Antonio Conte’s first league match in charge of Tottenham ended in frustration after a charged up Everton held Spurs to a full-blooded 0-0 draw.
Tottenham started the brighter of the two sides, though determined last-ditch defending prevented any clear sights of goal in the first 20 minutes. In fact, the most notable incident in the early stages at Goodison Park centred on Son Heung-min and Ben Godfrey.
The defender has three goes at the South Korean in the challenge, with his final attempt resulting in his studs making contact with Son’s midriff. Despite the Spurs attacker’s vehement protestations, the referee deemed no foul play had occurred.
Spurs began to build pressure mid-way through the half, and crafted their first major chance when both wingbacks combined.
Sergio Reguilon broke free down the left before whipping a teasing cross to the far post. Emerson Riyal ghosted in unchecked but lacked composure when ballooning a free header over the bar.
Everton steadied their ship and turned to Demarai Gray in search of an attacking spark. The in-form winger troubled Spurs’ backline with a series of driving runs and saw a penalty appeal waved away after being felled by Oliver Skipp.
Neither side lacked for effort and desire as the half wore on. And fortunately for Everton, Tottenham lacked end product when Reguilon blazed a fantastic chance wide on the stroke of half-time.
Antonio Conte spent the first half of his opening league game as Spurs boss seriously frustrated at their inability to transition quickly, switch play, have any consistent build-up or create much.
Everton have been stronger in duels, but are short of quality in the final third
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) November 7, 2021
Despite his wayward effort, the Argentine wingback was proving Tottenham’s biggest threat. Reguilon continued to provide an outlet down the left after the break as Seamus Coleman struggled to keep a lid on his lively opponent.
Ben Davies marauded forward from left centre-back and whistled a fearsome drive just past the post. With an hour played, the scores remained 0-0.
But as the match entered it’s final third, it was the home side who were looking the likelier to break the stalemate.
Richarlison thought he’d won a penalty after drawing contact from Hugo Lloris when rounding the keeper. Referee Chris Kavanagh awarded a spot-kick but reversed his decision after a brief VAR review.
That raised the noise levels of the Goodison faithful who felt aggrieved at the entire series of events. Richarlison had in fact picked himself up and was poised to regain possession in the initial incident before the referee’s whistle stopped play.
The Brazilian looked a man possessed and had his touch been better after springing the offside trap, a golden opportunity to test Lloris would have been created.
Lucas Digne and Tom Davies combined well down the left before the Frenchman fired a teasing low cross across the face of goal. Gray prodded at the ball but couldn’t find the required touch to trouble Lloris.
Substitute Giovani Lo Celso came close to winning it late when curling a sublime effort onto the post.
But it wasn’t to be as Tottenham and Everton played out a frantic 0-0 draw despite Mason Holgate’s late red card for catching Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in his follow-through.