Premier League - Spurs draw with Everton
Sat, 23 Oct 14:42:00 2010
Leighton Baines opened the scoring with his first goal since January on 17 minutes, before Van der Vaart levelled just three minutes later to continue his excellent scoring run of five goals in four appearances at the home of his new club.
The Dutchman missed Spurs' 4-3 Champions League defeat at Internazionale in midweek, and his return proved showed just how indispensible he has become for the Londoners since arriving from Real Madrid on transfer deadline day.
Both sides were missing key men - Spurs were without Ledley King and Tom Huddlestone while Everton had to deal with the loss of playmaker Mikel Arteta - but the match was still an open and entertaining one.
Nigerian striker Ayegbeni Yakubu looked reinvigorated in Everton's 2-0 win over Liverpool last weekend, and he was canny enough to draw a foul from Younes Kaboul on the edge of the box, and Baines curled an unstoppable set-piece strike over the wall and into the top corner, giving Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes no chance.
Peter Crouch may be yet to score in the league this season, but his blossoming partnership with Van der Vaart is the reason why Spurs boss Harry Redknapp continues to field him over Roman Pavlyuchenko.
That pairing bore fruit again on 20 minutes when Tim Howard inexplicably flapped at an Alan Hutton cross, and Crouch nodded down for his Dutch team-mate to finish from inside the six-yard box.
Both sides maintained their threat, but it was Tottenham who had the better chances in the run-up to half-time. Luka Modric - wearing the captain's armband - fired a low strike wide after earlier forcing a decent low save from Howard, while Crouch headed right at the American keeper in stoppage time.
After picking up an early booking, Wilson Palacios was replaced at half-time by Sandro for Spurs, and the Brazilian contributed to the second half lacking the same fluidity and amount of chances.
David Moyes swapped Louis Saha for Yakubu, before Redknapp introduced Pavlyuchenko for the off-colour Aaron Lennon, but chances to win the match were at a premium.
Crouch drilled a strike from the edge of the area right at Howard, just before Tim Cahill - who often cut a lonely figure in the absence of Arteta - flashed a shot wide of the target from a similar distance.
Van der Vaart and Saha both had strikes blocked in stoppage time, but by then a draw looked firmly on the cards.Tony Mabert / Eurosport