Everton are unbeaten in three, their best start to a Premiership season since 1993, but their manager David Moyes will not be talking up their chances in the run-up to the forthcoming Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. With no Premiership programme next weekend, the city of Liverpool has a fortnight to mull over Everton's chances of avoiding a fourth consecutive defeat against their rivals.
Everton's self-assurance before their last game against Liverpool proved spurious - they lost 3-1 at Anfield in March - so Moyes is not getting carried away this time. Such level-headedness is impressive, considering Moyes has just witnessed his side defeat potential challengers for a Champions' League place despite being down to 10 men for an hour.
Moyes had further excuse for bravado because this result was Everton's first win at White Hart Lane since a 1-0 success exactly 21 years before this game. It is unimaginable that Liverpool will be as spineless as Tottenham were here, though. "We were confident the last time so I'm not going to say too much," Moyes said, before pointing out that Liverpool are even tougher opposition now than they were last season. "Liverpool are probably going to contest the championship this year."
One thing that this game will have taught Moyes is that 4-5-1 may not be such a bad idea after all. Moyes had experimented with two up front in the opening two matches this season, but Andy Johnson appears capable of operating effectively in the top flight as a lone striker, with Tim Cahill providing a flexible link between midfield and attack.
Johnson played the role of a solitary striker well at Crystal Palace, learning how to maximise space despite his less than imposing stature, and he showed a similar knack against Tottenham. Johnson still looked a threat in the 4-4-1 set-up that Everton had to operate after Kevin Kilbane received a second booking for a second reckless challenge on Lee Young Pyo in the 33rd minute.
Johnson's skill and persistence earned a free-kick in dangerous territory, as Benoît Assou-Ekotto brought him down, and that was the source of Everton's opening goal. Mikel Arteta whipped the ball in nicely and Calum Davenport could only steer the ball into his own goal after a Joleon Lescott header.
Johnson's eye for goal was as sharp as ever when he dashed into the narrow gap between Tottenham's centre-backs to convert Phil Neville's cross and effectively put this game out of Tottenham's reach.
The home side did work hard but there are signs that their slack show against Bolton was no one-off. Tottenham's manager, Martin Jol, had a difficult team talk to give afterwards, admitting there were fingers of blame being pointed by players at each other. "I said, 'You are a young team, you gave everything. You don't have to blame'. Sometimes one or two players like to start talking."
Goals: Davenport og (53); Johnson (66).
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Robinson; Lee (Defoe, 59), Dawson, Davenport, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Jenas, Davids, Tainio (Zokora, 74); Keane, Berbatov. Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Stalteri, Gardner.
Everton (4-5-1): Howard; Neville, Lescott (Weir, 83), Yobo, Naysmith; Osman, Cahill, Arteta, Carsley, Kilbane; Johnson. Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Hibbert, Beattie, McFadden
Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).
Booked: Tottenham Dawson; Everton Kilbane.
Sent off: Kilbane (33).
Man of the match: Arteta.
Attendance: 35,540.Reuse content