It was far from a classic performance from Tottenham Hotspur, though all they needed was one whiff of goal to down Everton at White Hart Lane on Sunday. The Toffees were the better side for large chunks of the match, though Emmanuel Adebayor's second-half strike from nowhere was enough for them to pick up an important three points in the fight for European football.
The opening exchanges all revolved around Leon Osman, who was arguably the most dangerous attacking threat through the entire first half. He curled a shot narrowly over the bar before forcing a superb diving save from Hugo Lloris, delighting in acres of space on the edge of the area. Spurs suffered under the Toffees' intense pressing, though just about managed to weather the early storm.
Going forward, the hosts struggled with a bizarre lack of width, despite unsurprisingly looking at their most threatening on the rare occasions they did stretch Everton's defence. Danny Rose's superb low delivery from out on the left flank produced their best opportunity of the first half, though Emmanuel Adebayor's leg wasn't quite long enough for him to make contact.
Spurs started the second half rather better than they had the first, though still lacking any central midfielders who could actually pass the ball, they failed to make their momentum count. That was until five minutes past the hour mark, when Adebayor wriggled free of the Everton defenders and slotted past Tim Howard, incredibly converting his side's very first shot on target.
Everton had lost their first-half zip, leading Roberto Martínez to throw on the Toffees' resident wonderkids Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu in a bid to liven proceedings. Alas they failed to see much of the ball, with Tim Sherwood having bolstered Spurs' midfield with the introduction of Étienne Capoue.
That proved to be enough for Spurs to withstand the late Everton surge, meaning they leapfrog them into fifth place in the table. It wasn't a great performance, but Tim Sherwood certainly won't care.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Rose, Vertonghen, Dawson, Walker; Dembélé, Bentaleb, Paulinho (Capoue 68'); Eriksen (Townsend 59'), Adebayor, Lennon (Defoe 86').
Goals: Adebayor (65').
Everton: Howard; Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman; Barry, McCarthy; Pienaar (Pienaar 63'), Osman (McGeady 73'), Mirallas; Naismith (Deulofeu 73').