Jack Harrison’s goal for Everton against Tottenham was “perfectly ok,” according to BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty.
The Toffees winger netted an equaliser in the Premier League clash at Goodison Park, with visiting goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario protesting that he was fouled in the build-up.
Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou felt his number one needed more protection from referee Michael Oliver, while Everton boss Sean Dyche denied they had deliberately targeted Vicario from set-pieces [Daily Mail, 3 February].
“This started with Manchester City’s winner in the FA Cup tie at Spurs when Vicario simply wasn’t strong enough when dealing with a corner and to say Everton took note of it was an understatement,” McNulty wrote for BBC Sport.
“Vicario was weak once again at Goodison Park, especially in the first half when Jack Harrison eventually got the final touch for Everton’s first goal.
“The Spurs keeper has looked outstanding this season but this looks like an Achilles heel that will be focused on ruthlessly by future opponents. Either Vicario has to work this out or Ange Postecoglou will have to find a way of working it out for him, maybe putting defenders around him.
“As for Postecoglou’s complaints, he can have none. Both City’s winner and Everton’s goal on Saturday were perfectly ok.”
Everton clinch huge point
Tottenham number one Vicario was undoubtedly the subject of Everton’s main tactics at Goodison Park on Saturday (3 February), with the goalkeeper constantly piled on during free-kicks and corners from the home side.
Dyche may have been forced to deny it, but that had to have been part of his game plan, with that plan definitely working.
Harrison tapped home to score his club’s first of the day from a corner, while Jarrad Branthwaite then rescued a point for the Toffees in stoppage time, this time from a free-kick.
It was a massive point for the Merseyside club, who looked for all the world that they were heading for another disappointing defeat.
But much to the majority of those inside the stadium, defensive star Branthwaite stepped up to head home an equaliser.
Everton do, however, remain in the Premier League relegation, but the well-earned point against high-flying Tottenham could prove crucial at the end of the campaign.