Everton vs Tottenham on Aug 13, 2016 @ 3pm UK at Goodison Park
Everton host Tottenham Hotspur in their opening Premier League fixture on Saturday as they look for a much-improved campaign under Ronald Koeman.
Spurs make the journey to Merseyside having finished last season on a negative note and head coach, Mauricio Pochettino will be keen to ensure that they do not suffer a hangover from losing second place to Arsenal in May.
When Koeman was linked with a switch to Everton, many doubted why the Dutchman would contemplate a move from a club who he had just helped to sixth place in the Premier League but after it became clear that he did not receive the backing that he desired at Southampton, the Toffees were the next logical choice.
Only time will tell whether Koeman can lead Everton into a new era but for now, the general consensus is that Southampton’s loss is Everton’s gain and there is real hope ahead of what could turn out to be an exciting season for the blue half of Liverpool.
The major issue is the future of Romelu Lukaku but Koeman has suggested that they will do everything to keep hold of last season’s top goal scorer despite potentially receiving double the fee paid for him two years ago.
Recent form: LDL
Last season, Tottenham Hotspur enjoyed their best season in the top flight for 26 years but their campaign ended on a sour note as they conceded second place to North London rivals Arsenal on the last day of the season.
A trip to Everton is not the ideal fixture to try to show that there are no long-lasting effects but Pochettino will see it as a chance to hit the ground running and show that they can build on their exploits from last year.
The club’s supporters would have had fears over Harry Kane suffering burn-out after his lacklustre showings for England at Euro 2016 but he has shown in pre-season that he is ready to resume responsibility at the head of Spurs’ attack.
Recent form: LLW
Koeman revealed in his pre-match press conference that Lukaku is a major doubt for Saturday’s game as he continues to recover from a cut sustained last weekend.
The Toffees coach has also said that Williams will not be ready to make his debut for the club but Phil Jagielka could feature after making his comeback from injury last week.
There is also concern over the fitness of full-back Seamus Coleman, who has picked up a problem in training.
The main news coming out of the Spurs camp is the return of defender Jan Vertonghen, who has been injured since Euro 2016.
However, the Belgian could be restricted to a place on the bench with Kevin Wimmer potentially starting alongside Toby Alderweireld.
Everton Possible Starting Line Up:
Stekelenburg, Holgate, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Gueye, Lennon, Barkley, Mirallas, Kone
Tottenham Possible Starting Line Up:
Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose; Dier, Wanyama; Lamela, Eriksen, Alli; Kane