Everton 0 Tottenham 0
Both Everton and Tottenham began the season with Champions League ambitions, but there was little evidence in this drab Goodison Park stalemate of which will emerge as the more likely candidate.
The home side were sloppy, wasteful and error-strewn, particularly in the first half, while Spurs, though bright in patches, were lacking a cutting edge up front.
Tottenham manager Andre Villa-Boas was particularly defensive of his side’s goalscoring record afterwards, and insisted it was not a problem despite the fact they have only scored nine goals in 10 Premier League matches this season.
Instead the Portuguese pointed to their record in all competitions — 30 in 17 games — and remains unconcerned with their apparent profligacy around the penalty area.
“I can carry on about all the good statistics and you could carry on about all the negative statistics and this debate can go on,” Villas-Boas said.
“The chances are coming, sometimes it goes your way. We are the team that creates more opportunities in the Premier League, we have more shots. At the moment it’s results which put you in the fourth place. We all want to bring excitement but this team is doing extremely well. We have the second highest tally of any club from 17 official games. But you can continue on with your negativity.”
Clear-cut chances were at a premium although Everton’s Tim Howard was the busier of the two goalkeepers before the break.
The American saved a curling free-kick from Kyle Walker and an angled drive from Andros Townsend while Roberto Soldado headed wide from a good position.
Everton showed more ambition after the break and Steven Pienaar received the ball in a good position only to be denied by a last-ditch block from Michael Dawson. The Toffees had more dynamism with the introduction of Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu and Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had to be alert late on to save from the latter at his near post.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez also felt his side should have won a penalty when Seamus Coleman’s trailing leg was caught by Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen inside the box.
“That’s a clear example when they tell you decisions level themselves out over a season, it doesn’t happen,” Martinez said.
“We had a similar situation at Villa and at the Etihad. Seamus gets impeded. He doesn’t over-react, he gets back on his feet and it should have been a penalty.
“I think the referee was a bit picky overall. Some of the bookings for both sides were a bit strange. But I can understand it was a tense game.”
Martinez acknowledged his side were not at their best overall and was satisfied that a point reflected a good result in their quest to break into the top four.
“We are really pleased but we want to carry on improving,” the Spaniard added. “We haven’t fulfilled our potential yet. The start has been good but we want to carry on progressing.”
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Howard 7; Coleman 7, Distin 6, Jagielka 7, Baines 6; McCarthy 5, Barry 6; Mirallas 5 (Deulofeu 63, 6), Osman 6 (Barkley 63, 6), Pienaar 6; Lukaku 6 (Jelavic 85, 6).
TOTTENHAM (4-2-3-1): Lloris 7; Walker 7, Chiriches 6, Dawson 7, Vertonghen 7; Paulinho 6, Sandro 5 (Dembele 61, 6); Townsend 7, Holtby 6 (Eriksen 86, 6), Lennon 5 (Sigurdsson 69, 6); Soldado 5.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved