With 17 points apiece in the Premier League so far this season, clubs don’t get much closer than ninth-placed Everton and tenth-placed Tottenham, suggesting there’s tons of value in 12/5 about the draw when the pair clash at White Hart Lane.
However, it’s the away side who have made greater strides in recent years, and the Toffees’ emphasis on continuity and measured spending sees Roberto Martinez’s men on the verge of overtaking the Lilywhites as a top-flight force.
Spurs may have grabbed a spot in the Champions League, finished in the top four twice and won a League Cup over the past seven seasons, none of which Everton have managed, but constant upheaval has knocked the stuffing out of their long-term aspirations.
The bosses that achieved these feats, namely Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp, were fired at the first sign of trouble.
Martin Jol and Andre Villas-Boas were also handed their P45s, the latter eight months after missing out on a Champions League berth on the final day of the 2012/13 campaign.
While all this was going on, Everton stayed steadfastly behind old gaffer David Moyes, who led them to their only Premier League top-four finish in 2004/05, before struggling at the helm the following season.
Moyes would never have survived under ruthless Lilywhites supremo Daniel Levy if he’d have ended a term in 11th with Spurs, as he did with Everton in 2005/06, but Toffees owner Bill Kenwright stuck by the Glaswegian, who went on to claim four more top-five berths with the Merseysiders.
Kenwright was eventually rewarded with a seamless transition to Martinez when Moyes left for Manchester United in May 2013. Here are Everton’s vital statistics over the given timeframe.
What makes these numbers even more impressive is the fact that Everton’s net outlay during the last transfer window came in at a whopping £36.5m, almost £30m more than their next opponents during Mauricio Pochettino’s first summer at the helm.
In spite of that, Spurs have reportedly spent three-and-a-half times as much money on transfers since the end of 2006/07, but have gained just five more points.
That’s a very poor return from a club going backwards at a rate of knots. Everton are 6/4 to finish in the top six this term, with Spurs at 7/4. It’s all too obvious who rates the better bet.