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Spurs v Burnley, 05.01.24 (FA Cup Rd 3)

My thanks go to Declan Mulcahy for another excellent report

Friday 5 January 2024, 8:00pm
FA Cup Third Round
Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1 Burnley (0) 0

Pedro Porro 78

Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1):
13 G Vicario; 23 Pedro Porro, 12 Emerson Royal, 33 B Davies, 38 D Udogie; 4 O Skipp (5 P-E Hojbjerg 77), 30 R Bentancur (c) (63 J Donley 83); 21 D Kulusevski, 18 G Lo Celso (11 B Gil 58), 22 B Johnson (19 R Sessegnon 83); 9 Richarlison (44 D Scarlett 83)

Subs not used: 20 F Forster, 37 M van de Ven, 35 A Phillips, 65 A Dorrington

Booked: Gil (90+7)
Captain's armband to Davies 83 min

Burnley (4-4-2): Vincent Kompany
49 A Muric; 22 Vitinho, 2 D O'Shea, 44 H Delcroix 3 C Taylor (28 A Al Dakhil 67); 19 A Zaroury (31 M Trésor 67), 21 A Ramsey (15 N Redmond 67), 24 J Cullen (c), 47 W Odobert (8 J Brownhill 58); 17 L Foster (34 J Bruun Larsen 45) 25 Z Amdouni

Subs not used: 29 L Vigouroux, 14 C Roberts, 4 J Cork, 9 J Rodríguez Booked: Cullen (21 foul on Lo Celso), Trésor (90+1 foul on Pedro Porro)
Captain's armband to Brownhill 58 min

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Attendance: 60,982

Referee:- Samuel Barrott
Assistants:- Neil Davies, Mark Scholes
Fourth Official:- John Brooks
VAR:- Darren Bond
SVAR:- Christopher Kavanagh
AVAR:- Stuart Burt

Porro's stunning strike breaks stalemate.

Spurs v Burnley, FA Cup, 05.01.24

With twelve minutes remaining, this match had been largely devoid of clearcut chances and a goalless draw looked like a likely result. Then Pedro Porro created a superb long-range strike out of nowhere. Spurs became the second team after Fulham to qualify for the fourth round draw of the FA Cup.

Ange Postecoglou selected a strong team showing that he takes the FA Cup seriously. He made two enforced changes from the side that beat Bournemouth with Kulusevski returning from suspension in place of Son who has departed for the Asian Cup. Sarr has gone to the African Cup of Nations and was replaced by Skipp. Micky van de Van made a welcome return to the substitutes bench after a two-month injury layoff though he wasn't used during the game. Ryan Sessegnon was also among the substitutes having been out injured for a year. Eric Dier was missing because he was injured and not because of a possible move to Bayern Munich. Dane Scarlett who had returned from a loan at Ipswich Town replaced the injured Veliz on the bench.

There had been speculation as to who would captain the team in Son's absence given that both of the vice-captains Maddison and Romero were injured. Davies had been mooted as he has filled in before. Postecoglou gave the armband to Rodrigo Bentancur who captained the team for the first time. It was a nice vote of confidence in a player who has missed a lot of Postecoglou's tenure with injury.

Vincent Kompany made five changes from the team which lost 3-2 to Aston Villa at the weekend. Goalkeeper Arijanet Muric and four outfield players Hannes Delcroix, Josh Cullen, Aaron Ramsey and Anass Zaroury came into the team. The reserve goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux is a former Spurs youth academy player (2013-14) who then spent some time at Liverpool without making a first-team appearance for either team. He had successful stints at Swindon Town and Leyton Orient initially under Justin Edinburgh before joining Burnley at the beginning of the season.

Referee Samuel Barrott (correct spelling) had never been in charge of a Spurs fixture before. The home team played towards the north end in the first half.

Burnley had a couple of efforts early on from outside the box. Zaroury's was high and wide while Odobert's attempt was saved by Vicario.

Spurs first opportunity came when Skipp played a through-ball to Richarlison who shot wide. Then a Johnson effort brought a save from Muric. The same player had a header saved followed by a Richarlison shot. None of these efforts looked like scoring.

