Everton signalled their intent for Carlo Ancelotti’s first full season in charge as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s towering header earned their first win over Tottenham since 2012 in a 1-0 victory on Sunday.
Ancelotti has been heavily backed with the signings of James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan, and the Toffees looked a much-improved side on the one that finished 12th last season as they were thoroughly deserving winners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs are also hoping for an upturn in Jose Mourinho’s first full season as boss, but the hosts looked short on ideas as they slipped to a damaging home defeat for their aspirations of mounting a challenge to get back into the top four this season.
Everton settled the quicker with their new midfield trio helping to control possession, but it was on the counter-attack they wasted by far the best chance of the game. Richarlison intercepted Ben Davies’s wayward pass and accelerated past Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris before skewing high and wide with an open goal to aim at and Calvert-Lewin begging for a cut-back.
Son Heung-min was by far Spurs’ most dangerous attacking outlet in a performance otherwise lacking in inspiration going forward.
The South Korean’s teasing cross just evaded Harry Kane and the far post before he put Dele Alli in on goal and his shot forced a great save from fellow England international Jordan Pickford.
James curled his first sight of goal in an Everton shirt just wide, while at the other end Pickford stood up well again to deny Matt Doherty after Tottenham’s best move of the half saw the Irishman teed up by Kane’s dinked pass.
Everton surrendered meekly to a 1-0 defeat when they visited the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in July without mustering a meaningful shot on goal.
But the difference a few months and fresh faces can make was on show in the second half as they controlled the game to earn a first win over Spurs in 16 games.
Tottenham were given a few warnings before the only goal of the game arrived as James dragged a shot from inside the box wide before Richarlison mistimed his header at the back post from an inch-perfect James cross.
The opener arrived 10 minutes after the break as Calvert-Lewin rose highest to power Lucas Digne’s free-kick into the top corner.
Mourinho said on Friday he hopes to add another striker before the end of the transfer window to add some support to Kane, but any new arrival will need better service to work with as the England captain did not have an opportunity to get his side back on level terms.
Everton and Richarlison continued to enjoy all the chances as twice the Brazilian cut inside on his favoured right foot and curled efforts just beyond Lloris’s far post.
However, one goal was enough for a statement win for the visitors and the worst possible start for Tottenham ahead of a gruelling schedule as they face up to eight games in the Europa League, League Cup and Premier League in the next three weeks.