Tottenham Hotspur-Everton Preview
LONDON (SE) - Everton will seek to protect their unbeaten home record in the Premier League on Sunday when Tottenham Hotspur are the visitors to Goodison Park.
The Toffees are also unbeaten at home to Spurs since 2007 and defender Phil Jagielka is determined to keep both streaks alive through the weekend fixture.
"We have done well at Goodison this year and we want to make it a hard place to come," he told the club website. "It is going to be difficult. Spurs are free-scoring at the moment and keeping clean sheets but they have not had the best of runs when they have come to Goodison before and we want to make sure they go home at the weekend with a similar feeling."
Nikica Jelavic scored his first goal for the club in the corresponding fixture last season but the previously prolific striker has managed just one goal in his last eight league games. However, Jagielka believes the form of Marouane Fellaini can keep the Toffees ticking over until Jelavic hits his stride again.
"Everything was working for him when he came and now the person who is playing up front with him; Felli, everything is coming off for him," he said. "Look up at Newcastle. Demba Ba was on fire then Papiss Cisse came and Ba didn't score. This season it is the opposite way round. That is the way cycles go.
"He knows we're supporting him and he'll get frustrated on the days it doesn't happen but we know he'll come good. And, at the moment, we're doing okay without his goals so when he does hit the ground running again he'll make us even stronger."
Spurs (8-2-5) come into the match on a four-game winning streak in all competitions, including a 3-1 win over Panathinaikos to secure progression in the Europa League.
Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson missed the Europa tie with hamstring injuries. Scott Parker (Achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul (both knee) are all longer-term absences.
Spurs defender Kyle Walker is confident his side will do well at Everton, although he admits it will be a challenging trip to Merseyside.
"Ever since I've played in the Premier League, Everton is always one of the tough games," Kyle told the club website. "They've good players, lots of internationals and it will be difficult. Marouane Fellaini is a real handful. He's mobile for a big guy, gets the ball down and they go through him.
"But our centre-backs Jan (Vertonghen) and Steven (Caulker) are fantastic and hopefully if we can keep a clean sheet then Jermain (Defoe), Ade (Emmanuel Adebayor) or Clint (Dempsey) can go and get us a goal. If we continue playing how we've been playing and those three keep scoring, then we've got every chance."
Everton (5-8-2) will be without team captain Phil Neville (knee) for the match and also have to do without Kevin Mirallas and Victor Anichebe (hamstrings).
The home side prevailed in both Premier League meetings last season. Jelavic 's goal was the lone strike in a 1-0 Everton win at Goodison. Goals from Aaron Lennon in the first half and Assou-Ekotto just past the hour mark gave Spurs the win in the return fixture at White Hart Lane. Everton failed to record a shot on target in that match.
There hasn't been an away winner in the last eight contests between the two in all competitions, going back to a 1-0 Everton victory in November 2008.
After winning four of their first six games, Everton has just one win in their last nine league contests, a 2-1 victory over Sunderland.
Only the two Manchester sides have amassed more than the 12 points Spurs have taken on their travels. Tottenham's 15 goals away from home is the second most of any Premier League side this season (behind Manchester United, 18) and going back to last season, Spurs have scored in nine straight away matches.