|DATE||Saturday 20th December 2014|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
few weeks ago, a game against Burnley might have been an easy three
points. But now, there has been an upturn in the Clarets'
fortunes and they are on a decent run having won three and drawn two
of their last six matches in the Premier League.
Sean Dyche may have been taken by surprise in the step up to the top flight and Burnley suffered in the early months of the season, but they are now a tighter outfit and have been adding a few goals to their game, winning 1-0 last time out against Southampton, which was a good result and demonstrates they will be no pushover.
Goalkeeper Tom Heaton had a good campaign in goal for Cardiff City in the Premier League, but they ended up getting relegated, so he probably hopes history doesn't repeat itself. However, being a good shot stopper is a key skill keeping goal for Burnley. He does not always get his angles right and as Spurs did on Wednesday night, they need tog et plenty of shots on target to force a mistake.
Full back Ben Mee returns to the side from illness and will be on the opposite flank to Kieran Trippier, with both enjoying the opportunity to bomb up the line, but they may play in a more withdrawn position in this match to squeeze the space available for Spurs to play in. Injuries mean that Dyche might have to pair Manchester United youngster Michael Keane with former Norwich man Jason Shackell in the middle of defence. Both are relatively inexperienced at the top level and pressure on them could force errors which Spurs will need to capitalise on. With Duff and Ward out, the only other option is former WBA defender Steven Reid and Dyche might opt for his experience, but he lacks pace these days, which gives Tottenham's quicker players a good opportunity to run at him.
A familiar face pops up in the Burnley midfield, with Dean Marney, who has been a good servant to the club. A youth prospect at Spurs, he is now thirty and still gives energy to their midfield and will be one of the players snapping around the Tottenham midfielders' ankles. Another Burnley man used to the surroundings here will be Michael Kightly, the wide midfielder who was released by Spurs as a junior and came through non-league and Wolves to sign for Burnley. A tricky player on the ball, his defensive qualities might be tested today, with all hands to the pump to get behind the ball when they lose possession.
George Boyd is a talented player who was linked with Spurs when a Stevenage player, but he moved to Peterborough, Hull and then on to Turf Moor, with his dribbling being his main asset, although he knows how to finish well. Nathaniel Chabolah is on loan from Chelsea, but has been used sparingly, while former Wolves man David Jones is a more regular choice, adding more running and tackling in midfield. Scott Arfield made a name for himself scoring against Chelsea at Turf Moor, but he has been establishing a reputation for his contributions in keeping the other side quiet by his hard work.
Up front, their main man these days is Danny Ings, the England Under-21 man who has returned from injury and this has coincided with an improvement in results. A strong player on the ball, he takes his shots early, giving the keeper less opportunity to set himself and so he needs to be closed down quickly, which is something Spurs haven't been good at lately. Sam Vokes isn't fully recovered in time to return, but Marvin Sordell, who was a prospect when with Watford and Bolton is still with the Clarets, although he has not realised that potential as yet. Ashley Barnes has scored goals through the years for Burnley, but is usually used off the bench. Being reliant on breaks, whoever plays up top for them will have few chances to get in on goal.
Some of the stats being quoted for this game are good and bad. The bad is that the visitors have never won a Premier League game in London. The good is that they have conceded the most goals from corners in the Premier League this season at a time we are starting to do something from corners.
I expect Burnley to pack men behind the ball and try to hit Boyd or Ings on the break, but I hope Spurs are in a creative mood and will be able to come out on top.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 Burnley 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs have no new injury issues, with Emmanuel Adebayor possibly being included on the bench for the game against Burnley after returning to full training.
BURNLEY TEAM NEWS :
The Clarets will be without Michael Duff (calf), Matt Taylor (calf), Sam Vokes (knee) and Stephen Ward (ankle), but defender Ben Mee is fit again after illness.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
2 (2) Burnley
Saturday 20th December 2014 Kick off 15:00
White Hart Lane
Kane 21m 55s
Lamela 35m 49s
|Barnes 27m 28s|
Davies (foul on Boyd) 3
|Crowd : 35,681||Weather : Chilly|
|Referee : Mike Jones (Cheshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. E. Smart; Mr. R. West|
|Fourth Official : Keith Hill||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 4 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Burnley :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
18 Harry KANE ( 9 Roberto SOLDADO 84)
Scott ARFIELD (
Ross WALLACE 79)
Lucas JUTKIEWICZ 89)
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Sean Dyche|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Fun 88|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Puma|
What looked like a game which might prove difficult for Spurs on paper, proved otherwise, with Burnley coming to White Hart Lane to play football to their credit, but leaving with a 2-1 defeat. Whereas last week's 2-1 victory at Swansea was a bit of a smash and grab job, this was a little more comfortable, although another goal might have made the nerves jangle less as the game reached it's end.
