Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s brilliant header ensured new-look Everton made a flying start to the Premier League season with victory at Tottenham.
Calvert-Lewin gave Hugo Lloris no chance after connecting with Lucas Digne’s in-swinging free-kick to earn the Toffees a first win over Spurs since 2012.
In a high-octane encounter, Jordan Pickford produced two excellent saves to keep out Dele Alli and Matt Doherty, who was making his debut after signing from Wolves.
But with new signing James Rodriguez in excellent form, Everton fully deserved their win after a hard-working performance.
Everton should have taken the lead in the early stages but Richarlison lost his footing after rounding Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris.
New-look Everton turn on the style
After Everton’s disappointing 12th place last season, their lowest position since 2003-04, Carlo Ancelotti has embarked on an ambitious rebuilding job, specifically targeting the midfield.
As well as Rodriguez, Brazil’s Allan and Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure have also been drafted in to provide energy and creativity in the engine room – and all three gave Ancelotti huge encouragement for the season ahead.
Rodriguez, in particular, stood out, with his quality passing and created five opportunities for his team-mates, the most by a player on their Premier League debut since Alexis Sanchez back in August 2014.
The Toffees could – and should – have won by a more handsome margin against a static Tottenham side short of ideas.
Rodriguez twice picked out Richarlison after half-time but the Brazilian, who wasted a great chance in the first half after sprinting past Toby Alderweireld and rounding Lloris, was unable to punish Spurs.
Allan, who played under Ancelotti at Napoli, was calm and composed as Everton looked rejuvenated after a poor 2019-20.
Pickford was commanding and his saves to keep out Alli and Doherty were crucial, with Ancelotti delighted with a clean-sheet win against a side that finished 10 points and six places above his side last season.
Flat start by Spurs
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was unhappy with Everton’s goal, claiming the free-kick which led to Calvert-Lewin’s winner was taken from the wrong place.
But over the 90 minutes, Spurs were distinctly second best and their lack of threat was summed up by the fact Harry Kane only touched the ball twice in Everton’s penalty area.
Son Heung-min was Spurs’ most threatening player, particularly in the first half when he set up chances for Kane and Alli.
Kane looked a shadow of the player who finished last season with five goals in three games while Alli, despite forcing a fine save from Pickford, was replaced at half-time.
Mourinho said before the game that he wanted a new striker before the transfer window closes next month and this performance will reinforce his need to strengthen the squad.
New signing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also started but was unable to have the same impact as Everton’s new additions.
Man of the match – James Rodriguez (Everton)
Head start – the stats
- Only Chris Wood (14) and Harry Kane (12) have scored more headed goals in the Premier League since the beginning of the 2017-18 campaign than Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin (11).
- Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has been defeated on the opening matchday of a league campaign for the first time in his managerial career.
- Everton have secured their first Premier League win in London in nine games.
- Only Pep Guardiola (4/4) can boast a better 100% winning ratio on the opening weekend of a Premier League season than Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti, who has won each of his three matches to kick-off an English top-flight season (also Frank Clark, 3).
- Since his Premier League debut in August 2018, only Andy Robertson (24) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (25) have registered more assists in the competition amongst all defenders than Everton left back Lucas Digne (12).
Both teams are in cup action in midweek. While Tottenham travel to Bulgaria in midweek to face Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the second qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday (17:00 BST), Everton host League Two Salford City on Wednesday in the second round of the Carabao Cup (20:15).
- 2DohertySubstituted forNdombeleat 76′minutes
- 5HøjbjergBooked at 85mins
- 8WinksSubstituted forBergwijnat 60′minutes
- 27Lucas Moura
- 20AlliSubstituted forSissokoat 45′minutes
- 7Son Heung-Min
- 6D Sánchez
- 21André GomesSubstituted forG Sigurdssonat 68′minutes
- 19RodríguezSubstituted forDaviesat 90+2′minutes
- 9Calvert-LewinSubstituted forKeanat 89′minutes
- 10G Sigurdsson
- 31Neves Virgínia
Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 0, Everton 1.
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 0, Everton 1.
Richarlison (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur).
Substitution, Everton. Tom Davies replaces James Rodríguez.
Substitution, Everton. Moise Kean replaces Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Richarlison (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur).
Attempt saved. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Abdoulaye Doucouré.
Attempt saved. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ben Davies with a cross.
Attempt blocked. Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Toby Alderweireld with a headed pass.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Séamus Coleman.
Attempt missed. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Son Heung-Min with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Allan.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur).
James Rodríguez (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur).
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Tanguy Ndombele replaces Matt Doherty.