For any Premier League manager who was watching on Sunday, David Moyes and his Everton side would have provided plenty of clues on how to take all three points against Spurs. Earlier in the season, the likes of Sunderland and Stoke - teams with markedly inferior players - achieved victories thanks largely to their commitment and fight. While Harry Redknapp has undoubtedly remedied the malaise that seemed to infect the players under Juande Ramos, Spurs once again succumbed to a team playing "ugly" football. Everton strung five players across the midfield and Joleon Lescott snuffed out the threat of Aaron Lennon, who was so influential against Blackburn one week ago.
David Bentley was again ineffective, wasting a whole series of set-pieces, and surely the time must be approaching for him to be dropped. The fact that he cost a lot of money should not guarantee a starting place, and since Redknapp did not sign Bentley, he should have little compunction about leaving him on the bench. In doing so, the manager would also be giving the player an opportunity to show what kind of attitude he really possesses.
As the game wore on, Spurs resorted to lumping high balls towards Bent and Pavlyuchenko, which were meat and drink to the Everton back four. Bent was particularly quiet, the scoring touch he had regained having apparently deserted him. The one consistently good component of the team in recent weeks has been the defence, but even they switched off at a free kick, a costly mistake that allowed Everton to score the game's only goal.
Spurs are missing Luka Modric, who may be back to fitness in time for the Carling Cup quarter-final against Watford but will probably not be risked for a game that will no doubt have a physical edge to it. While the focus in recent weeks has alternated between the goalkeeping situation and the "lone striker" question, it still seems obvious that the team's greatest need is for a holding midfielder, who can win the ball and allow the likes of Modric and Huddlestone to use it. Zokora is most often the player cast in that role, but he is clearly unable to fill it, at least on any consistent basis.
The January transfer rumors, however, are centering on other areas of the pitch. It is doubtful that there will be a lot of cash available to the manager, so talk of acquiring the likes of Adriano or Stewart Downing must be taken with a grain of salt. Inevitably, speculation also continues about Gomes, with Reading's Marcus Hahnemann being the most recent keeper mooted as his replacement. Hopefully Redknapp can work his magic in the transfer market and bring in a player who will add some steel to the midfield. Lying just above the bottom three on goal difference, Spurs need to temper the euphoria of good results against the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool by ensuring that they take vital points from the teams around them in the bottom half of the table.
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