In the sixteenth minute there was applause all around the stadium in honour of Harry Pitman a sixteen-year-old Spurs supporter who was murdered on New Year's Eve.

Spurs continued to dominate without creating meaningful chances. The Burnley captain Josh Cullen was booked for a foul on Lo Celso.

Burnley then had the best chance of the first half. Zaroury played a through ball which deceived the Spurs defenders. Amdouni was clear and should have scored but got in front of the ball and his effort was too high.

For the remainder of the first half the two teams effectively neutralised each other. A dreary first half only produced one clear cut chance which Burnley couldn't capitalise on.

Kompany replaced Foster who had been anonymous in the first half with Brunn Larsen at the start of the second half.

Kulusevski had a couple of efforts one of which was narrowly over the bar and the other was blocked. Johnson attempted a shot but it was wide. Just before the hour-mark Kulusevski and Johnson then switched wings with the former now operating on the left and the latter on the right. Potsecoglou made his first change with Gil replacing Lo Celso who was suffering from muscle tightness.

Johnson had a shot saved by Muric. It was probably Spurs' best effort to date but by no means a clear-cut chance.

Burnley made a triple substitution half way through the second half. They had their first corner soon after but it came to nothing.

Hojbjerg replaced Skipp.

The lack of creativity from both sides was noticeable and it looked like the match was destined to be a dreary goalless draw.

Then Kulusevski crossed to Richarlison who couldn't make anything of the opportunity and goalkeeper Muric collected the ball. He threw the ball to Andouni who was just outside the box slightly to the right. Pedro Porro anticipated Muric's action. He came running in and dispossessed Andouni before he realised what was happening. He unleashed a rocket of a shot from the edge of the box on the right which flew into the left top corner of the net. It was a combination of wonderful anticipation and execution. It lit up a match which was slowly dying from lack of creativity.

Postegoglou then made a triple change with Scarlett, Donley and Sessegnon replacing Richarlison, Bentancur and Johnson. Davies took over the captain's armband. Shortly after the changes Gil set up Sessegnon but he bent his shot wide. Donley created a chance for Scarlett whose shot was off target.

There were eight minutes of added time as Burnley sought an equaliser. After three minutes they won a corner. Goalkeeper Muric came up to assist but nothing came of it. A minute later Davies made a vital interception but stretched a hamstring as he did so. He was now a virtual passenger and Hojbjerg moved into the back four and made a timely block from a Delcroix shot.

Burnley had another corner and again Muric came forward. This time he produced a header from the corner which fell to Amdouni on the left. It was a good opportunity but his effort was narrowly over the top right corner of the goal in the final action of the game.

Ange Postecoglou told ITV "I think it's a cup competition ... the bottom line is we're though to the next round ... because I think the cup games are a unique beast and we're through to the next round so that's the main thing."

Vincent Kompany commented on the same source. "If you concede a goal like we did today, sometimes you have to shake hands and say: 'A top goal and that's it.' We've got to take our chances. You play against a top team like we did and they have chances as well, so it is always also credit to them."

Spurs triumphed thank to a glorious effort from Porro who was the man-of-the-match. This is the seventeenth time in the last eighteen seasons that Spurs have gone through to the fourth round of the cup. The exception was 2013-14 when they lost away to Arsenal 2-0.

Burnley rarely threatened and looked like the bottom-three team they are. From a creative perspective this was a disappointing match. Spurs had 63% of possession but failed to create meaningful chances. The absence of both Son and Maddison for the first time resulted in a team which struggled to score. If Maddison remains injured while Son is away this will be a serious concern.

When Porro joined the club a year ago his initial performances had the critics claiming he wasn't good enough for the Premier League. However he has shown character, worked hard to fit into Postecoglou's plans and is now an essential member of the team.

Spurs have progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup but will need to play much better if they are to be contenders for the trophy. An improvement will also be needed against an unpredictable Manchester United team in the Premier League in another week at Old Trafford.

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