Everton vs Tottenham: Five key battles

Two sides with lofty ambitions go head-to-head at Goodison Park on Sunday, with a number of personal battles sure to be captivating viewing.

Both Everton and Tottenham have started the new season in impressive form, and their meeting at Goodison Park on Sunday is one of the Premier League clashes of the weekend.

The home side have had something of a hex over Spurs in Merseyside over recent seasons, and a number of individual contests will be paramount to the result here.

Here are five battles to keep an eye on:

Romelu Lukaku vs Michael Dawson

The Chelsea loanee is one of the form strikers in the Premier League, and has already netted five goals for the Toffees this term. His power, pace and physicality have been too much for most opposing defences of late, and Spurs will have a job on their hands to shackle the Belgian here.

Michael Dawson will look to contest with Lukaku physically, but could be caught out by the former Anderlecht man’s pace. Andre Villas-Boas may well consider playing Jan Vertonghen in centre-half rather than left-back to go up against his countryman.

Gareth Barry vs Paulinho

Another loan star for Everton, Barry is keen to prove a point at Goodison and has been a driving force in Roberto Martinez’s midfield this term.

Barry will look to command the middle third of the pitch, and will come up against Paulinho, who will look to do the same for the visitors. The Brazil international has shown his ability to be a top box-to-box midfielder, and their battle should be a captivating clash.

Leighton Baines vs Andros Townsend

Two England internationals in top form, the clash between the pair on Everton’s left flank could be a key element in deciding the game. Townsend needs to improve his final ball but has the pace and trickery to get in behind Baines.

Baines is a solid defender and will be a tough opponent for Townsend. However, the left-back is also great going forward, and the Spurs youth graduate will need to track back to follow him.

Phil Jagielka vs Roberto Soldado

The Spain international forward got the winner against Hull last weekend, but is still lacking top service from deep. Soldado looks like he needs a goal or two from open play to give his start at White Hart Lane a shot in the arm, as his finishing ability is not in question.

Jagielka will be keen to limit Soldado’s touches on the ball, and will need to watch the ex-Valencia man in the penalty box. If the England defender can nullify Soldado it could be a frustrating afternoon for the forward, and Tottenham.

Ross Barkley vs Mousa Dembele

With the sides likely to line up with similar formations, space and time will be of the essence. Both sides have midfield players capable of picking out passes and performing driving runs forward, with Demeble and Barkley two of the best on show with the ball.

Coming up against the experienced Belgian will be a good test for Barkley, with the pair both athletic and energetic. With the centre of the park likely to congested, both sides will look to their forward-running midfielders to have an impact.

image: © Gene Hunt

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