SATURDAY 1ST APRIL, 2016
BURNLEY 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0)
Referee:- Stuart Attwell
Assistants:- Gary Beswick & David Bryan
Fourth Official:- Michael Oliver
Burnley (4-4-2):- Heaton (Capt.); Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward; Boyd (sub Brady, 74), Barton, Hendrick, Arfield (sub Defour, 78); Gray (sub Vokes, 56), Barnes
Subs not used:- Robinson; Flanagan, Tarkowski; Westwood
Booked:- Keane (foul on Janssen), Barnes (foul on Dembele)
Spurs (3-4-2-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Trippier, Wanyama (sub Dembele, 44), Winks (sub Sissoko, 45+1), Davies; Eriksen, Alli; Janssen (sub Son, 73)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Walker, Carter-Vickers; Nkoudou
A great day for Spurs!
It's been a great day for Spurs! Not only did they win 2-0 at Turf Moor (where Chelsea only drew), but Sam Allardyce produced some of his relegation-fighting magic to beat the Premier League leaders 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. This enabled Spurs to close the gap to seven points, and to renew hope that a title race may yet be on the cards.
Jose Mourinho's United team could only draw at home to West Brom, and with Arsenal hosting Manchester City tomorrow, more points will be lost by one or more challengers in the race for a Champions League place.
The only downside for Spurs was injuries to both Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks. Winks started today, but was stretchered off at the half-time interval. Also, Liverpool won, to retain third place today, but they are three points behind us, so whatever City do tomorrow, second place is ours until the next round of games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Mauricio Pochettino decided to “use the squad” to a certain extent today, resting Kyle Walker, thus giving Kieran Trippier only his second Premier League start of the season, but more significantly the chance to play against his old club at his former stomping ground. Harry Winks also started today, with Mousa Dembele also on the bench. When Victor Wanyama had to limp off just before the break, Dembele got more game time than had been planned, but he had everything to do with Spurs’ second half domination of the home side. Vincent Janssen made his first Premier League start this year, and worried both Burnley’s centre-backs with his physical application.
Pochettino kept faith with his 3-4-2-1 formation, whilst Sean Dyche’s Burnley lined up in a 4-4-2, which was compact and more or less matched Spurs in a first half of few chances. Dele Alli had Spurs’ best chance whilst anything coming Hugo Lloris’s way was dealt with comfortably by the Spurs skipper. Both sides were led by their goalkeepers. Spurs kicked off playing towards the Jimmy McIlroy stand, and it was Winks who actually took the kick.
Burnley had the first attempt on goal after 6 minutes. Ashley Barnes won a header which he directed to Arfield, who passed out to Lowton on the right. Lowton crossed and Barnes had a header on target easily held by Lloris. Spurs won a corner after 9 minutes when an Eriksen shot was blocked, before Winks, Wanyama and Davies combined to win another corner on the left side. George Boyd got a header to Stephen Ward, whose shot was also easy for Lloris.
Dele Alli was fouled and Spurs had a free kick 28 yards out, touched by Eriksen to Toby Alderweireld, who hit a powerful right footed shot, that curled nicely for Heaton to catch high in the centre of his goalmouth. At times Burnley were stretching Spurs on their flanks with their passing. And then Arfield, Barnes and Gray were threatening in a tight situation on the edge of the Spurs box, but our defence cleared. Gray got another shot on target, but he had been correctly flagged offside.
Spurs had a great chance after 31 minutes. It was Dele Alli who sent Eriksen away down the left channel. Eriksen’s shot was saved, and Dele had made ground to reach the ball, but fired wide, perhaps on the stretch. At this stage, Victor Wanyama went down for treatment for the first of three occasions. His problem seemed to be with his lower back. Harry Winks was looking for a shooting opportunity just outside the Burnley area, and fed the ball to Eriksen, whose shot was blocked. From a corner on the left, Winks passed to Trippier who hit his shot over the bar. Wanyama went down for a second time, and Dembele could be seen getting ready to take his place.
After a Burnley corner Winks blocked a shot by the notorious (but quiet today) Joey Barton. Wanyama was finally replaced by Dembele, and as half time approached Winks took a tumble after a midfield challenge and rolled dramatically off the pitch. Sissoko came on, but hardly had time on the pitch before the referee blew for half-time, and Winks had to be stretchered off.
Soon after the break, new England cap Michel Keane got the first booking of the game, impeding Janssen as he tried to take on Eriksen’s through ball. Eriksen’s free kick and the follow-up shot were both blocked. Janssen had a shot saved, but not held by Heaton, after Dele’s ball towards the left post. Sissoko’s attempted follow-up won only a corner. Spurs were certainly looking brighter in this half, showing more desire, and certainly exerting more control on the game. Ben Davies passed inside to Janssen and received a return pass, hitting a shot which Heaton saved.
Burnley’s top league scorer Andre Gray was replaced by Sam Vokes, and referee Stuart Attwell had strong words with Ben Mee after his challenge upon Janssen. Dembele and Dier were involved in a move which led to a right footed shot by Eriksen, held by the goalkeeper moving top his right. Dembele won the ball in the middle sending it to Janssen, who was challenged. The ball fell to Sissoko, who screwed his shot somewhat, firing wide of Heaton’s left post. Sissoko will again probably be a target for criticism by fans, but I felt he had more positive influence on today’s game when he switched to the right side. This change came when Pochettino switched to four at the back, with a fluent three or four man midfield with Eriksen having freedom between the front and left side of midfield.
Spurs took the lead from another corner, which had been won after a Janssen ball to Trippier on the right; his deep cross, and Davies’ attempt from the other side. Eriksen took the corner, which was poorly dealt with on the line by two Burnley defenders, and swept home by Eric Dier for his first Premier League goal since December 2015.
Janssen, who also seemed to have suffered a knock, was replaced by Son, who had two half chances before he did put Spurs two up. First of all he struggled to keep his feet trying to convert an Eriksen ball; then after another piece of poor Burnley defending and another Eriksen pass, Son hit the side netting from the left of goal. It was third time lucky for the South Korean though, as he did finish off Dele Alli’s pass in front of goal to the right of Heaton.
Spurs were now totally in control, and the travelling fans were in celebratory good voice, suggesting to Chelsea that “We’re coming for you!” Dembele produced a touch of real magic in the middle, turning with the ball much to the chagrin of Ashley Barnes, who got booked for trying to stop the Spurs midfielder unfairly. Dembele has this week been described by his manager as a genius, and I suspect he had everything to do with our second half dominance. A Sissoko ball was headed on by Eriksen, and Dele Alli fired wide with his right foot. Son teed up Alli after another Burnley error, but Dele again put his effort wide.
This was our fifth away win of the season, and our fourth “double”. This was also our fifth consecutive win in all games, and we have now won more points (26) than any other team in the Premier league so far in 2017. It was great to jump in the car in time for the BBC Five Live sports report (and their classic theme music), and to hear the headline “Spurs close the gap on Chelsea to seven points”. These really are such good times for Spurs fans, and we must hope they can get even better in the weeks to come!
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