Mauricio Pochettino’s men were held to a 1-1 draw by West Ham United in their last top-flight encounter, with Son Heung-min’s fine long-range strike cancelling out Pedro Obiang’s brilliant opener. It was a disappointing result for Spurs and another example of their struggles at Wembley, with the north Londoners having now dropped points at home on five occasions so far in 2017/18. The hosts looked jaded after the hectic festive period and will likely be much sharper this weekend, while Pochettino will not be too downbeat given Tottenham are only three points adrift of the top four and have the knockout stage of the Champions League to look forward to.
Sam Allardyce has succeeded in dragging Everton clear of relegation trouble since he replaced Ronald Koeman at the helm at the end of November, with the Toffees currently residing in ninth place with a seven-point buffer above the drop zone. The former West Ham, Sunderland and Crystal Palace head coach certainly deserves credit for immediately improving the Merseysiders’ results – Everton went unbeaten in his first six games in charge – but their form has dipped of late and many fans have been questioning the style of play on show at Goodison Park. Ending a four-match winless run will be their aim in the capital on Saturday, although the visitors are clear outsiders.
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Tottenham will be unable to call upon the services of Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) and Danny Rose (knee), while Harry Winks (ankle) could undergo a late fitness test. Victor Wanyama could be in line for his first start of the season after recovering from his own ankle injury, with Mousa Dembele’s availability giving Pochettino the option to push Eric Dier back into the defence and play a three-man backline. At the top of the pitch, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Son will provide lone centre-forward Harry Kane with support.
Everton will have to make do without Leighton Baines (calf), Maarten Stekelenburg (groin), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee) and Seamus Coleman (match fitness), but Michael Keane is hoping to shake off a foot problem in time to feature. Former Wigan Athletic midfielder James McCarthy has returned to the fold in recent weeks but could make way for Tom Davies here, with the academy product’s energy likely to be important in linking midfield and attack. Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin will offer extra steel in the centre, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s pace making him the leading contender to start up top.
The Toffees are likely to take a cautious approach at Wembley, which could bring an element of success against a Spurs side who have at times struggled to break down opponents who sit deep and pack men behind the ball this season. Allardyce must find the right balance between defending in numbers and providing a threat on the counter-attack, though, and it will be imperative that they do not concede early. This will probably be a low-scoring encounter – under 2.5 goals in total could be a sensible selection – but Spurs should just about get the job done.