|OPPONENTS||Burnley at Turf Moor|
|DATE||Saturday 23rd February 2019|
When Spurs arrive at Turf Moor, they will find a Burnley side
waiting who have picked up their form in recent weeks following a
tough first half of the season, tainted by a Europa League campaign
that started back in the summer. It took it's toll on their
squad, which was bolstered by the signing of Ben Gibson from
Middlesbrough, but he has hardly featured all season. Joe Hart
also came in with injury hitting To Heaton and Nick Pope among their
goalkeepers. Boosting the strikers Sean Dyche brought in Matej
Vydra in the summer and Peter Crouch in January, although the former
Spurs forward's arrival was part of a swap deal that took Sam Vokes
to Stoke City.
The struggles that the Turfites suffered early in the season have just started to be turned around, although the club still teeter on the brink of the relegation zone, just three points ahead of third bottom Southampton. Dyche's side are now on a run of seven games unbeaten, with vital wins against teams around them in the table, which has lifted them up to 15th place. They have got away with a bit lately, with a penalty decision not given to Brighton and then Burnley breaking away to score to help them to another three points, but their resilience cannot be doubted an they have scored a couple of late goals in the last three games, most notably helping get a creditable 2-2 at Old Trafford against the rejuvenated Manchester United.
Much of their attacking focus is aimed at Ashley Barnes, who has been playing well this season, with Chris Wood also chipping in with goals. Two strong players on the ball and in the air, they are experienced campaigners, so the addition of Crouch to add a different dimension to their aerial attack (not demeaning his ability with the ball at his feet, as we are well aware). Vydra is more suited to breaking beyond the defence and has many years with Watford and Derby County under his belt, whereas youngster Dwight McNeil has hit the ground running, being introduced by the manager to add some invention to the forward line.
With Tom Heaton now recovered form his injury, he has regained the gloves and is performing well. A very good shot-stopper, he has been showing his ability after Hart was dropped for some shaky performances. They have taken a few batterings this season at the hands of Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton. The defence has been given a roasting and Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee and Charlie Taylor have made up their back four for the majority of the season, with Phil Bardsley also involved. Tarkowski and Mee have not been the rocks at the heart of the defence that hey were last season and the full backs are not as young as they were, so have lacked a little in pace.
The midfield has been a problem area for Sean Dyche. Jack Cork has been a regular, but Aaron Lennon, Jeff Hendrick, Steven Defour, Johann Bergmundsson, Ashley Westwood and Robbie Brady have all alternated in that part of the team, without having a settled unit. All are hard-working, with Defour able to add a bit of class when he is fit and Brady good at set-pieces, but they might find themselves over-run if Pochettino plays a four in midfield, with Eriksen floating. Especially as Jan has now found a new role as a marauding left-wingback.
The game will be harder than we might have expected a few weeks ago, but having said that Burnley came to Wembley set up to waste time and defend to within an inch of their lives. The inch was the last minute and that was when they were finally beaten, due much to the time added on for time-wasting.
Burnley will be without our former favourite Lennon, Defour and Jonathan Walters, but Bergmundsson and Brady are in the squad after missing time out injured. Spurs welcome back Harry Kane and Ben Davies, so who has the btter deal out of that ? With games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Dortmund coming up in the next week and a bit, there will be some consideration of what lies ahead in Pochettino's selection, but with Dele Alli not far off fitness, there may be a strong spine to the side.
Playing at home, the onus is on Burnley to make the play, especially with points vital to them with the tail-end of the season closing in. That could free up some space for Spurs to operate in and the key will be getting after Burnley early on to try and take the lead, which will bring Burnley out to look for goals, which until recently had been their Achilles heel. They are a threat, especially from dead ball situations, so the defence will need to be alert and defend better against corners and free-kicks.
If Poch picks both Son and
Moura, they will give the home defenders a tough time, as direct
running at them might pull them out of position. I think there
will be goals at both ends and another tight contest in terms of the
final score-line will hopefully see Spurs close the gap on the top
|PREDICTION||Burnley 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Premier League||Kick off 12:30|
Tottenham Hotspur 1 (0)
Wood 56m 08s
Kane 64m 47s
|Crowd : 21,338||Weather : Bright, sunny|
|Referee : Mike Dean (Wirral)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Ian Hussin; Mr. Dan Robothan|
|Fourth Official : Craig Pawson|
|Burnley kicked off and played towards the David Fishwick stand in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 6 minutes.|
Bardsley (foul on Rose) 72
Llorente (dissent) 65
Foyth (foul on Wood) 69
Lamela (dissent) 86
|Burnley :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Jeff HENDRICK (12
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Erik LAMELA 76
|Manager : Sean Dyche||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : LaBa 360||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Puma||Kit Supplier : Nike|
With Liverpool meeting Manchester United on Sunday, this was the ideal opportunity to close that gape between us and the top two, but Sean Dyche's side bullied Spurs into defeat to continue their best run of results in the top flight since 1966 with a 2-1 win at Turf Moor It wasn't helped by another arrogant performance from Mike Dean, but there was a lack of urgency in much of Tottenham's play, which was odd considering the squad had the longest break between games for a while and there was the added boost of Harry Kane's return.
