Tottenham will welcome Burnley on Sunday as they try to get their league season back on track. They are nine points off the top four, but they do have a game in hand over several of the teams above them. It is important for them to salvage some pride from their league season, even if a top four finish looks a tall ask at this point. Meanwhile, Burnley’s recent struggles in home matches mean that they are only six points above the bottom three.
Jose Mourinho is reaching a pivotal point in his tenure at Tottenham. It is important that they start to win in the league and go on to lift a trophy. That is the main reason behind his appointment, as he is seen as a born winner. The style of play has always been a problem for supporters of clubs managed by Mourinho, but it is seen as worth it if silverware is achieved. They are in the Carabao Cup final and progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League. It will be the latter competition that the Portuguese coach will be focusing on, as this will provide Champions League qualification for next season. If he is to be given another season in North London, he will need to deliver that.
Burnley are in a strange position in the league table. Although they are six points clear of the bottom three, the recent form of Fulham will have them looking over their shoulders. The recent home matches against Fulham and West Brom would have been viewed as matches that could take them closer to survival. They only managed to take two points from the two matches and that will increase pressure on them to take points from the tougher matches. This weekend is a tough game, but Spurs’ recent form should give them confidence that they get something from the game.
Harry Kane has 10 goal involvements in nine Premier League matches against Burnley.
If Burnley avoid defeat, they will be five matches unbeaten, which would be their best run of the season.
It has been another superb season for Harry Kane. For anyone that doubted his world class ability, he has re-established himself as one of the best attackers in the Premier League. This season, he has contributed 13 goals and 11 assists, which shows how he has developed into a complete forward, capable of scoring and creating chances. He usually does well against teams in the bottom half of the table and his historic record against Burnley will provide him with encouragement for the weekend. Although the league season may be petering out for Tottenham, Kane will be motivated by individual honours, as he could yet challenge for the PFA Player of the Year award. If he is to achieve that, he will need to continue delivering in the final third and this fixture provides a great opportunity to do that.
The Burnley captain has quietly emerged as one of the most reliable defenders in the Premier League. It should not be a surprise that Burnley perform much better with him in the team. He provides organisation at the back and adds leadership that is otherwise lacking in the squad. In his previous two appearances in the Premier League, Burnley have kept clean sheets. They conceded a sloppy set piece goal against Fulham in the match that he missed due to concussion. It is unlikely that something similar would have happened if he was available. On Sunday, he will need to be at his best to restrict Kane and the rest of the Tottenham attackers.
Serge Aurier is back in contention to start following a period on the sidelines. Giovani Lo Celso is unlikely to be back involved for a few weeks. Gareth Bale will be hoping to be recalled to the Premier League starting eleven following some impressive cameos in recent weeks.
Robbie Brady could be available for the visitors, but Ashley Barnes is unlikely to be passed fit for the trip to the capital. Erik Pieters and Chris Wood are both in contention to return to the match day squad.
Tottenham will know that they can’t afford any more poor results in the league, especially as their fixtures are easing in the coming weeks. This is a match that they have to win to keep their slim hopes of the top four alive. It won’t be easy, as Burnley are a difficult team to break down and they will recognise the fragility in the Tottenham team. The hosts should have just enough to take three points, but it would not be a surprise to see the Clarets take something from the game.
Tottenham 1-0 Burnley