Tottenham battled to a 1-0 win over Everton, with Emmanuel Adebayor grabbing the only goal
Below are five things we learned about Tottenham from the performance:
For the second home game in a row Tim Sherwood looked tactically naive
The beginning of the match saw Tim Sherwood's team repeatedly cut apart by the running and movement of an Everton side playing expertly between the lines. The space available for Osman, Mirallas and Pienaar to run into was to be expected given the absence of an Everton striker and the absence of a Tottenham holding midfielder, and the home team just don't have enough pace to deal with runners like that. Spurs were lucky to avoid conceding, and it showed that the ex-Blackburn man had failed to learn from the Manchester City defeat, where the same thing occurred.
Sherwood needs to try and aim for a settled midfield, and side in general
Now his midfielders are getting back to fitness Sherwood should do his best to settle on a spine of the team that he puts his confidence in. Arguably Kaboul or Chirches should be preferred to Dawson to make up for his absence of speed, while it is any one's guess as to what he will do with central midfield. Dembele, Paulinho and Sandro are the three best options there, despite Sherwood's persistant use of Bentaleb, while Eriksen could also drop back into that trio from his left sided spot. The Spurs boss needs to settle on a style and lineup that he can then try to develop.
Bentaleb should be utilised as a promising midfielder, not a first choice one
The young Frenchman was the most vulnerable of Tottenham's midfield, and despite showing plenty of promise, it's surely debatable whether he brings more to the team than Etienne Capoue. He is a Sherwood favourite that's for certain, but let's hope it's not just the Spurs boss using the youngster to emphasise his control over the team, as Bentaleb would surely benefit from less pressure and a more considered role in the squad. As it stands, he looks like one of the first names on the team sheet, but against Everton he failed to influence with his passing and marginalised Paulinho by forcing him to adopt a defensive approach. Should have more of a supporting role, rather than the lead one he's been given by Sherwood.
This match was all about the result
The performance left a lot to be desired, and Everton can certainly feel hard done by after coming away with nothing, but at the end of the day as the old saying goes, it's Tottenham that come away with the vital 3 points.The Spurs players looked second best in terms of desire and urgency for most of the game, and were outplayed by Everton's determined and skilful midfield. An improved second half show hinged on Kyle Walker's quick thinking and Adebayor's excellent strength and controlled finish, but if anything, it covered up the problems rather than solved them. If Spurs can kick on from here, as they should aim to now, none of that will matter one iota.
As Defoe turns out at WHL for the last time, will Sherwood and Levy regret not bringing in another forward?
Jermain Defoe took to the field for his final home appearance in a Spurs shirt, and looked dangerous in the few minutes he was given. Due to head to Canada in the next couple of weeks, Tottenham will then go down to just Adebayor and the now unfancied Soldado. For the first half particularly, the big Togo striker failed to influence proceedings, and it wasn't until his goal that he started to dominate proceedings. Before then, it was easy to wonder what Sherwood would do if Adebayor continued to struggle - given that he has no one on the bench to replace him with.
image: © sachab