Draw leaves Tottenham to settle for fourth

Tottenham were denied a fourth successive Premier League top-three finish as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Everton.

Spurs could have finished as the best of the rest behind the incessant Manchester City and Liverpool if they had bettered Chelsea’s score at Leicester, but they had to make do with fourth position.

They needed a fine Christian Eriksen free-kick to earn a point in the 75th minute after quickfire goals from Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun had cancelled out Eric Dier’s early opener.

The point does at least guarantee Champions League football next season, regardless of what happens in Madrid when they take on Liverpool in the culmination of this season’s European Cup.

Spurs will be glad to see the back of the Premier League as they have limped over the line, with just three wins in their final 12 games.

But finishing in the top four, still with the prospect of winning a first-ever Champions League, has to be regarded as a fine achievement by Mauricio Pochettino’s side given the circumstances they have come up against this season.

Everton’s pursuit of seventh had ended last week and they face a summer of trying to find a way of breaking the top-six’s dominance.

This was the best Tottenham had started in the Premier League for some time and they were helped by going in front in only the third minute.

Dier was in the perfect place as a loose ball from Erik Lamela’s corner fell to him and he smashed home from six yards out.

Spurs were in complete control and could have gone further in front but Dele Alli fired just over from a good position on the edge of the area.

The biggest excitement Everton fans had was when they learned of Manchester City’s second goal at Brighton, putting them ahead of Liverpool for the title, but their team did improve as it went on and could have levelled before the break.

Bernard found himself in space at the far post and he fired in a low shot, but Hugo Lloris got down well to keep it out and the France goalkeeper made another stop from former Spurs midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.

There was a distinct end-of-season feel about the game, with fans from both sides getting most of their entertainment from Liverpool’s demise in the title race.

But the game burst into life with three goals in six second-half minutes.

Finally, Everton’s following had some goals of their own to cheer as they turned the game on its head in the space of three minutes.

They levelled in the 69th minute through an old adversary of Spurs as Walcott was found by Sigurdsson and the former Arsenal man cleverly guided the ball into the far corner.

Before they knew it the Toffees were in front as Tosun bundled the ball home after Michael Keane’s header from a corner had been cleared off the line.

Spurs were suddenly heading for a third successive defeat at their new home, but they quickly recovered through Eriksen.

The Dane, who had not enjoyed his best game, fired home a fine 25-yard free-kick into the bottom corner, picking the only spot that could beat Jordan Pickford.

That was the end of the excitement as Spurs registered just their second draw of the league campaign.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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