BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 5TH APRIL, 2015
BURNLEY 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
Referee:- Martin Atkinson
Assistants:- M. Mullarkey & S. Child
Fourth official:- R. Madley
Burnley (4-4-2):- Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell (Capt.), Mee; Boyd, Arfield, Jones, Barnes; Ings, Vokes (sub Jutkiewicz, 76)
Subs not used:- Gilks; Ward, Keane; Kightly, Ulvestad; Sordell
Booked:- Trippier (foul on Rose), Mee (foul on Lamela)
Spurs (4-1-2-3):- Vorm; Walker (sub Davies, 47), Dier, Chiriches, Rose; Bentaleb; Paulinho, Mason (sub Townsend, 83); Eriksen, Kane (Capt.), Chadli (sub Lamela, 64)
Subs not used:- Friedel; Dembele, Stambouli; Soldado
Well, Harry Kane had another memorable day
Spurs captain Harry Kane was probably the only person who had a memorable day here. Yes, that does say Spurs captain Harry Kane, because Kane led the senior team out for the very first time in a season where he emerged onto the Premier League scene; became Spurs’ top scorer; and one in which he even wore the goalkeeper’s jersey. That was when we beat Asteras Tripolis 5-1. Kane scored his first Spurs hat-trick that day, then took over Hugo Lloris’s jersey late in the game when the goalkeeper had been sent off. I do believe that Kane even took over Lloris’s captain’s armband in that game too.
What we would have given for a Kane goal at Turf Moor. What we would have given for any Spurs goal, but if we are honest, the home side came closest to scoring with an early chance for Danny Ings, which was saved by Vorm. That was almost the only meaningful save by either keeper all day on a day when the midfield was swamped, and creativity was stemmed.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team selection and strategy was something of a mystery. Vlad Chiriches tweeted yesterday that he was looking forward to the game, and we were told that Vertonghen was ill. That explained the switch in the back four. My reading of the line-up was that Bentaleb played in front of the back four, with Paulinho and Mason just in front of him. Paulinho’s role was a mystery to me. I am not saying he played badly, apart from a howler of an attempt on goal in the second half, but I noticed little in the way of significant contributions from him either. Mind you, that remark can be attributed to most of the Spurs team.
There was no genuine width for Spurs in a game which cried out for someone to go round the outside of the opposition barrier. Chadli linked up well with Kane and Eriksen early on, but soon faded.
Spurs kicked off away from the visiting fans towards the Jimmy McIlroy stand. The pitch was bathed in glorious warm Easter sunshine. That early chance for Ings came after Boyd challenged Mason an nicked the ball, creating the shooting chance which was fired more or less straight at Vorm who made the save. Spurs had to wait till the 14th minute before they had a shot on target. This came from distance by Chadli, and was easy meat for Heaton. In fairness, both Chadli and Paulinho had been involved early in the move, before Chadli’s chance arose from a cross from the left.
Chadli had another shot, which Heaton parried, with his defence clearing their lines. Mason had provided the pass for this effort. Bentaleb conceded a free kick out on the Spurs right flank. The kick reached Barnes waiting beyond the back post, but his powerful return into the danger area was cleared by the Spurs defence. As always, Danny Rose was getting forward to good effect, and he had a shot go wide, after Mason passed inside from his left. Harry Kane and Eriksen had been involved in an exchange of passes earlier in that move, but Kane was seeing very little of the ball.
Mason hit a couple of great long passes, and one reached the advancing Walker mid-way through the first half. Walker passed inside to Eriksen, who fed the advancing Ryan Mason, whose shot was hooked wide. Vokes had space 25 yards out at the other end, but his shot was no problem for Vorm. Vokes then headed over a free kick from the right by Trippier. Dier sent Kane away with a good ball down the right channel, but Kane’s shot was wide of the keeper’s right post.
A Spurs corner was taken short, and the move ended with a decent effort by Eriksen, which was saved and held by Heaton at the second attempt. Spurs failed to effectively deal with a Burnley cross from the right, but Boyd’s final shot from outside the box passed wide. Barnes gave Ings another opportunity, and his 25 yard curler was well saved by Vorm at the expense of a corner.
Just before the break, Kyle Walker was crocked and required treatment. He emerged for the second half, but only lasted a minute, having to be replaced by Ben Davies, who played at centre back with Chiriches moving to right back. Here we were with Vertonghen apparently ill, the club captain (Kaboul in case you had forgotten) out of favour, and Fazio also seemingly out of favour. That left us woefully short of centre-back cover, but in fairness, I thought Davies did a good job.
Danny Rose made a run down the left and gave Kane a chance with a looping effort, but he was called offside anyway. Vorm had to tip over a Burnley cross from the right for a corner, and then he held Barnes’ effort after Jones had put him through. Trippier got booked for a foul on Danny Rose as he was breaking out of the Spurs half. Lamela had replaced Chadli. Erik fielded, controlled and dealt with a pass well, before passing to Eriksen who fired wide. Kane got to the bye-line on the right, and his cross was cleared as far as Rose, who tried a shot, which passed over the target.
Kane led a Spurs break into the opponents’ half, and fed the ball to Paulinho, who was in space on the left. The Brazilian hit a woeful attempt on goal, which was probably nearer the corner flag than the net. The Spurs crowd joined in with the Burnley fans chant of “What the f***ing hell was that?”. There was little threat on either goal in the closing stages. The home fans got excited about a cross which passed in front of Vorm’s goal from their left, whilst Paulinho headed Eriksen’s cross wide, and was offside anyway.
Andros Townsend joined the fray too late to affect the game, and the final piece of excitement came after quality play from Harry Kane in the middle. He battled for the ball; won it; controlled it, then passed it to the advancing Chiriches. After his cross the ball reached Bentaleb, who tried a shot from distance, but it went high and wide.
On the plus side, we did keep a clean sheet for the first time in eleven games, on Vorm’s Premier League debut for the club (as a starter). The point gained does lift us above Southampton, but even Pochettino admits now that top four is highly unlikely for Spurs. For Burnley, the point took them back above QPR, but still leaves them in the bottom three as the battle to escape relegation gets hotter. One point gave neither club the sort of Easter rising they desired. The lack of quality and entertainment left most of the fans feeling despondent.
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