Tottenham smash Everton for six as Mauricio Pochettino underlines his credentials
Argentine manager shows no signs of being distracted by talk of move to Manchester United as his London side come from behind to beat Everton in remarkable away performance
As Tottenham Hotspur produced one of the season’s most entertaining and most emphatic displays to produce one of its most extraordinary scorelines, it is an understatement to say Mauricio Pochettino shows few signs of being distracted by talk of a move to Manchester United.
Since Jose Mourinho was dismissed, Spurs have won away at Arsenal and Everton, gone just two points behind Manchester City and suggested what seemed a two-horse title race could feature a third thoroughbred.
Tottenham’s 11th win in 13 games offered plenty of reasons to suggest why United should want Pochettino. They showed the spirit to recover from going a goal down and the quality to score six times.
They have assembled a formidable away record and a side shorn of summer signings have been enviably consistent. If some previous victories have been ground out, this was a statement of superiority, a clinical, classy performance.
Each of the stellar quartet of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen starred, and each scored. Tottenham were terrific.
But it continued a wretched run for Everton.
They have gone five games without a win. While their high defensive line was exposed and while they desperately missed Idrissa Gueye in a midfield lacking a natural tackler, individual mistakes have been a factor along with structural issues.
Jordan Pickford was culpable for the most comical and significant on Sunday. Everton were ahead at the time and ended up suffering their heaviest defeat under Marco Silva.
Yet it began auspiciously. Gylfi Sigurdsson supplied an incisive pass to send Dominic Calvert-Lewin scurrying in behind Tottenham’s defence. The striker’s selflessness sometimes counts against him, but here it benefited Everton. He cut the ball back for Theo Walcott and the former Arsenal winger scored against Spurs.
When the favour was returned and Calvert-Lewin headed in Walcott’s cross, referee Paul Tierney ruled the forward had pushed Toby Alderweireld.
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Then Pickford erred. Kane, dropping deeper into the No 10 position, lofted a pass forward, seemingly more in hope than expectation. Pickford left his box, suffered from a breakdown of communication with Kurt Zouma, and saw the ball fall to Son, who finished coolly from an acute angle.
After his Merseyside derby howler, permitting Divock Origi to score his injury-time winner, this was another fraught moment for Pickford.
Scorers against Arsenal on Wednesday, Son and Alli reprised the act with the Englishman rifling in the rebound after Pickford parried the South Korean’s shot. Then Kane latched on to the rebound after Kieran Trippier’s free kick came back off the base of the post as the man who created the most chances at the World Cup and its top scorer combined profitably again.
Spurs’ relentlessness was apparent again after Eriksen met Seamus Coleman’s clearance to hook in the fourth from the edge of the penalty area. Briefly, Everton hinted a revival as the former Spur Sigurdsson angled a shot in.
Yet then Erik Lamela, on for the injured Alli, pierced the Everton defence with a through ball for Son to round Pickford.
Then the irrepressible Son turned creator, crossing for Kane to score for the 150th time under Pochettino.
“We want seven,” came the chorus from their travelling fans. They also sent a message to Old Trafford, chanting: “He’s Tottenham, you know: Mauricio Pochettino.”
They must hope that remains the case.
Updated: December 23, 2018 10:07 PM