Michael Keane was the hero on Monday night as Everton managed to steal a point away from a Tottenham Hotspur side that lost its manager during the international break.
Everton went without a striker with Demarai Gray filling the space up top for the Toffees in the place of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Spurs stuck with their five-at-the-back operation, something that might irk fans that hope to see a new brand of play now Antonio Conte has exited the club.
Spurs got us underway at Goodison Park kicking left to right. The pair traded blows for the opening few minutes, with both Harry Kane and Michael Keane missing open chances in the first 15 minutes. Tottenham dominated the possession but the Toffees were finding joy by flooding their opposition box, Alex Iwobi finding himself instrumental to Everton’s offensive pressure.
By the half time whistle, Spurs had managed to total 66% possession however Everton outnumbered Spurs on shots, six to three. Sean Dyche’s side looked to have created more opportunities, however Spurs’ expected goals were slightly better with 0.38 compared to 0.36. It was a closely fought first 45 minutes, with both sides understandably tentative.
It took 57 minutes for the first real flashpoint of the game, as Abdoulaye Doucoure and Harry Kane clashed off the ball after referee David Coote blew for an Everton foul. The French midfielder and England’s top scorer had a 50/50 after the whistle was blown, neither player liked it and Doucoure lashed out with an arm that struck Kane in the face. It could’ve been accidental but both players were looking for a bit of bite, Doucoure saw red, leaving Everton down to ten-men in what was a pivotal moment in the fixture.
Five minutes on from the red card, Spurs find their breakthrough. Cristian Romero finds himself meeting a cross inside the Everton box, but he’s caught by Keane, who didn’t see the Argentinian making the run across him. It’s a simple enough decision for Coote and Kane sent his international goalkeeper the wrong way with the strike from the spot.
Ellis Simms and Vitaly Mykolenko were brought on by Dyche to attempt to get Everton more of a foothold, with James Garner and Tom Davies later added to the attempts to salvage some points to make them escape the drop zone.
A second red card was dished out to Lucas Moura on the 88th minute, who reacted to misplacing a header with a wild lunge that saw him land his studs on the bottom of Keane’s shin, a horrific challenge that the Brazilian winger can put down to misplacement and lack of game time rather than malice.
Keane recovered in some style from the blow, and just two minutes later, stepped up with a super-human strike. Shades of Vincent Kompany against Leicester back in 2019 as the centre-back found a yard of space and he lumped one into the top right corner of Hugo Lloris’s goal.
Despite an hour of mostly poor play from both sides, the ending was feisty, high-tempo and full of energy. Both sides felt like they could grab the winner but the final whistle came too soon as Stellini and Dyche shared a point on the night.
With that draw, Spurs move into fourth place in the league behind Newcastle but overtaking Manchester United on goal difference. Everton find themselves in 15th place, moving themselves out of the relegation zone.