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Spurs v Burnley, 20.12.14


Spurs scorers:-
Kane, 21
Lamela, 35

Burnley scorer:-
Barnes, 27


Referee:- Mike Jones
Assistants:- Richard West & Edward Smart
Fourth official:- Keith Hill

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies; Mason (sub Stambouli, 44), Bentaleb; Lamela, Eriksen (sub Rose, 93), Chadli; Kane (sub Soldado, 84)

Subs not used:- Vorm; Chiriches; Townsend, Dembele

Booked:- Davies

Burnley (4-4-1-1):- Heaton; Trippier, Keane, Shackell (Capt.), Mee; Boyd (sub Kightly, 79), Marney, Jones, Arfield (sub Wallace, 79); Barnes (sub Jutkiewicz, 89); Ings

Subs not used:- Gilks; Reid, Chalobah, Long

No bookings

Good win, but too close for comfort.

Spurs played some attractive football, and won a third consecutive game, and a valuable three points, but it wasn't as easy or comfortable as some might have expected against a Burnley side that has dropped back into the bottom three as a result of this defeat. Spurs have climbed up to sixth, for the night at least, before their nemesis face Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow afternoon.

Sean Dyche's Burnley side certainly did not come with the team bus. Not only did they seek to get forward at every opportunity, they succeeded, and in the second half, it was the visitors, rather than the home side which played the high pressing game. Burnley's top scorer, Danny Ings, often had the better of Fazio for pace, and tested Hugo Lloris more than once.

Burnley played a 4-4-1-1, with Barnes playing behind Ings, and two banks of four trying to block Spurs' way to goal.

Spurs played the team I had anticipated, with Lamela on the right and Chadli on the other side of playmaker Eriksen.

Burnley even had the first chance of the game, after Trippier had crossed from the right and Arfield fired over. There are few glamour names in the Burnley squad, but they certainly gave their all for their cause, and might easily have taken a point back to Lancashire.

Ryan Mason was getting forward and was prominent for Spurs, hitting an early right footed effort wide, after Eriksen had teed him up. Lamela, Eriksen and Kane combined in a good passing move, but it didn't lead to a decent shot on goal. Spurs were playing some good football, but didn't forge many chances in the early exchanges.

Lamela won and took a free kick after 19 minutes, but Ryan Mason skied his shot. Spurs did take the lead in the 21st minute. Harry Kane took a quick free kick about 30 yards out, hitting it down the left channel. Eriksen, who was in an offside position, played well, by not making any attempt towards the ball. This allowed Chadli to make a good run to the line. By the time he had crossed the ball, Kane had made it into the area, and headed home across Heaton.

Heaton made a good save from Lamela's shot which followed more good passing play by Spurs.

Burnley got an equaliser somewhat out of the blue, when Boyd passed, and Barnes hit an excellent shot into Lloris's top left corner.

Just when you thought it would be nice if Lamela tried operating from the left, he worked his way round the outside of the left back, and got to the bye-line, hitting a cross, which brought an air shot from Kane, and an Eriksen effort over the goal from the back post.

It wasn't long though before Lamela made it 2-1 with a cracking goal, and his first Premier League goal. The goal followed good work by Harry Kane and Mason, who pushed the final pass out to the right wing. Lamela cut inside and hit a great curling shot that just went inside the keeper's right post.

Spurs soon had another great effort on goal, after a good move from the left. Eriksen threaded the final pass into the box, and Mason made a great run to reach the ball, hitting his angled shot over the bar. Mason then went down in pain, and may have over-stretched. He had to be assisted off, and was replaced by Stambouli. With Bentaleb off to the African Cup of Nations in the New Year, any prolonged injury to his midfield partner will be felt by Spurs.

In first half added time, Spurs appealed for a penalty as a shot took a deflection but referee Mike Jones, only gave a corner. After the corner, Eriksen fed Kane, whose shot was blocked. Stambouli's follow-up was blocked.

Burnley started the second half at high tempo, and had two early chances. First of all Ings beat Fazio for pace, and hit a shot which Lloris pushed around his left post. After the corner, Ings had another effort smothered by the keeper on the other side.

Chadli was appearing almost everywhere across the midfield line, and after he and Kane combined well, a cross for Eriksen led to a corner. Ings bothered Lloris again at the other end, beating Fazio in the face for a breakaway ball. Lloris was again happy to concede a corner.

It has to be said that Spurs needed the comfort of that two goal lead. They seemed to lose confidence, and made more and more passes backwards. The fact that Lloris's distribution was often dismal did not help to ease the pressure.

A poor ball by Bentaleb gave Arfield a run on goal, but his shot did not bother the keeper.

Spurs had the ball in the net after a great move featuring Eriksen, Kane and finally Chadli, but the offside flag was raised. This preceded a good phase for Tottenham, with Eriksen, Chadli and Lamela to the fore, winning one corner, and forcing a clearance by the Burnley defence. Chadli also had an effort saved at the bottom left corner, after Eriksen's pass.

Shortly after that Lamela sent Eriksen clear down the left channel, and his cross/shot just beat Kane.

Spurs managed to see out the nervous nineties of added time, during which Lloris dived to his left to save a Wallace free kick, and Eriksen had an effort go over the bar, before being replaced in the dying seconds of the game by Danny Rose.

Next up, on Boxing Day, we travel to Leicester, who remain at the bottom of the table, after losing 2-0 at Upton Park today.

I wish all readers a very Happy Christmas, good health, prosperity, and all they wish for themselves in 2015!

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