An unforgettable FA Cup encounter on Wednesday night saw Everton edge Tottenham 5-4 after extra-time.
Spurs were almost ahead within 60 seconds as Erik Lamela saw a header saved and Lucas Moura fired the rebound over, but they didn’t have long to wait as Davinson Sanchez headed in from a corner. The away side remained on top and had plenty of chances to increase their lead, but Everton turned the game on its head with a rapid-fire treble.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin first profited from poor Spurs passing at the back and hammered in an equaliser, before Richarlison drilled in a low strike from outside the box and Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a penalty – all in the space of 10 minutes.
READ MORE: When is the FA Cup quarter-final draw?
There was still time for another goal before the break as Lamela benefited from a Yerry Mina error – then Davinson Sanchez poked in his second, and Spurs’ third, 10 minutes after the restart. Sub Harry Kane saw an effort blocked as Jose Mourinho’s side looked to get on top, but Richarlison hit another brilliant effort across the ‘keeper and in to put Everton ahead again with 20 minutes to play.
Everton were close to victory but a crazy late passage of play saw Lamela’s volley cleared off the line, Son send over a perfect cross and Kane score a diving header for 4-4 to send the game to extra-time. There, Bernard smashed in another terrific hit for the Toffees’ fifth and this time they managed to hold on.
Here are five things we learned from the clash at Goodison Park.
Independent Football Newsletter
Get the latest football headlines direct to your inbox twice a week
Read our full mailing list consent terms here
Spurs still searching for silverware
Jose Mourinho might have made a few changes, leaving Harry Kane on the bench as one of them, but there were clues in his line-up that he intended nothing but victory from this game as he seeks to end Spurs’ wait for a trophy.
Hugo Lloris starting in goal ahead of Joe Hart was one such selection, while key starters such as Son Heung-min and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg starting and playing the full 120 minutes also indicated this was a game being taken seriously.
It’s also notable that Kane was first off the bench for Mourinho when his team were looking for a route back into the game in the second half.
The FA Cup is down the list of priorities for some, but that only makes it all the more enticing for those seeking to end a silverware drought – but it won’t be Tottenham this year, despite the manager’s clear intent.
There was plenty of excitement about some of Spurs’ summer work, finally bringing in players capable of filling in for Kane’s inevitable injury absences, but Gareth Bale was absent here and Carlos Vinicius did not arrive until extra-time.
Vinicius had managed just 650 minutes this season for Tottenham, a woefully low tally which owes half of its total to the Europa League group stage. During the 90 minutes he got as far as taking his warm-up top off, before being told to sit down again after Kane’s goal.
Clearly he hasn’t convinced Mourinho that he can have a telling impact on the team.
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale was left out due to “some feelings he was not happy with”, rather than a specific injury, leaving Spurs to call on the usual faces to lead the attack.
Dismal defending or applauding the attack?
Given the lack of atmosphere, the sterile performances at times and the sheer volume of games, this 120 minutes should be enjoyed – by the neutral, at least, if not the two teams’ fans – as pure fun, real entertainment and intent to simply attack and win.
Certainly it seemed that tactics and defensive processes were largely ignored by some of the players, particularly at set pieces.
Gylfi Sigurdsson twice lost Davinson Sanchez and twice the Colombian scored off corners, but on the flip side the Icelandic midfielder claimed no fewer than three assists, plus netted a penalty himself.
Both Lloris and Olsen made great saves and conceded goals they’ll feel they should have done better in, and a whole host of players who have been on the periphery of things at times had big impacts in the final third, including Lamela, Bernard and each of the full-backs on show who ventured forward at different times.
Not long ago, Carlo Ancelotti had his say about a below-par Richarlison.
“I was not happy with him against Newcastle because I think he could work more. Against Leeds he did fantastic defensive work and I was pleased with that performance,” he said.
There was also a note that the Brazilian hadn’t been in good goalscoring form, though that was more about Richarlison himself wanting more from himself, rather than the manager feeling he should be doing more in the penalty box.
Either way, there was a definite upturn in productivity from the forward here, both on and off the ball. His finishes – right foot and left foot – were unerring and perfectly placed, leaving the ‘keeper little chance and, ultimately, helping to send his team through.
Last eight, top eight
Into the quarter-finals go Everton and their dreams of ending a long trophy drought remain alive. The FA Cup was indeed their last trophy, won in 1995.
Spurs have their League Cup final to look forward to, plus the knock-out phase of the Europa League.
There’s still a huge amount for both of these teams to play for in the Premier League table too, which is where the immediate focus turns: Spurs have league leaders Man City at the weekend and Everton have them in their following game – before the Merseyside derby on 20 February.
It’s a relentless fixture and there’s so much at stake with the league as closely fought as it is in the top half, but this back-and-forth game – and the season as a whole – should give both a sense of being capable of beating the teams around them on their day.
A Champions League spot is possible, a Europa League place for one of them is perhaps even probable – though better defending will be needed to achieve either one.
Source: Read Full Article