COMMENT By Harvey Byrne
Ronald Koeman’s former players Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld could be the key to stopping Everton in Tottenham’s Premier League opener on Saturday.
The two defensive players enjoyed great success under the recently appointed Toffees manager at Southampton before their moves to White Hart Lane and they could provide headaches to their ex-boss for the Goodison Park clash.
The defensive midfielder linked up with the centre-back during the 2014-15 season and the two helped the St Marys club keep an impressive defensive record.
Wanyama and Alderweireld were integral to Koeman’s side conceding just 33 goals in their 38-game Premier League season, earning the club the second best defensive tally in England’s top-flight by conceding just one more than champions Chelsea.
The two players split last season, but they still maintained good defensive records in their respective sides with Southampton conceding just 35 goals in Wanyama’s 30 Premier League appearances, while Tottenham also conceded just 35 in the 38 matches in which Alderweireld played in.
Another obstacle for Koeman will be that main goal threat Romelu Lukaku is expected to miss the clash at Goodison Park through injury, with winger Gerard Deulofeu lined up to lead the attack.
Ex-Spurs winger Aaron Lennon, Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas could struggle to hold the ball up the pitch against the Tottenham back line with the powerful striker expected to miss out.
However, Deulofeu is a completely different forward to Lukaku and his mobility and low centre of gravity up against Alderweireld and Vertonghen could cause more problems than the Belgium international’s brawn and pace.
Koeman will know what his club will be facing lining up against the Tottenham duo, but they could come back to haunt him.
In other Tottenham team news, Robbie Savage has predicted Spurs to finish above Arsenal.