Feb 9, 2014, 5:29 AM EDT
Tim Sherwood continued his fantastic tenure at Spurs as his man Emmanuel Adebayor shocked the Everton back line, allowing Spurs to keep pace with Liverpool and dealing Everton’s Champions League hopes a serious blow.
With Tottenham controlling a bit more of the opening 10 minutes, the first pair of chances fell to Everton and Leon Osman.
A curling effort forced an 8th minute diving save from Hugo Lloris, and Osman then put the ensuing corner just over the crossbar with his head.
As both teams looked to play through the wings, the home side’s first chance came on 26 minutes when Danny Rose broke down the left flank and fired across the face of goal, just inches out of the reach of Emanuel Adebayor.
Spurs continued to hold the ball and build much more fluidly, but Leighton Baines provided some emergency defending and Everton’s counter proved potent enough to give the Tottenham buildup an air of caution.
Scoreless at the half, both teams were bright in the buildup following the break, but they also both lacked a finisher. Everton especially appeared to be seriously missing Lukaku, out with an ankle injury.
Baines began to prove valuable not just in defense but attack as well, as he nearly slotted Kevin Mirallas through but the attacker slipped while looking to get on the end of the beautiful through ball.
Given the deadlock, it was fitting that the opening goal came from relatively nothing. Following a routine foul in the middle third, Kyle Walker caught everyone in the ground – including Everton – off guard with his quick free kick forward to Adebayor.
The red-hot striker controlled well, and with the surprised Everton defenders putting him under pressure, he took two touches to control before unleashing the opener past Tim Howard.
The story continues for Adebayor, who was frozen out of the team by Andre Villas Boas before new manager Tim Sherwood gave him a lifeline, and he’s responded with now six goals in the Premier League.
With the goal lead, Spurs’ defensive shape held brilliantly against Everton’s counter, and their midfield possession made sure the visitors could only play through the break.
Without Lukaku, Everton simply had no answer for the rough midfield and organized back line of Tottenham and the home side would see it out.
The win puts Spurs past Everton in the table into fifth, three back of Liverpool for the final Champions League spot. Everton, meanwhile, may now have to contend with not only fighting for the top four but fending off Manchester United just below them as well. David Moyes‘ men have the chance to pull within two of the Toffees if they can win later today.
Tottenham – Adebayor 65′
Tottenham – Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose; Lennon (Defoe 86′), Paulinho (Capoue 68′), Bentaleb, Eriksen (Townsend 59′), Dembele; Adebayor.
Everton – Howard; Coleman, Baines, Distin, Jagielka; Barry, McCarthy, Osman (McGeady 73′), Pienaar (Barkley 64′), Mirallas; Naismith (Deulofeu 73′).
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