SATURDAY 7TH MARCH, 2020
BURNLEY 1(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)
Dele (pen), 50
Referee:- Jonathan Moss
Assistants:- Marc Perry, Eddie Smart
Fourth official:- Andy Madley
VAR:- Craig Pawson
Assistant VAR:- Andy Halliday.
Burnley (4-4-2):- Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee (Capt.), Taylor; Hendrick (sub Lennon , 89), Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Wood, Rodriguez (sub Vydra, 68)
Subs not used:- Hart; Pieters, Long; Brownhill, Brady
Booked:- Taylor (foul on Lucas Moura), Tarkowski (foul on Dele), Cork (foul on Lucas Moura), Hendrick (foul on Bergwijn), Westwood (foul on Bergwijn)
Spurs (3-4-3/4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Sanchez, Dier, Alderweireld; Tanganga, Skipp (sub Lucas Moura, 46), Ndombele (sub Lo Celso, 46), Vertonghen; Lamela (sub Aurier, 78), Dele, Bergwijn
Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Sessegnon; Winks, Gedson
Booked:- Lamela (foul on McNeil), Sanchez (foul on Wood), Bergwijn (foul on Hendrick), Lo Celso (foul on McNeil)
Lo Celso the shining second half star for Spurs
Thank heavens for Spurs’ midfield dynamo Giovani Lo Celso! Brought on at half time for Tanguy Ndombele who was targeted post-match by Jose Mourinho to buck his ideas up, Lo Celso provided the pace, drive and creative spark for a very good second half performance. The manager was clearly trying to keep some of his powder dry for Tuesday’s crucial Champions League game in Leipzig, but his first half selection and strategy failed against a Burnley side who were able to attack us and threaten us with vigour. In the end the points were shared and it was a fair result. Spurs have dropped to eighth place in what will be a tight end of season battle for the last Champions League place, and even a place in Europe next season.
Mourinho had clearly indicated that 19-year-old Oliver Skipp would get a second consecutive start and he was true to his word. Spurs played the first half with Sanchez, Dier and Alderweireld at the back and Tanganga and Vertonghen as wing-backs. Erik Lamela started on the right of Dele with Bergwijn on the left. Bergwijn ended the game hobbling and must be a doubt for Tuesday. Why Jose thought it necessary to play this formation against a Burnley side that almost always play 4-4-2 I do not know. They overwhelmed us in midfield and with the lively Rodriguez and the powerful Wood up front, the home side threatened us too much.
Spurs kicked off and played away from their fans. In no time at all Lamela was presented with a chance in the middle of the area, but basically fluffed his shot and failed to make good contact. Spurs fans got behind Eric Dier from the outset – “We love Eric Dier”. After a while the vocal section of the home crowd (next to the away section) chanted the unsavoury “Eric Dier – your brother’s a tw*t”. This was repeated several times, and the RESPECT notice on the Burley scoreboard had fallen on deaf ears. My group had met a lovely family of Burnley fans before the game, and if you read this, your fans let you down badly. I thought in this world we were not supposed to deride victims.
Back to the football and Charlie Taylor is currently preferred by Sean Dyche to Erik Pieters at left back, and both he and Dwight McNeil offered constant threats to Spurs on Burnley’s left wing. An early Taylor cross was met firmly and headed clear by Toby Alderweireld. At the end of another passage of play Wood hit a firm shot just over Lloris’s bar. Burnley had a corner on the left and there were two mini-scrambles in the Spurs goalmouth with Rodriguez coming close, but Spurs just about managing to clear the ball. After a McNeil – Taylor combination on the left and a cross which was half-cleared Cork his a shot which was held by Lloris.
After all that early pressure, it was no surprise when Burnley took the lead. McNeil’s cross was headed clear by Dier, only as far as Rodriguez, whose shot could only be parried by Lloris. Wood was on hand and put the ball in the net from close range in the 13th minute.
Erik Lamela took an early booking for a foul. McNeil hit a free kick after 21 minutes, which Lloris held, diving to his left. Finally Spurs made some headway with Skipp feeding Dele. There was some interchange between Dele and Lamela before Erik hit an easy shot for Pope to pick up. Skipp tried to send Tanganga away down the right flank, but this attack came to nought. Dele also had a shot held by the Burnley keeper, who was probably one of the players being watched by England coach Gareth Southgate. He’ll have been watching McNeil too.
