Everton v Spurs Preview: Farewell, But To How Many??

So this is it! One last game before you can kick back and enjoy your Summer and not stress about Everton for a little while.

This could also be our last chance to see some of our players in the famous blue shirt, with 5 players being out of contract and further players being talked about – mainly by their agents – concerning a move from Fortress(ish) Goodison.

Who Is Out Of Contract on July 1st?

Here are the five men that could well be off after the final whistle…

Aaron Lennon – he’s done well for us to be honest. He’s added pace and the odd goal or two that we really needed and has given some fans a break from abusing Aiden McGeady for most of the game. He seems happy to be at Goodison, but why would he say he’s not? There are rumours that we’ll talk to Spurs at the end of the season about a deal but Daniel Levy drives a hard bargain and anything north of £10m could be a non-starter. Do we want him to stay?

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Cristian Atsu – bizarrely the player of the tournament at the African Cup of Nations, he has been a huge let-down for us. We won’t miss him when he goes back to Chelsea.

Antolin Alcaraz – loved by Martinez as a squad player, he actually did okay at times when Stones was injured but he’s still a potential calamity waiting to happen. Wouldn’t surprise me if he was kept on for cover purposes, although the rumours of us signing a replacement at centre-back are welcome.

Luke Garbutt – it’s a real shame as I rate Garbutt but the fact he’s staying quiet and letting his contract run down means he’s no doubt off in the Summer to pastures new. Probably a mid-table team where he can get guaranteed first team football like West Ham. It’s clear that when Baines plays he’s fit, and with Oviedo maybe being available – when not injured – and Galloway doing well last week, it’s fairly clear that we’ve seen the last of him in the Royal Blue shirt. Shame.

Sylvain Distin – aaah, what can you say about Sylvain? Lets be fair – prior to 2009 we were more than happy to have him at the centre of our defence. An ageing signing when we got him, we assumed that he’d be finished and slow but some of his performances around that time were masterful. Unfortunately it all seemed to unravel following THAT back-pass in the FA Cup semi-final, his personal life complications started to affect his game it seems and he started squabbling with people on social media and even on the training field. If he plays on Sunday he’ll have a mixture of applause and booo’s I’m sure, but for me we should thank him for his efforts. On massive wages. Whilst he was playing away from home and pretending to be a milkman. I’ve changed my mind… BOOOOOOO!

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Who Could Leave That Are In Contract?

Well there’s nothing concrete at the moment for any of our first-teamers to be leaving us, but the rumours are there.

Lukaku’s agent seems to be an absolute gem doesn’t he? No sooner than he took over his new client he was trying to sell him. I think we’d all like to keep him, but a huge offer from Europe could see him on his way. Scoring goals whilst having the first touch of a baby elephant keeps you entertained only so often.

Mirallas is the interesting one. After stating that we wanted to join a Champions League club (didn’t he leave one to sign for us?!?) he went nowhere in January due to a complete lack of offers. He may well speak out about wanting to go this Summer, but will anyone take him on? If they do then we’ll miss him for his energy, but he;s become more of an impact sub recently. I’m sure for the same money we can get more out of another player – Bolasie of Palace for example.

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In terms of the others that are being spoken of, Coleman has had quite a poor season meaning the talk has calmed down, McCarthy seems to have been overlooked by the ‘bigger’ CL clubs who have gone for other players and thus should stay with us for another year and Brian Ovideo seems to be having a nice time visiting the Goodison treatment room and picking up massive wages for his troubles.

And the England boys – Barkley and Stones? Can’t see them going anywhere either. They both have a lot of developing to do and whilst they both have flashes of greatness they need to spend more time on the pitch which, if they moved upwards to a CL club, wouldn’t happen. I know money talks, but both lads seem to enjoy being with Everton for now. After the Euros next season we may see a different situation of course!

Previous Results/Form and Predictions

So the good news is that we haven’t lost to Spurs at home in the league since 2007, although most of those have been draws (4 draws, 3 wins). Maybe not such great news is that we haven’t actually beaten them since December 2012, and that was due to an unlikely injury time victory when we came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 due to a late goal from Jelavic and an even later winner from Pienaar.

The last four meetings have seen 2 draws (0-0 at home the last time we played them at Goodison in November 2013 and a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane in April 2013) and two defeats (1-0 in Feb 2014 thanks to Adebayor and 2-1 this season).

I’ve just noticed that Soldado scored the winner for them earlier this season. Soldado. I’ll let that sink in a bit. I know we have a record of letting awful strikers score against us that haven’t managed to put goals away in years but that’s ridiculous. Thought it was bad enough with Adebayor scoring last year!

In terms of form for both sides; well, both teams have been on the beach for a little while. Everton’s miraculous form to push themselves away from relegation has tailed off following their deconstruction of Manchester United at Goodison and the last few three games have shown the kind of inconsistency that frustrates us year-on-year (a Villa defeat, a Sunderland defeat and a West Ham last-minute victory).

Saying that, Spurs’ form has been terrible as they look to try and lose the mini-league that they find themselves in concerning Europa League qualification. They are battling it out with Southampton and Liverpool for the two spots (and Swansea now somehow) and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them put their feet up and accept a narrow defeat here. Of course we could still qualify for the Europa via the Fair Play league but after the West Ham game and our three bookings I think that’s gone now.

Overall I can see this being a low-scoring match and possibly even ending goalless. There are plenty of offers out there for people who like to bet on these things and the sensible one might be to go with Bet365’s bore draw insurance (see the link at the bottom of the article – EnhancedOdds4You.com – for details) so as to get your money back on first goalscorer markets, etc, if there aren’t any goals in the game.

Feels like the kind of game to have a few beers in the sun, gently clap the players as they trundle round the field at the end of the game, have a quick booooo at Sylvain Distin one last time and then slope off for a good hard rest for the Summer. Safe in the knowledge that you don’t have to think about football for two months.

What’s that? Fixtures out soon?!?? YYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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