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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Cagey start expected when Everton go to Wembley

Tottenham may have to be patient

Everton forward Wayne Rooney
1 of 1

Premier League
BT Sport 1, 5.30pm Saturday

Attack versus defence has become the standard dish when one of the Premier League's elite teams take on opponents from outside the big six and something similar looks set to be served up in Tottenham's teatime clash with Everton at Wembley.

Spurs have already been frustrated on a number of occasions by similar tactics at their temporary base and the Toffees can stick close to Tottenham, at least in the early stages of a contest in which Mauricio Pochettino's men may need to show plenty of patience.

Costly dropped points in Wembley draws against Burnley, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham might be enough for many punters to swerve Spurs, although the north London outfit have won ten of their last 13 contests under the arch as the surroundings begin to feel more familiar.

However, most of Tottenham's best results at Wembley - the 3-1 wins against Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid and 4-1 against Liverpool - came against expansive opponents.

It has been much more of a grind on the majority of occasions that opposition teams have arrived with a mindset to pack the defence, which seems the obvious approach for Sam Allardyce's Everton.

With that in mind, backing the first goal to arrive after the 25th minute could be the best bet.

Man for man Everton can't match Tottenham, so Allardyce will have to come up with a plan that attempts to nullify the threat of Harry Kane, Dele AlliHeung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen. That is the type of tactical battle Big Sam relishes most.

Everton have not conceded a goal in the opening 30 minutes in any of Allardyce's ten games, a run which includes two trips to Anfield and home clashes with Chelsea and Manchester United.

It's trademark Allardyce to start building from the back, although at some stage they will need to add attacking impetus with the Merseysiders managing a woeful five shots on target in their last five matches combined.

Maybe probable debutant Cenk Tosun will make a difference - the Turkish target man scored eight league goals for Besiktas this season (three of which were penalties) - and Gylfi Sigurdsson will no doubt be up for this clash against his former club.

However, keeping Spurs at bay will be the first priority and it took Kane 63 minutes to break down AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup last week.

West Ham held out for 84 minutes at Wembley, Brighton lasted 40, West Brom 74, Crystal Palace 64, Bournemouth 47, Barnsley 65, Swansea 90 and Burnley 49, so there is a clear template for Everton to follow.

First goal after 25 minutes
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Premier League standings

Team news
Danny Rose, Harry Winks and Toby Alderweireld are out.

Michael Keane, Leighton Baines, Maarten Stekelenburg, Ramiro Funes Mori and Seamus Coleman remain sidelined. Idrissa Gueye returns and Cenk Tosun is likely to make his debut.

Key stat
Tottenham are the only big-six side not to have won from behind in the Premier League this season.

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Everton have not conceded a goal in the opening 30 minutes in any of Allardyce's ten games
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