Carlo Ancelotti has fixed a major Everton issue to hand Jose Mourinho an opening day headache


Everton are back in the capital on Sunday afternoon just over two months since their last visit to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Losing 1-0 against Jose Mourinho’s men last time out thanks to a Michael Keane own goal midway through the first half, Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping for a much better performance as the new season kicks off.

Seen as a team who could push for the top six 12 months ago following the permanent arrival of Andre Gomes and the signing of Moise Kean from Juventus as well as others, the Toffees finished the season in 12th, 10 points behind Spurs in the last European spot.

Adding to the squad was a necessity for Ancelotti and the Italian has finally managed to do so in the week leading up to the trip to north London.

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Allan was the first to arrive for a fee in the region of £22m as the midfielder joined from Napoli, with the Blues pulling off a big coup on Monday evening as James Rodriguez finally signed on the dotted line from Real Madrid.

The signing of Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure was then finalised 24 hours later as Everton made a real statement in the transfer market.

The trio drastically improve Everton’s midfield options and, providing they all start, they could give Mourinho and Spurs an opening day headache.

It was all rather too easy for the Lilywhites in their last meeting between the sides as the visitors really struggled to lay a glove on them.

Mourinho alluded to that in his post-match press conference by admitting that the game always felt “under control” even when the Toffees were in possession.

“The performance was very solid,” he said. “I don’t know if you had the same feeling I had on the bench, but my feeling was the game was under control.

“I never felt that the game was not under control. Even in the moments when they had the ball we felt very comfortable defensively.”

Everton’s midfield back in July didn’t exactly scream out creativity and, if anything, was their weak point as Spurs came out on top rather too easily.

Andre Gomes at the time was still trying to recapture his previous form after the horrific ankle injury he sustained in the reverse fixture back in November, with Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson way off their best for months.

It’s all change now at Goodison Park and the midfield Ancelotti is likely to line up with against Spurs will give the hosts a number of issues.

Allan is the man who will try and stop the Lilywhites playing by breaking up play and getting his team moving forward, with Doucoure a powerful, box-to-box midfielder who can really punish teams with his strong running.

Everton then have Rodriguez who can not only tee up chances for Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin due to his vision and eye for a pass, but can also find the back of the net on a regular basis.

Spurs themselves will also more than likely field a new midfield following the summer addition of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

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The Dane has caught the eye for the team in pre-season so far and he could very well turn out to be a big player for Mourinho given he can cover plenty of ground and also operate in the troublesome holding role.

It’s a question of who plays alongside him in midfield on Sunday though as Giovani Lo Celso has yet to feature for the team in pre-season and Harry Winks withdrew from the England squad for their UEFA Nations League games.

While the duo could potentially be back and fit to play, Moussa Sissoko will be pushing for a starting spot as well after playing a regular role under Mourinho since his November appointment.

It really is going to be a key battle in midfield on Sunday if Ancelotti unleashes his three new signings and it certainly won’t be so comfortable and straightforward for Tottenham as it was at the start of July.





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