that’s changed – but it has helped spurs cut down the goals conceded. If Neville could get forward like Baines can, there might be opportunities to pressure two up on Assou-Ekotto. Not sure Neville can risk that wil Bale lurking though.

      • Good points there Danny. Can’t see Neville having any offensive agenda on Wednesday…his creaking joints wouldn’t be able to get back in position!…pity Coleman is crocked as him against Bale would have been an interesting match up in terms of pace and the fact both players are so direct.

      • Coleman might have offered a chance of forcing Bale back into his own half – although as you said in the blog, Adebeyor’s physical game may then see him have some joy if he drifts wide to pick up those long Modric passes and hold the ball up for whichever paceman heads for the middle.
        Still – looking forward to the game however the sides line up.

    • I think it’s been tried often enough recently to count as a regular formation for us; even with Lennon in the team, you can argue that he, Bale and VdV make up the 3.

      Anyway, interesting single-subject blog, a bit like Windy’s for us.
      I’ve got plenty of Everton mates which always gives the game more edge for me- after an awesome run against you over the last 20 years (Caskey! Marney! Turner! Other 1-match wonders!), we seem to have dropped a few points at home in recent seasons; I remember watching us failing to beat 10 men, with Michael Dawson scoring for you. Hopefully Weds will fix that. Most of the mates I mentioned are pretty depressed about football at the moment…

  3. Everton did well to contain bale last season. The difference this year might be adebayor and livermore. Both give spurs a lot more physical strength than Palacios and Crouch – Everton should handle that fine, but handling that on top of the pace and quick passing of spurs has proved too much for most this season.

  4. Dear God in heaven I can see the dour Moyes 11 men behind the ball, kick Bale, Modric, VdV and anybody else in a Spurs shirt up in the air tactics, already. Sweet Jesus!

  5. neville did a fine job on bale previously – ;ets trust moyse makes it happen again! my real fear is that we’re missing the jag…
    with saha and cahill shooting blanks all season, we’re forced to get lucky with our loanees or the youngsters.
    i look at pienaar, arteta etc. that moved on i say: where is moysey gonna find playmakers at that calibre at those prices???
    Sweet Jesus, help us please!

  6. I think Everton’s only hope will be to sit 11 men behind the ball. We get frustrated quite easily against teams that do so. We then take our time to break the opposition down.

    If Everton come to WHL to play football then Tottenham will win by 2 goals. We simply have better footballers and our home form is superb.

    I’m always wary of Everton, ever since you came to the Lane, got Kilbane sent off in the 1st half, but still won 2 nil. But that was when you had a good striker up front and we had Robinson in goal, with YP Lee at right back, and Davenport as a CB.

    Didn’t realise you had so many injuries as well. Cahill scares me from set pieces.

    • Yep, we have no chance of out playing you. With losing our better ball players were a lot more about pressing and defensive solidity these days. Not good to watch! We don’t concede many goals on our travels but the injury to jags will disrupt us as hes a top player.I wouldn’t worry too much about Cahill given his record last 12 months (0 goals) but I suppose his barren run must end at some time!

      • And is bound to end against us!

        Glad Jagielka won’t play against us. Heitinga seems the type to chop Bale down and get sent off, so will be surprised if you have 11 men at the end.

        I just fear that you will try to kick us off the park a la lower-down-the-league sides. I know it should be expected, but I can’t help but hate anti-football when we’re playing some of the best free-flowing, attractive football around. I guess if it works, it works.

        I can’t see us dropping points, unless we give Baines a free-kick around the box like last season.

  7. I have always had a soft spot for Everton and admire them as a great traditional football club. Moyes has been fantastic and would be on my list if Harry gets the England call. However on Wednesday i hope Everton have a terrible off day and we get the points and some goals to make up goal difference on the Mancs. So my best wishes to Everton and all their fans for the season but not against Spurs guys

  8. It’ll be a weird game this one… for half the season us Spurs fans have been looking at the table and saying “yeah, but we’ve still got a game in hand” and mentally (if a bit cheekily) adding three points to our total. Not sure if you Everton fans have been doing the same, but it makes it a big game, psychologically speaking, for Spurs fans.

    I think we will easily out-play you (especially if Lennon is back up to speed) but we’ve found it difficult to break down determined defences at times, which Everton will surely have. Can see it being a very tight game with – hopefully – a touch of magic from Bale or Van Der Vaart ultimately being the difference between the teams.

  9. I appreciate the effort – it’s a good and well researched piece. It really all depends also what Spurs team turn up. We really are formidable when we get it right – in fact, very good indeed. As mentioned above, if you try and play football I’m afraid we will turn you over. We are actually waiting for a big scoreline (not suggesting this one will be it), but it is on the cards.

    David Moyes will have his work cut out for this one. Best of luck.

  10. Loved the blog, always enjoyable to read about us from the eyes of opponents.. Only flaw: You severely underestimated the impact of Modric who is even more of a threat this year, hopefully Moyes does the same mistake!

    A good read!

  11. I like the look of your suggested team on the chalkboard. I think for Villa we will have to start with Duffy in place of Distin and Cahill for Rodwell. We need to find a way to score goals and getting Donovan and Drenthe high up the pitch is the best bet. I know he is getting stick but Saha is still the best centre forward we have, which doesn’t say much I know.

    Gibson would be good business at £1-2m but surely we don’t need another central midfielder, that is unless Rodwell is on his way?

    Do we have an update on the transferwipe?

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