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Crystal Palace (A) Sat 31 Jan 2015, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

A Rare Opening Day Opponent

by Andy Lewis @efc_andylewis

Despite being mainstays of top-flight football, Everton and Spurs have not been regular opponents on the opening day of the season.

In fact, in the post-war era, the sides have only met three times for a league curtain-raiser.

The bad news for the Blues is that they haven’t beaten Spurs in their opening match since 1914.

The last time the fixture computer threw the sides together was at the start of the 2002/03 season where goals from Mark Pembridge and Tomasz Radzinski earned Everton a 2-2 home draw.

That was their first opening day meeting in almost 20 years, following a 4-1 defeat to Spurs at Goodison on August 25, 1984. Adrian Heath got the goal that day and the Blues of course had the small consolation of going on to lift the title.

The last time Everton visited Spurs on the opening day was back in 1960 and culminated in a 2-0 defeat. And going back even further, a Dixie Dean goal earned the Blues a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane in August 1934.

The Blues first home game this season pits them against newly-promoted QPR – a side they have not faced in the league since the Londoners were relegated from the top-flight in 1996.

The games that season went with home advantage with Graham Stuart and Paul Rideout giving Everton a 2-0 win at Goodison and John Ebbrell on target in a 3-1 defeat at Loftus Road.

Next season’s fixtures also throw up a Boxing Day trip to Sunderland. That represents a repeat of the 2009/10 season when Marouane Fellaini earned the Blues a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.

There is also a last day home game against Newcastle, who were beaten 3-1 at Goodison on the final day of the 2007/08 campaign.    

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