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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Burnley v Spurs, 01.04.17

This season's home game - Spurs 2 Burnley 1, 18.12.17
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Full League Record of Spurs -v- Burnley
 
Prem          Pl   W   D   L   For- Ag  Pts
Home           3   3   0   0    9 -  2   9
Away           2   0   1   1    2 -  4   1
==========================================
Total(Prem)    5   3   1   1   11 -  6  10
==========================================
Football Lge
Home(Div 1)   34  17   7  10   75 - 44  41 
Away(Div 1)   34   6  10  18   44 - 74  22
==========================================
Total(Div 1)  68  23  17  28  119 -118  63
==========================================
Football Lge
Home(Div 2)   10   8   2  0    34 -  7  18 
Away(Div 2)   10   1   3  6     6 - 13   5  
==========================================
Total(Div 2)  20   9   5  6    40 - 20  23 
==========================================
Total(Prem)    5   3   1   1   11 -  6  10
Total(Div 1)  68  23  17  28  119 -118  63
Total(Div 2)  20   9   5   6   40 - 20  23   
==========================================
Grand Total   93  35  23  35  170 -144  96 
==========================================

Last Six Premier League results:-

Burnley    -    LDDLLD

Watford    2-1   Burnley
Burnley    1-1   Chelsea
Hull       1-1   Burnley
Swansea    3-2   Burnley
Liverpool  2-1   Burnley
S'derland  0-0   Burnley

Spurs      -    DWLWWW

S'derland  0-0   Spurs
Spurs      1-0   M'brough
Liverpool  2-0   Spurs
Spurs      4-0   Stoke
Spurs      3-2   Everton
Spurs      2-1   S'hampton

Pos           P  W  D  L   F-A   GD  Pts
 2. Spurs    28 17  8  3  55-21  34   59
13. Burnley  29  9  5 15  31-42 -11   32

The "Tough of Turf Moor"

When I was a lad growing up in the early to mid-sixties, personal entertainment did not consist of hand-held computers or smart phones. We did sometimes experiment with empty baked bean tins connected with a piece of string to create a primitive "walkie-talkie", but hand-held entertainment in those days consisted of a multitude of Boys' comics such such as "The Victor" or "The Hornet". Where on earth am I going with this, you may ask, but among the heroes in these comics were characters such as Alf Tupper or Bernard Briggs, who were honest, salt of the earth guys, but tough as nails, who could put their hands (and feet) to most popular sports of the day. Alf Tupper was even known in his athletics days as "The Tough of the Track", and where I am going with this is that Burnley manager Sean Dyche puts me in mind of my former comic book heroes, and he is surely "The Tough of Turf Moor".

Sean Dyche was born in June 1971 in Kettering, Northamptonshire. As a player he signed for Nottingham Forest in 1989, but didn't play a first team game, moving to Chesterfield in 1990, where he is fondly remembered for his captaincy and being an essential part of the team which made it all the way to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1997, when the "Spireites" lost in controverisl circumstances to Middlesbrough. (Referee David Elleray disallowed a "good" goal). In his playing days, Dyche also spent time at Millwall, so he knows all about hard competitive football.

Sean Dyche began his managerial career at Watford (for whom he had also played), before taking over at Burnley in October 2012, leading them to only their second promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2013-14 season. Despite an immediate return to The Championship, the club kept faith with their manager, who has once again led them to the top level, where at present they look like staying for another season. That would mean consecutive seasons in the top flight for the first time since the seventies. Dyche and Burnley Football Club seem like a good fit. I started writing this piece early this week, before this BBC article appeared.

Burnley's strength this season has been their home form, where they have won all but three of their points tally of 32 from 29 games played. Their victims have included Liverpool and Everton, and other notable results have included a draw at Old Trafford and a home draw against Chelsea. One other notable result was the home FA Cup loss to non-league Lincoln, who went on to reach the quarter-finals, losing only to Arsenal. Typically, Dyche did not shirk his press duties; gave credit to Lincoln, and knuckled down to the rest of the season to focus on maintining Premier League status. Burnley's recent form has not been too good, without a win in their last 6 Premier League games, but that is partly because they have just played four consecutive away games, after agreeing an early season exchange of venues with Liverpool. Their last home league match was that 1-1 draw against Conte's Chelsea.

Now Spurs arrive in town after a run of no less than four consecutive games at White Hart Lane. Apart from the fixtures computer, this anomaly also arose because of a home FA Cup quarter-final, and the need to re-arrange our away game against Crystal Palace (now being played later this month).

Spurs face a tough game here, and Dyche's men know they are not clear of the relegation battle just yet. Our last game at Turf Moor was a 0-0 draw, remembered largely because it was Harry Kane's first senior game as Spurs' captain, and because it also included one of the most woeful attempts on goal ever by Paulinho! That game was almost Paulinho's last for Tottenham, before his lucrative move to China. Last week he made sporting headlines for all the right reasons, scoring a hat-trick for Brazil against Uruguay in their World Cup qualifier.

Dyche's armoury includes central defender Michael Keane, recently awarded his first full England caps by Gareth Southgate, the first of which was physically presented by none other than Glenn Hoddle. Keane was a Manchester United junior, and Burnley will probably face a fight to keep him in the close season. Another player who has won full England honours whilst at Burnley is goalkeeper Tom Heaton. Heaton and Keane are two-fifths of the reason why Burnley have proved so resilient at times this season. On the down side Burnley have got Joey Barton back on their books. Now aged 34, Barton is never far away from controversy, including an outrageous attempt to win a penalty in that Lincoln defeat. Goals have been hard to come by for Burnley, and top scorer Andre Gray (8), Sam Vokes (5) and Ashley Barnes (5) would have their work cut out if selected to play against the ace Spurs defence. One player who will not be available for Burnley until next season is midfielder Dean Marney, once of Spurs. Another ex-Spur, the ever popular goalkeeper Paul Robinson has stood in for Heaton three times this season, but will probably be on the bench for this game.

All our players seem to have returned in one piece from International duty, although Vincent Janssen faces a late assessment due to a chest infection. Harry Kane has apparently returned to "field training" this week, so hopes must be high that he will be fit for the FA Cup semi-final in three weeks' time. Danny Rose is due for another assessment this week, and his situation does not sound too promising. Mauricio Pochettino admits that Rose is probably behind Kane in his rehabilitation process. We know now that Erik Lamela will not play before next season, and in fact he faces surgery on matchday tomorrow.

Our away game against West Ham has now been moved to a Friday night (May 5th), and our game against Manchester United the following week will surely be a televised game. This means that tomorrow's game will be our last Saturday 3pm kick-off of the season.

The pressure will be on Spurs to win and maintain their place behind Chelsea, who are at home to Palace tomorrow afternoon. Liverpool play at lunchtime against an Everton side weakened at the back by the losses of Coleman and Funes Mori, who were injured on International duty. Goals may not be easy to come by against a determined Burnley side, but I am taking my team to come away with a 2-0 win!

Match referee Stuart Attwell has not been in charge of a Spurs game since 3rd December 2011, a gap of over 5 years. At that time, Mr. Attwell was on the Premier league's select group of referees, but returned to The "National List" in February 2012. He was promoted back to the select group this season, but most of his games have been in the lowweer leagues so far.

Reviewing Spurs' last Champions League Season - 2010-11. 6 years ago, we drew 0-0 at Wigan.

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