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Titans will clash: Sandro takes on Marouane Fellaini

Three wins from three and Spurs are currently fourth in the league. However, it’s the upcoming encounter away at Everton that will test the mettle of the squad and the strength in depth available to head coach Andre Villas-Boas. With the trip to Goodison Park looming, Nick Harris looks at where the battle will be won or lost. 

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It would be easy for this piece to degenerate into a stream of platitudes about these twin giants of the Premier League – in fact there’s every chance it will do – but hopefully there will be some interesting tactical points and statistics in there somewhere as well (absolutely no promises). This weekend see’s Tottenham Hotspur head to Everton on the back of three consecutive wins in a match-up that will give a good indication of the progress that the side has made in recent weeks.

Mousa Dembele is back, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey are showing glimpses of their form from last season, and Spurs will be without star man Gareth Bale, who was in no way jinxed into injury by my article last week. If Andre Villas-Boas’ side can nab a point or three at Goodison Park even without Bale, then Spurs will demonstrate a strength in depth that could be important in the second half of the season.

Central to our efforts on Sunday will be stopping Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian has been in wonderful form in the league this year, scoring eight goals and setting up four. Since he set up the equaliser against Liverpool on the 28th October, Fellaini has either assisted or scored every goal Everton have scored in the league (except for in the game against Norwich, when he was suspended).

That’s a run of nine goals in a row when he was on the pitch. I don’t want to say that if Spurs can stop Fellaini, they will stop Everton, but in short – if Spurs can stop Fellaini, they will stop Everton.

Hopefully, the North London side might have just the man to counter the Belgian. Sandro (AKA #sandrobeast) has been in incredible form himself in the heart of Spurs side. The brilliant Brazilian has made more interceptions and clearances than any other midfielder in the league, and has an 87% pass completion rate, which only drops to 85% in the final third. He also has an excellent small dog, plays the guitar and can kick comfortably higher than his head, though these facts will be less relevant on Sunday…unless it gets really ugly.

The prospect of these two going up against each other is certainly an enticing one, and the outcome of the match is likely to be heavily dependent on whether Fellaini can get the best of Sandro and our back four. Dembele will also no doubt be involved in the defensive work, but if Sandro can deal with the Everton star, it might give our very own Belgian superman the freedom to create chances at the other end, and perhaps notch his seventh win in seven starts.



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