Walker and Davies returned as the full backs and Mason came in alongside Bentaleb in front of the back four. Erik Lamela started on the right wing and Spurs kicked off, presumably having lost the toss and having to play towards the Paxton end in the first half. Having given the ball away straight form the kick off, you wondered if this was going to be another game like Palace, especially when Arfield got on the end of a cross from the right and volleyed powerfully at goal from a tight angle, but luckily too high. Davies got booked for his first foul and then Ryan Mason took a pass from Eriksen and struck a low shot that fizzed off the turf and went a yard wide from outside the penalty area. When Spurs got a corner, they worked it short to Lamela, whose shot to the near post was covered by Heaton in the Burnley goal.
Spurs were being closed down quickly buy the visiting players, but Dean Marney obviously had a point to prove and he was getting stuck in, leaving a foot in on a challenge with Walker and then giving him some verbals (after he had done the same to the referee). Chadli almost put Mason in, but the midfielder could only hook the ball high and it landed on top of the goal and Spurs were working equally as hard as Burnley in midfield to win the ball back, with Lamela taking one off Jones to set up Kane, but his shot was too high. Mason did the same when Lamela lined up to curl a free-kick in from the right of the penalty area, but pulled to back square for Ryan, who leant back and lifted his effort over the bar.
Not that it mattered, as from the next free-kick Spurs scored. A breakaway saw Michael Keane handle the ball 35 yards out. Kane was thinking quickly ... a bit too quickly for Eriksen, as the forward played it forward with Christian offside. He stood with his hands in the air, not going for the ball, but it ran on for Nacer Chadli to reach it on the left wing. He took on his man to the by-line and pulled the ball across goal, where Kane had continued his run in between two unaware Clarets defenders and his task of heading the ball low past Heaton from a yard out was a simple one. It was a good piece of thinking by Kane to continue his run, as the Burnley players were not sharp enough to get back in shape at the back.
Tottenham looked set to press on, with Lamela cutting in from the right wing to curl a low effort that Heaton got down to well and saved, but within a minute, the Turf Moor side were level with a scorcher of a goal. Losing the ball in midfield, it was switched to Barnes on the left of centre. He took a touch and with players standing off him, he unleashed a shot that powerfully flew past a helpless Lloris to equalise just five minutes after Kane had put Spurs ahead. It was a Goal of the Month contender and why is it that they always seem to be scored against us ??
It could have been all so different, as minutes after it was 1-1, Lamela showed his skill in tight places by taking on Mee and ghosting past him tight to the dead-ball line, then producing a cross that Kane missed from almost on the goal-line and Eriksen blasted over the bar when it ran through to the far post. It took another five minutes for Spurs to create another opportunity and from that they scored. Chadli's break on the left wing saw him look up and play the ball inside to Mason, who fed it on to Lamela on the right. He looked up and took the ball past Mee before he hit a curler with his left foot of Bale proportions and it bent inside the far post, leaving Heaton stretching not quite far enough to be able to stop it. Another GotM contender and we were getting a glimpse of what Lamela is all about.
Things were not all entirely well at the back, with Vertonghen twice diving in and being left on the floor, but luckily the chances came to nothing, while at the other end, Mason was left on the floor by Keane after shooting over at the far post to a right wing cross and he needed to be helped off with a twisted ankle. Stambouli came on to replace him and he put in a good shift in the two in front of the back four. He was involve din breaking up a Burnley attack that ended with the ball out wide on the left with Harry Kane having two defenders for company. He twisted away from them and into the box, with no back-lift striking the ball cleanly, but it flew just over the top.
Into added time at the end of the first half, Kane had a shot blocked and Stambouli hit one over the top, before Ings set up Marney for a sight of goal, but his weak side-footed shot went wide, with Lloris safely having it covered and perhaps showed where Marney's true loyalties lay !!
A half time of ghosts of Spurs Christmases past came out in the shape of Alan Mullery, Phil Beal, Paul Miller and Graham Roberts. Christmases gone by were recalled and Mullery told of former Burnley and Spurs winger Ralph Coates, having passed away four years ago now. Tales of drinking and turkeys left in pubs kept the crowd amused during the break, as we wondered how Spurs would approach the second half. Well, it started much the same as the first, with them turning over possession, but Burnley were doing it too, as both sides committed to the season of giving. Burnley appeared to be ready to play longer passes and they got them past Fazio, allowing Ings to get in on goal on the right side of goal, both times bringing Lloris into action with blocking saves at his near post.
