With just four Premier League opening-day victories this century, Tottenham Hotspur are nobody’s idea of a 7/5 sure thing away to Everton, but the hosts’ disappointing summer so far has given cause for optimism in north London.
New Goodison Park gaffer Ronald Koeman took a swipe at predecessor Roberto Martinez when admitting his new charges were only at ‘70%’ of the fitness levels the Dutchman believes is required in the Premier League, despite bringing the players back a few days early from post-season holiday.
Koeman has also introduced changes to the timing schedule at training, getting the Toffeemen in earlier than they were required to under Martinez, as well as stringently regulating their diets, yet fitness concerns aren’t the only issues facing the former Southampton chief.
The £47.5m Everton received from Manchester City has bolstered Koeman’s already-ample funds, but players don’t appear to be buying into the project on Merseyside.
Centre-half Ashley Williams has been signed for £12m to replace Stones, while midfielder Idrissa Gueye (relegated last year with woeful Aston Villa) and goalie Maarten Stekelenburg (no appearances since January) are the only other signings for a club that has finished 11th in the past two seasons.
No doubt Koeman was given assurances by Everton, upon leaving his comfortable perch at the helm of last season’s sixth-placed side Saints, that money was available to mould his own team, but rumours of £50m-plus moves for the likes of Julian Draxler and Kalidou Koulibaly have so far come to nought.
His fellow former St Mary’s chief Mauricio Pochettino has hardly been any more active since the transfer window reopened, but after only being edged out of second place on the last day of the 2015/16 campaign, Spurs didn’t need a lot of improving.
The Lilywhites’ £28m spend so far looks sound, with Victor Wanyama an £11m bargain thanks to the Kenyan entering the last year of his Southampton contract, and £17m striker Vincent Janssen joining off the back of a 27-goal Eredivisie campaign last term.
Furthermore, while Spurs’ opening-day record may be poor overall, they have started with wins in two of the past three campaigns, while Everton haven’t managed such a victory since August 2012.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.