Aaron Lennon was spotted warming up and of course was regaled with “One Aaron Lennon “. He didn’t get on till very late in the game. Rodriguez headed a cross from the left and Westwood had a shot from the edge of the area, but this passed wide. Burnley had a free kick out on the right. Tarkowski met this and headed down for Wood, but Spurs managed to clear. In added time Burnley offered more threat through Rodriguez and Bardsley, but Spurs cleared. Alderweireld had been winded in the middle of the pitch and was suffering at this late stage of the first half.
The half-time change of personnel and strategy gave us a different, brighter Spurs. Dier was moved up to midfield alongside Lo Celso, who had licence to go forward, doing so with high energy and plenty of skill. Lucas Moura started on the right but moved inside after a while and he too offered energy and good close control. Spurs reverted to a back four of Tanganga, Sanchez, Alderweireld and Vertonghen. Within five minutes, Spurs won and scored a penalty. It was Lo Celso who offered the ball to Lamela who was tripped by Mee just inside the area. I don’t know why referee Jon Moss took quite so long to make his mind up. It was almost as if he was talking to VAR before giving the signal, but the penalty was confirmed and scored by Dele. Pope went the wrong way to the right. Dele fired convincingly into the net on Pope’s left. It was Dele’s 50th Premier League goal. Dele had been getting plenty of stick from some of the travelling fans, but now it was “We’ve got Alli!”
Burnley were aggrieved because they were not awarded a penalty when Sanchez apparently shoved Wood in the box, but shortly after that Sanchez was booked for a foul n the Burnley striker, thankfully outside the area. Hendrick’s free kick was blocked by the wall. As this half proceeded, the cards came thick and fast, with most being waved at the Burnley men who at times suddenly looked rattled under the renewed Spurs pressure.
Spurs won a corner or two after good work by Lo Celso and Bergwijn, following which Toby Alderweireld tried a left foot shot from the edge of the area, which was always rising over the bar. Cork was booked for his cynical challenge on Lucas Mora who was on the run. It took a while for Lucas to get back on his feet, and gentleman that he is, he accepted Cork’s proffered hand. Dier tried to take advantage of Lo Celso’s ball and got into the box, but Burnley were defending in numbers here. Lucas Moura had a one-two with Lamela, but could not find a shot on goal.
Sean Dyche replaced Rodriguez with Vydra who has scored a couple of goals in recent games. Lo Celso had a fine run and after a pass from Dele, Lucas Moura had a shot blocked. Another fine Lo Celso run ended with a cross from the left. Lamela fed the ball to Dele but he was too slow to get his shot in. After Bergwijn was fouled, Pope held Lo Celso’s free kick. There is still plenty of scope for Lo Celso and several Spurs players to improve their crosses and deliveries to the middle.
Burnley were now managing too get forward again, and both sides went in search of the win. Hendrick fed Wood, but Lloris was equal to his shot. Lamela was replaced by Aurier, who played on the right side of midfield. Bergwijn passed to Lucas, whose shot was deflected and won a corner. Dier failed to collect a Lo Celso pass in the Burnley half and Wood had another chance following Vydra’s pass. Lloris held the shot.
Lo Celso had Spurs’ best chance to score after 81 minutes. Lucas Moura passed to his left and Lo Celso’s shot was inches wide of Pope’s right post with both the keeper and a defender trying and failing to stop the shot. Lloris made a great save close to his left post from Vydra’s shot at the other end. Dele had a shot deflected wide for a corner after an Aurier cross.
On came Aaron Lennon, cheered by both sets of fans, but thankfully he had little input. Dele won a free kick which was taken by Lo Celso, but no effect. Mc Neil showed skill inside his own half to win and carry the ball forward. Desperate football led to desperate challenges and more yellow cards, with Bergwijn hobbling until the final whistle.
Next up for Spurs is the trip to Leipzig. If we play as we did in the second half, we might just get a result you know. Leipzig have drawn their last two games and yesterday drew 0-0 away to Wolfsburg. Maybe they rested one or two key players too.
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