Football

Flipping fingers and a drink-driving charge

Having had to endure a week of humdrum international football, we now turn our attention to more pressing matters: the Premier League.

Will Danny Drinkwater add insult to injury at Leicester? Will Sanchez and Coutinho be welcomed back to their respective clubs with open arms? Could this be Slaven Bilić’s final game in charge of West Ham?

These are the questions on everyone’s lips.

But for now, let us shine a light on Everton v Tottenham; a mouth-watering tie if ever we saw one.

Both the Toffees and Spurs will be glad to get back to playing football this weekend. While we’re used to journalists penning hyperbolic headlines about England’s predictable performances during the international break, instead the press turned their attention to Rooney and Deli Ali. That’s right, a drink-driving charge and the flip of a middle finger were more exciting than England’s ebullient “young talent”.

Spurs go into this game on the back of some poor form. Tottenham have only one win from their first three games, and will be looking to rectify their stuttering start to the season with a convincing performance. The question is whether their young starlets (Kane, Dier and Ali) will be fit after a slogging match against Slovakia, and if Kane can shake August’s poor form. Personally, I think he can. While Spurs have only won one of their last 10 top-flight visits to Goodison Park (D6 L3), they rarely find it hard to question their opposition’s net. Kane, alone, has scored 99 goals in all competitions for Tottenham, 48 of which have come in away games.

After an encouraging transfer window that featured some impressive signings, Everton have made a decent start to their new campaign. A convincing win against Hajduk Split, in the European qualifiers, as well as a respectable 4 points from three games – which included trips to Manchester City and Chelsea – will leave Koeman’s side in high spirits going into the weekend. However, the stats don’t flatter the Toffees: they haven’t won any of their last nine league games against Tottenham, a run that stretches back to December 2012.

Everton’s club-record signing, Gylfi Sigurdsson, will be looking to add to his two-goal tally for Iceland by rattling a questionable Spurs defence. On Sigurdsson, Koeman told Everton TV: “I think Gylfi is now in the right position in terms of a physical state.

“It was really tough for him to play two full games for us in such a short period, then he travelled with his national team as well.

“He was back today [Thursday], maybe still a bit tired and he needs to recover – but he’s in a good physical state to be at his best for this Saturday.”

If Everton are to put Tottenham to the sword, their multi-million pound talisman will surely be the catalyst.

Then there’s Rooney.

Should England’s top scorer be picked by his “bitterly disappointed” boss, it makes sense to back him to score anytime. With 11 goals in his last 16 league games against Spurs, I can see him atoning for his recent escapades off the pitch. The Liverpudlian loves living on the precipice, and, for me, this is the perfect opportunity for him to right his wrongs. Hopefully he will re-write the headlines.

The smart money should be on Harry Kane to put the ball in the back of the net. Not only is it rare for England’s first choice striker to have an extensive goal drought, Everton have conceded in their last three games.

Over 2.5 goals bet has to be a banker.

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