Eriksen almost got on the end of a Kane cross that flew across the face of goal, but then Burnley broke away and again, Ings drew a block from Hugo at his near post to deny the Under-21 striker. When Vertonghen got on the end of a corner from Christian Eriksen, Heaton had to leap high to take it under the bar, which was before Kane took the ball off Trippier and ran at goal, shaping up to curl the ball past Heaton's left hand, but Shackell got back in time to block the effort. Harry was involved in Chadli finding the net in the 64th minute, but his pass saw Nacer stray offside and the linesman's flag ruled the strike out. From another Eriksen corner (boy, we must be getting good at this !!), Fazio rose above the defence at the far post to head at goal, but there was little power in it an the ball drifted off target anyway.
Fazio had been head and shoulders above the Burnley attack for most of the game (quite literally) and it appears that he is among the first choice player sin the team, with a partnership building alongside Vertonghen. They are both now getting a bit more adventurous taking the ball out of defence and their distribution is improving too. Walker's return has been welcomed. His pace and link play with Lamela seems to have energised the Argentine and when the England international broke up the right, his pull back was aimed for Eriksen, but it missed everyone. Chadli forced the Burnley keeper to a save at his near post after playing a give and go with Eriksen, just before Burnley took off Arfield and Boyd to bring on Kightly and Wallace. Spurs could have had a third, when Eriksen returned the favour for Kane with a low ball in front of him, but, as previously, it was a little too far ahead of him.
Burnley were pressing to get back in the game, with Ings being robbed of a shooting chance by Vertonghen's well timed tackle in the box and then the Belgian just got enough of a touch on the bal as Ings closed him down. In between Fazio put another header form another Eriksen corner just wide and when he was adjudged to have fouled Ings about 10 yards outside the box, Ross Wallace, who scored against Spurs the last time the two clubs met in the Premier League, stepped up to take it. He got it over the wall, but it lacked sufficient power to beat Lloris, who nevertheless had to dive full length to push away the ball as it bounced in front of him. From the corner, Spurs had another scare, as it was played in to the near post and skipped through the men there, luckily it bounced up off a Burnley man, instead of going in and Lloris claimed it high above the players' heads.
Christian Eriksen smashed a shot a foot wide and Danny Rose came on as a substitute for the Dane, but it was an odd move, which seemed to upset the Spurs shape and they dropped back to allow Burnley to come at them in the three minutes of added time. It invited the Clarets to sling crosses into the area, when anything could have happened. Spurs held out and the three points will come in handy in the bank with Manu and Chelsea coming up in the net few weeks.
There was a tempo about our play today which has been missing since the start of the season. Whether this is due to the confidence of winning games or the return of Kyle Walker I am not sure. It helped the team look dangerous throughout and the speed on the break suddenly gave more threat to our attacks. It was good to see us create a large number of shooting opportunities, but a better rate that hit the target could bring more goals, as the crowd got jittery towards the end when Lloris kept kicking clearances into touch and the back four dropped back further and further towards our 18 yard line.
Some incisive play caught Burnley out and some inventive play by Lamela showed that he might be about to blossom after a long bedding in period. Like Soldado, he is a player the crowd have taken to and his goal did bear echoes of Gareth Bale's last two for the club a t White Hart Lane against Southampton and Sunderland. If he becomes half the player Bale is, then he will be worth at least £42 million ;o) No, he will be worth more than that to keep him and his worth will not be in monetary terms, but where he can help take the club.
This win takes us to sixth going into Christmas, but games tomorrow could see us back down to seventh, but the games from now on will get harder, as our reputation precedes us, but with performances like this and a more clinical finish to the moves we create, there could be some exciting matches ahead.
Burnley once played a match outside their own stadium after being banned form playing on their own turf by the FA.
The kit Burnley wear had
been specially chosen to mirror that of the great West Ham team of
1883. Unfortunately for all the excited Irons fans out there,
they weren't the team we now know as West Ham, as they were called
Thames Ironworks back then. They won the Stratford and
District Episcopal League Fourth Division title by a single point on
the last day of the season.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||1||Manchester United||1||Saturday|
|Hull City||0||Swansea City||1||Saturday|
|Manchester City||3||Crystal Palace||0||Saturday|
|QPR||3||West Bromwich Albion||2||Saturday|
|West Ham United||2||Leicester City||0||Saturday|
|4||West Ham United||17||9||4||4||28||19||31||+9|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||17||4||5||8||17||23||17||-6|
Position before match :
Position after match : 6th
Position after the weekend : 7th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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