Tottenham are becoming 'inevitable' as Everton exploit biggest weakness

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

The long wait for VAR produced a painful result for Tottenham at Goodison Park. Jarrad Branthwaite’s 94th-minute header was rightly ruled onside, earning Everton an equaliser that Spurs simply never should have allowed.

Every team wants their most in-form player to be their striker, and it just so happens that Tottenham are living that reality with Richarlison at the moment.

The problem at Goodison was the chances squandered late on by the likes of James Maddison, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Timo Werner. If others had been even half as confident as Richarlison in front of goal, Spurs would be level on points with second-place Manchester City and third-place Arsenal.

Instead, their misses gave Everton continued hope and afforded them the chance to pinch a point. Branthwaite’s header was the eighth goal Spurs had conceded after the 90-minute park this season. No side has let in more this term, and this is Tottenham’s worst season of the Premier League era for shipping late goals.

"I think we needed another goal," manager Ange Postecoglou said after the game. "Especially because in the last 10 minutes it's almost inevitable."

Jarrad Branthwaite celebrates his late equaliser (Getty Images)
Jarrad Branthwaite celebrates his late equaliser (Getty Images)

Postecoglou will be frustrated not just at the two points dropped but at how discussion after this match will now revolve around Tottenham’s fragility, rather than a focus on the outstanding finishing of Richarlison.

It took the Brazilian just four minutes to become the first former Everton player in history to score both home and away in a single season against them. Werner played Destiny Udogie through, who pulled back for Richarlison to instinctively sweep high into the net.

And just before half-time, he received a pass from Maddison and curled a fine shot into the top corner, making it nine goals in his last eight Premier League games. Some form for a player whose ruthlessness in front of goal was questioned at the beginning of the season.

Tottenham were breezing through games back then, with Richarlison struggling. Now those roles have reversed. No doubting whether he can lead the line effectively now.

Apart from poor finishing from other players, there was not a huge amount to be concerned about from Postecoglou’s perspective. Micky van de Ven, for example, showed his immense recovery pace on a number of occasions to make up ground, slide in, and avert danger.

But it was alarming how just a week after Guglielmo Vicario’s flapping from a corner brought Manchester City their late winner in the FA Cup, Everton targeted the goalkeeper from corners and were vindicated for doing so.

Vicario was pushed and barged and dominated by Everton players whenever they had a chance to whip in a corner. From one in the 30th minute, the Italian thought he had pushed clear, only for James Tarkowski to head back across goal and Jack Harrison to convert from close range.

From another set piece, this time a free-kick, Branthwaite stole Everton a draw in stoppage time. Plenty to ponder for a Tottenham team well-oiled in some areas but still too weak in others.