Tottenham have picked up their form in recent weeks and look to be returning to the team we have become accustomed to during the last two seasons, but last week’s defeat to Manchester City was a wake-up call. This weekend, they face a difficult trip away to high-flying Burnley, but the defensive problems of the home team will make it a slightly easier fixture for Spurs. This will be their second meeting of the season, with the match at Wembley finishing in a 1-1 draw. A late Chris Wood equaliser cancelled out Dele Alli’s opener. That match underlined the fighting spirit of the Clarets and they have gone from strength to strength since.
Burnley have been the surprise package this season as they head into this fixture above Tottenham in the Premier League table. If anyone had predicted that at the beginning of the season, they would have been called crazy, but Sean Dyche has done an excellent job. He and this group of players deserve a lot of credit. The next few months will be interesting as it will show the ambition of the club. They could settle for a mid-table finish and ease off. Alternatively, they could keep pushing and make a couple of quality additions in January to signal their intent.
It has been a disappointing first half of the season for Tottenham in the Premier League. They will have believed they could challenge for the league title, but they were easily beaten by the league leaders last weekend. The match signified how far the club have to go in order to win the title. That said, they have performed excellently in the Champions League and topped a group that included Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. The injuries to Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama have hampered them, but their results should have been better regardless of those.
- Burnley have the joint-best defence in the Premier League, as they have conceded only 12 times. Their organisation and solidity at the back have provided the foundation to their success.
- Tottenham have now lost five matches in the Premier League this season, which is more than they suffered during the entire 2016/17 campaign.
The midfielder was let go by Swansea City in the summer and his move to Burnley went under the radar. The majority that commented on it thought it was a solid signing, but he has surpassed expectations and earned an England call-up on the back of his performances for the Clarets. He will now want to go to the World Cup and if he continues to perform as he has been, there is an outside chance that he will be on the plane to Russia. Since the Clarets were promoted to the Premier League, they have been very good in the transfer market and recruited players that suit their style of play. Cork has bought into what Dyche has built at Turf Moor and provided a touch of class to their possession play, especially in transition. He is capable of surging forward with the ball and picking a pass to release a counter-attack. Meanwhile, he remains hard-working when his team don’t have possession and is very good at winning the ball back. Tottenham will dominate possession this weekend, but Burnley won’t mind that at all. Cork will be crucial to the team competing in midfield and making the most of the possession that the team has.
There have been a few Tottenham players that have underwhelmed this season. That isn’t to say that they have been bad, but that they have failed to replicate the high level of performance that they have showed during the last two seasons. It would be harsh to say that Kane has had a bad season considering he has 18 goals across the Premier League and Champions League. However, he will believe that he can be scoring more goals and he will be keen to have a golden Christmas period in front of goal. The England international hasn’t scored in three of his last four Premier League matches and that will be on his mind at the weekend. The defensive problems that Burnley have mean that Kane will be confident of finding the back of the net this weekend. He is always Tottenham’s danger man and will be the player that the Clarets are worried about on Saturday.
James Tarkowski will be missing through suspension, while Stephen Ward is a doubt with a knee injury. Other absentees include Tom Heaton, Jonathan Walters and Robbie Brady.
Davinson Sanchez will return for Tottenham after completing his suspension. This could see Spurs revert to a three-man defence. However, Alderweireld and Wanyama remain on the treatment table.
The suspension of James Tarkowski is a huge blow to Burnley as he has been their best defender this season and stepped up after the sale of Michael Keane. Kevin Long will be the player to come in and although he is a solid player, his lack of game-time this season will be something that Tottenham target. The visitors could be a wounded animal this weekend after being embarrassed by Manchester City. Mauricio Pochettino will make it clear to his players that they need to be better during the second half of the season. The home side are too good to get thrashed, but Tottenham should pick up the three points on Saturday.
Burnley 0-2 Tottenham