Tottenham Hotspur put forward a masterclass on Saturday at Goodison Park, with a 3-0 victory over big-spending Everton reiterating the club’s intentions of fighting for major honours in 2017-18.
Harry Kane netted a brace to get off the mark for Spurs this season, while Christian Eriksen also registered in the impressive performance.
While Everton were not at their best, Tottenham’s intensity, quality in possession and clinical finishing meant that the result was never really in doubt.
Mauricio Pochettino has extra options in his squad after a late flurry in the summer transfer market and there is certainly a feeling that Spurs have more strength in depth this term – a glimpse at the visiting bench on Saturday was a testament to this.
The Tottenham boss has alternated between a back four and a three-man defence over the last 12 months, with the Argentine opting for the latter against Everton.
Davinson Sanchez’s big-money acquisition from Ajax last month suggests that Spurs may look to field the 3-4-2-1 formation more often than not this season – and the Colombia international impressed on his first start for the North London club.
Ben Davies was also prominent in Tottenham’s victory, while Moussa Sissoko was given a chance to star in the centre of midfield – with some strong components of his game, but the France international was also guilty of being wasteful at times.
With all Spurs eyes turning towards the Champions League opener against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday at Wembley, here are the player ratings from the dominant performance and win against Everton.
Hugo Lloris – 6/10 – Was a virtual spectator for large parts of the game, such was Tottenham’s dominance. While Lloris’ desire to play out from the back is part of Pochettino’s ideology, the French goalkeeper was guilty of sloppy distribution in the second half – presenting a chance to Idrissa Gueye.
Toby Alderweireld – 6/10 – An essential component of the Tottenham team, Alderweireld switched to the right side of a three-man defence, instead of his usual central role. The Belgian was solid at the back, despite a first-half booking, while his range of passing was pinpoint at times.
Davinson Sanchez – 7/10 – An ideal debut for the Colombian, who looked calm and assured for the majority of the affair. His physical attributes are clearly impressive, but Sanchez also is comfortable in possession. The former Ajax man seems set to be a regular first-team player and impressed the Spurs fans with his first outing.
Jan Vertonghen – 7/10 – One of the most under-rated players in the Premier League, Vertonghen nullified the influence of Wayne Rooney, disposing the Everton attacker on countless occasions. Able to step out of defence with the ball, the Belgian was dominant again here.
Kieran Trippier – 6/10 – An excellent crosser of the ball, Trippier’s delivery was again prominent when the full-back got into advanced roles. However, nervousness on the ball in his own half and defensive naivety at times means that the England international has a job on his hands this season to keep his first-team role out of the hands of summer signing Serge Aurier.
Ben Davies – 8/10 – Excellent performance from the Wales international, who grows in confidence with his extended run in the team. A constant outlet when Spurs were in possession, Davies was dangerous in the final third and played his part in Eriksen’s goal. Tottenham are not missing Danny Rose due to the former Swansea City man’s performances.
Eric Dier – 7/10 – Often a scapegoat when things are not going to play for Tottenham, Dier’s versatility remains an important asset. While the England international gave the ball away unnecessarily on occasions, he also played some excellent passes in the final third, while dominating the 50-50s.
Moussa Sissoko – 7/10 – A divisive figure, Sissoko’s best position in the Spurs team may be in a central midfield role in this formation. The Frenchman’s pace and mobility were on show, with some incisive runs forward by the former Newcastle man. However, a lack of confidence in his left foot and a lack of end product when in promising positions continues to blight Sissoko.
Christian Eriksen – 8/10 – Tottenham’s heartbeat in the final third, Eriksen’s movement, first touch and vision are second to none in the Premier League. Everton’s combative midfield struggled to contain the Dane, who is able to create and score – another masterclass from the former Ajax man.
Dele Alli – 6/10 – A bit of an off-day for Alli, who looked frustrated on occasions – especially when Sissoko failed to reach him with the ball. Should have scored towards the end of the first half but fluffed his lines. Alli is clearly sublimely talented and showed some superb touches, but was guilty of over-playing on occasions.
Harry Kane – 9/10 – August hoodoo behind him, Kane put on a complete centre forward’s performance against Everton. While the striker was fortuitous with the opener, his second goal was a classic number nine’s finish. Kane’s link-up play, movement and work rate had Ashley Williams running in circles and reiterated the homegrown hero’s status as one of the Premier League’s best.