The sun shone down on the Lancashire town as Brnley kicked off. Within a couple of minutes, Lloris was brought into action when a corner swung in under his crossbar. He had to reach up and backwards to turn it over the top as he didn’t know that the whistle was going to be blown by referee Mike Dean.
Danny Rose was getting space on the left, with a cross into the six yard box that Heaton had to take on the ground, just ahead of Kane and then when Spurs switched the next move from right to left, he struck a shot that came off Bardsley and left him winded. The wind was playing a part, as McNeil put a high cross in that Lloris was under pressure from Wood, as it came down from a great height almost under the bar again, but it had already gone out for a goal-kick.
Referee Mike Dean was once more proving he isn’t a Spurs fan, when Barnes tussled with Foyth, the free-kick went in the home team’s favour despite the Argentine defender’s shirt was ripped down the front. It took a quarter of an hour to see Harry Kane with the ball at his feet in front of goal and his run across the face of the penalty area from right to left saw him shoot at goal, but it was wide of Heaton’s right-hand post.
Burnley were trying to intimidate Spurs, with physical contact after every time a Spurs player went past them. The shout of “Get into ‘em” that came from the Burnley crowd wasn’t entirely necessary in view of what was going on out on the pitch.
Son almost performed a
scrunched up overhead kick from Sissoko’s cross and then was knocked
down off the ball with Dean standing next to him but doing nothing.
Burnley were “leaving something” on Spurs players with every
challenge and this made the game scrappy with no passing moves being
allowed to produce much in the penalty areas.
The match had reached a
stage where the home crowd had gone strangely silent and the shouts
of the players could be clearly heard. Only the odd shout of
handball every time a Tottenham player kicked it broke the peace and
quiet of the Lancashire afternoon. Well, that and Dean’s whistle
giving Burnley bewildering free-kick decisions. The biggest cheers
for the home side came when the ball was played back to Hugo Lloris
Hendrick drove a shot across Lloris and wide of the far post from their right and then Vertonghen blocked a shot with 15 minutes remaining. Hugo had to be in the right place when a shot was blocked and went to McNeil, who struck a shot from the left of centre in the area, forcing Lloris into a block with his leg from 12 yards out. Then, seven minutes from time, it happened. Wood tried to cut in from the left by lifting the ball over Aurier’s head, but Serge cleared the bouncing ball to about 30 yards out. Cork touched it to substitute Bergmundsson, who moved forward and shot at goal. The effort would have gone well wide, as he dragged it with a scuffed shot, but it ran kindly for Burnley, right in front of Barnes, just five yards out and all he had to do was put it into the net in front of him. It wasn’t the ideal situation for Spurs, but Burnley had been pressing and you have to give some credit to Dyche for making two attacking substitutions rather than just trying to sit on a point, which is what they tried to do at Wembley from the kick off.
They kept trying to move forward and Spurs only had one real chance, when a cleared cross dropped to Eriksen right on the top of the D, but he smashed it high over the bar. Banging high balls into the box didn’t serve Spurs well, as Burnley were well-versed at dealing with that and when a cross did find a Tottenham head, it was Lamela’s. His header was on target, but lacked much conviction and was straight at Heaton.
The game petered out with Burnley trying to keep the ball in the corners, unsuccessfully, but it prevented Spurs getting the ball upfield. During the match, Spurs got plenty of crosses into the box, but very few found a white shirt on the end of them and it went a long a long way to explaining why we didn't threaten the Burnley goal too much. Kane did force a flying stop by Heaton, but the other efforts on goal by the team didn't over-stretch him. Unfortunately, on the day, there were too many Spurs players who were below par to push Burnley harder.
The usual shouts about Spurs
bottling will be coming thick and fast, but with the next ten days'
games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Dortmund are ones which have
attained even more importance now. Talking about Tottenham’s
run-in with a work colleague, he had listened to Adrian Durham on
TalkSport and the Peterborough supporting presenter reckoned we
would be lifting the Premier League trophy at our new Stadium come
May. Obviously, when the man who has known little success with his
team says these things on the radio, it is to build our team up,
only to knock them down later. When I said that we had a lot of
catching up to do, the response from my friend was that we have a
lot of winnable games apart for those against the top six. I agreed
they are all winnable, but they still have to be won.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|West Ham United London||3||Fulham||1||Friday|
|Leicester City||1||Crystal Palace||4||Saturday|
|Newcastle United||2||Huddersfield Town||0||Saturday|
|League Cup Final|
|Chelsea||0||Manchester City (a.e.t. - won 4-3 on penalties)||0||Sunday|
|League Table 2018-19|
|9||West Ham United London||27||10||6||11||35||40||36||-5|
|16||Brighton & Hove Albion||26||7||6||13||28||39||27||-11|
Position before match :
Position after match : 3rd
Position after the weekend : 3rd
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