Sunday 23rd December 2018

Everton 2 Spurs 6

Spurs underlined their credentials as title contenders with a pulsating 6-2 victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Renault Super Sunday.

Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane both scored twice in a devastating display of finishing from Mauricio Pochettino’s side, which was capped by a stunning 20-yard volley from Christian Eriksen.

Dele Alli was also on the scoresheet as Spurs consolidated third spot by moving five points clear of Chelsea, and closed the gap to leaders Liverpool and Manchester City to six and two points respectively.

Theo Walcott had given Everton the lead on 21 minutes while Gylfi Sigurdsson momentarily threatened to spark a comeback when his second-half strike made it 4-2, but the Toffees, who remain in 11th place, conceded six in the league at home for the first time since August 2014.

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Spurs edged the opening exchanges but fell behind against the run of play as Sigurdsson capitalised on some hesitant defending and played the ball forward to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose ball into the near post was dispatched by Walcott from 10 yards.

Everton were harshly denied a quick-fire second as Calvert-Lewin’s brilliant header into the far corner was chalked off after he was adjudged to have pushed Davinson Sanchez.

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Heung-Min Son put Spurs 5-2 up with his second goal of the game
Things took a turn for the worse shortly after as Everton gift wrapped Spurs their equaliser. Jordan Pickford unnecessarily raced off his line to clear a ball that Kurt Zouma was dealing with, the pair collided and Son fired into the unguarded net from a tight angle.

One became two for Spurs on 35 minutes when Alli reacted quickest to convert a rebound after Pickford failed to parry a Son shot away from danger, and it was not long until Kane got in on act, stroking Tottenham’s third into the net after a Kieran Trippier free-kick came back off the post.

A sumptuous volley from Eriksen just three minutes into the second half took Spurs’ tally to four. Sigurdsson pulled one back for the Toffees with a well-taken effort on 51 minutes, but Spurs quickly extinguished any hopes of an Everton revival.

Substitute Erik Lamela threaded Son, who was borderline offside, through on goal, and the South Korean slotted his second past Pickford.

Kane scored twice against Everton for the fourth consecutive game
Having got his second, Son turned provider on 74 minutes as he crossed from the left for Kane to convert his second and confirm a miserable afternoon for Everton.

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Spurs have won nine of their 11 Premier League away games this season  only in three completed seasons in the competition have they won more (10 in 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2017-18).
2018-19 is the first top-flight season to see at least three clubs amass 40+ points by Christmas (Liverpool 48, Man City 44, Spurs 42) since the 1985-86 campaign.
This was the third time Everton conceded six goals in a Premier League home game, with all of those coming against London clubs (1-6 vs Arsenal in August 2009, 3-6 vs Chelsea in August 2014).
This was the fourth time Spurs have scored 6+ goals in a Premier League away game, with three of those coming in the last three seasons, and twice against a side managed by Marco Silva.

Seahawks 38 Chief 31

Nobody took Hawks seriously three months ago. Everyone should now.
Inside the final offensive drive that secured a playoff berth for the Seahawks
“There were many people that thought we could not do this … and we did it before the season is over,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s a magnificent feeling that we can go play anybody anywhere.”

Given the roster overhaul during the offseason, sewing up a playoff berth by their 15th game seemed impossible for the Seahawks. Most of the legends that defined their Super Bowl runs had departed, and in Week 4, Earl Thomas went down with a season-ending injury.

But after that 38-31 victory over the Chiefs, they don’t just look like a team that belongs in the playoffs — they look like a group that could beat any of the other 11 teams that join them there.

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Sunday, the Seahawks played what might have been their best game since beating the Patriots in Foxboro two years ago. They had their way with Kansas City on offense, contained MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes on defense.

This wasn’t a case of the Chiefs own-goaling themselves or getting robbed by the officials. This was a case of Seattle manhandling its foe in front of the whole nation.

“People thought we were going to be dead in the water, and I was like ‘No, we got a lot of young guys.’ We wanted to make a name for ourselves,” said Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson. “That was on display tonight.”

If there was ever an ode to “Seahawks football” — which is to control the game on the ground and win the turnover battle — it took place at CenturyLink Field. Seattle racked up 210 rushing yards and recovered two fumbles while never giving the ball away.

Russell Wilson was his usually efficient self — completing 18 of 29 passes for 271 yards and throwing three touchdowns. And Doug Baldwin racked up a season-high 126 receiving yards, 29 of which came on a one-handed catch in the fourth quarter that put the Seahawks on the Chiefs’ 1.

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But Sunday was about more than the result of one game — it was the culmination of something almost nobody outside of the Seahawks’ locker room expected.

Before this season began, writers had to study the Seahawks’ roster the way players do playbooks. With Richard Sherman, Cliff Avril, Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett all gone, the team was borderline unrecognizable.

That missing talent was particularly salient early in the season, as Seattle began 0-2 with defeats against Denver and Chicago. And after Thomas broke his leg against the Cardinals, you couldn’t blame any fans who immediately started thinking about next season.

But then something happened. A running game that was MIA in the two previous seasons blossomed into the best in the league. A secondary tasked with replacing the Legion of Boom started stifling some of the top passing attacks in the NFL.

A quarterback who Carroll said was trying too hard early in the first two weeks went on what might be the best 13-game stretch of his career.

And now they’re here. In the playoffs. Who would have thought?

“We showed people that anything is possible,” said Seahawks receiver David Moore. “We showed that anything that can happen as long as you fight and play with your brothers.”

Seattle didn’t have to beat the Chiefs to make the playoffs. A victory against the Cardinals next Sunday would have ensured a spot in the postseason.

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But the Seahawks haven’t been very kind to prognosticators this year. Expect them to do one thing, and they’ll typically do the other.

Baldwin wasn’t on that injury report, but he did take some shots from the Kansas City defense Sunday night. Asked how he was feeling after the game, he spoke the truth.

“Pretty banged up. It was a rough game,” Baldwin said.

Then came a grin.

“But we’re in the playoffs, so I’ll be good.”

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