Injuries hurting Everton
After taking 10 points from their first four games, Everton have added just four more in their last six.
Only goal difference is keeping them in the top half of the table and the rumblings over Rafa Benitez’s suitability as an Everton boss are starting to grow.
While the 5-2 home loss to Watford – in which they conceded four goals in the last 12 minutes – looked freakish, the 2-1 defeat at Wolves last Monday when a reaction was expected hinted at deeper problems.
Those problems aren’t easily cured. Everton’s defence still isn’t the compact unit that Rafa wants but his biggest headache is the loss of perhaps Everton’s two most important players.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored in each of the Toffees’ first three Premier League games but hasn’t been since while he’s been joined on the injury list by key midfield man Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Those two are hard to replace and, at the moment, Everton haven’t been able to cover the gaps they’ve left.
Conte off to a winning start
Daniel Levy clearly pulled off a masterstroke in luring Antonio Conte to Tottenham and the Italian already has a win in the bag.
That came in an eventful Europa Conference League victory over Vitesse, a game that saw Tottenham burst into a 3-0 lead inside 30 minutes before walking off at half-time with the advantage cut to 3-2.
Three red cards – one to Spurs and two late for Vitesse – added to the drama but the bottom line was very Conte: a win.
Clearly allowing a team like Vitesse back into the game shows the problems he has to solve but, overall, it was a satisfactory start.
He takes over a Tottenham team with 15 points from their opening 10 Premier League games, a haul that puts them ninth – five points off the top four.
The good news for Spurs and Conte is that they have an excellent record against Everton. Tottenham have lost just one of the last 17 encounters, and at Goodison they’re unbeaten in eight.
The Conte factor and Everton’s struggles tilt the market in favour of the visitors.
Tottenham are 2.56/4 to bank all three points and give Conte a winning start in the Premier League while Everton are 3.259/4. The Draw is the outsider of the three outcomes at 3.412/5.
For all their poor performances and losses this season, Nuno Espirito Santo did still manage to win 50% of his 10 top-flight games in charge.
That included away wins at Wolves and Newcastle while the Portuguese boss’s final victory was a 1-0 EFL Cup success at Burnley.
Everton have lost their last two home games and, as noted, they have a miserable record against Tottenham.
Benitez will be desperate to stop the rot but after three straight Premier League defeats confidence is low and I’ll take Tottenham to win the game.
The arrival of Conte will clearly have a galvanizing effect given the high standards he demands and this looks the perfect opportunity for Tottenham to get the victory.
Harry Kane didn’t get on the scoresheet in Conte’s first game but the Italian’s arrival has clearly got his attention.
The England striker seemed to be going through the motions under Nuno but expect that to change. Kane will feel he has a manager that is going places and Conte won’t stand for anything less than full commitment.
Kane has just one Premier League goal so far although a brighter picture can be painted when looking at cup matches and internationals. Then his record becomes a very acceptable 10 in 19 games.
And how about his record against Everton: 11 goals in 12 Premier League matches.
I’ll head to the Bet Builder and back Kane to score in a Spurs win at 3.412/5.
Lucas Moura has two in three and netted in Conte’s first match on Thursday night.
Moura to score in a Spurs win is around 6.411/2.
In his previous stint in the Premier League with Chelsea, new Tottenham manager Antonio Conte remained unbeaten against Everton (W3 D1), with his side keeping a clean sheet in all four matches against the Toffees.