Tottenham v Everton, Carling Cup, October 27, 2009
Even before Everton had been hammered in Lisbon and hit with a hammer blow in Bolton, David Moyes had complained about the timing of this fixture. Three games in six days was always going to be difficult and it is hard not to feel a little sympathy with the Toffees as they head to Carling Cup specialists Tottenham. (Spurs are 8/1 to win the Carling Cup, Everton are 16/1.)
A number of first choice Everton players appeared in both chastening away defeats and it seems Moyes will have little choice but to rest a number of players at White Hart Lane. Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert, Sylvain Distin, Tim Cahill, Dan Gosling, Marouane Fellaini, Jack Rodwell and Jo all played 180 minutes over four days and are now unlikely to start or even play a part in this Carling Cup tie.
Both in the Europa League and Premier League defeats, Everton were easy to break down and seem a far cry from the resilient unit we have become familiar with in recent seasons. Moyes admitted as much after the late defeat at Bolton, describing his team as a â€œbit soft centred.â€
The troubles surrounding Everton also go deeper than the two most recent defeats, in their two previous matches they drew at Goodison with Stoke and Wolves, two teams they would have expected to beat. In both games goals from Leon Osman and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (an injury doubt for this match) rescued a point for the Toffees and the blend both defensively and going forward doesnâ€™t seem to be clicking.
This match looks like a Spurs victory waiting to happen which will come as a disappointment to Everton fans hoping for another taste of walking down Wembley Way after last yearâ€™s FA Cup adventures. But with 11 players out for the trip to Bolton it will be left to some of the lesser known players in Moyesâ€™ squad to get past Spurs.
Harry Redknapp will be eager for his side to bounce back from the surprise home defeat to Stoke on Saturday and we can expect Tottenham to look like a different teamÂ although Jermain Defoe is ineligible to play due to suspension. Spurs are also unlikely to be at full strength with the North London derby coming up on Saturday but should have enough quality to get past an Everton side on their last legs. (Spurs are 13/8 to win to nil.)
Roman Pavyluchenko should receive an opportunity to stake a claim for a first team spot alongside the likes of Gareth Bale, Kyle Naughton, Alan Hutton and David Bentley. Aaron Lennon will miss out after walking off injured with ten minutes remaining against Stoke and Spurs will have to find some attacking invention without the speedy winger.
Initially, when this tie was pulled out the hat it looked like being a fine cup match, now one can only think it will be all over within 90 minutes as neither side will want to go to extra time. David Moyesâ€™ youngsters and bit-part players may see this as an opportunity to stake their claim for a first team place but it seems that Spurs should have the legs and quality to win comfortably and take another step towards their third successive final in the competition.
101gg predicts: Tottenham 3 â€“ Everton 0 (16/1)
Full match odds here.