Match date & time: Saturday 20th December 2014. 3pm GMT KO.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: White Hart Lane.
TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV listings HERE.
It’s been a good week for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. A good win away at Swansea, and then an emphatic win over Newcastle in the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals, which has led us to a winnable tie against Sheffield United in the Semi Finals. It’s a good opportunity for us now to create some momentum, and what better chance than another home win against newly promoted Burnley. A game that we should win, but one that must not be underestimated, as we know our form at the Lane in the Premier League has been shaky at best. It’s about time we transferred our cup form and consistency into our League form, as we have the makings of a good season evolving. To win a trophy would be incredible, but it’s no excuse for not being successful in the Premier League; we have high expectations, with the squad that we have, to attain a respectable top 5 League position, and if we can get top 5, and possibly win a trophy, this would be an incredibly good first year in charge for Mauricio Pochettino, and hopefully give us a good foundation for improvement next season. But, there are a lot of games to play and a lot of things to be decided, and the key to us having the good season that I preach, is to improve our home form and start to win the games that we should, and win them well. Consistency is key and if we can put a good run of results and performances together, we will look very good for the second half of the season. We will be hoping for no slip ups at the Lane against Burnley, and a recreation of the performance and result that was procured against Newcastle. Last time we faced Burnley, we lost 4-2 at Turf Moor back in 2010. And the last time we faced them at White Hart Lane, we won 5-0, with Robbie Keane grabbing four along with a Jenas goal. We’ll be hoping for a repeat of that, step up Harry Kane for the hat trick!
Burnley, after a very difficult start to life in the Premier League, have found their feet, slowly. After 10 games without a win in the Premier League, it was looking very bleak for the boys in claret and blue, but to their credit, after a slow start they are starting to adapt to the Premier League, work very hard and start to grind out good results. The side did not spend big money at all after coming up from the Championship, and are relying on what is a Championship standard squad to try and grit their way through the Premier League with the lack of funds available, and it is not a surprise that they find themselves hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th with 15 points, ahead of QPR, Hull and Leicester. In their last 6 games though, since their 10 game drought ended, they have picked up 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss, which suggests a bit of form is starting to develop. Their only loss coming to QPR at Loftus Road, 2-0. In their last game though, at Turf Moor, they triumphed against Southampton 1-0, and so come into this game high on confidence. At home, it looks as though they could gain a lot of momentum – but they do struggle on their travels, with only 1 win in 7 attempts, but that came on a difficult journey to Stoke City. It seems definite that Burnley, with their lack of offensive creativity, will try to sit deep and soak up pressure, before hitting on the counter attack and from set pieces, relying on the pace and goals for Danny Ings. It’s our job to make sure we are efficient on the ball, and score an early goal to quash the Burnley resilience.
The team news for Burnley is that Stephen Ward (ankle), Michael Duff (shin), Sam Vokes (knee) and Matthew Taylor (calf) are all out, while Ben Mee (illness) is set to return for the Clarets. There is one key factor you need at the bottom of the table if you want to survive, and that’s goals – and Burnley have potentially got a player that can bring that factor to fruition. The England U21 striker has pace, desire and an eye for a goal – and he’s Burnley’s main hope of survival, if he can stay in form and start to consistently get goals. In 13 appearances so far this season in the Premier League, he has 4 goals and is Burnley’s top scorer, which isn’t a brilliant record by any means, but it shows that recently he’s been finding his feet in the world’s most competitive League. If Burnley want a result at the Lane, they’ll be hoping Ings will be bringing his A game, as he can worry defenders and stretch the opposition with clever runs, as well as his more than decent ability on the ball, as well as off of it. Although Burnley don’t have an abundance of talent running through the veins of their squad, they have some decent players that can score goals and create opportunities – one of those players is George Boyd, who after being signed from Hull in the summer, has scored 2 goals and has been able to show his quality just off Danny Ings. Another offensive player, who managed to win the game for Burnley against Southampton, is former Brighton man Ashley Barnes. The versatile forward can score goals from the wings and from central positions, and after scoring 2 goals so far this season, he’ll be looking to add to his tally at the Lane. Those two Ashley Barnes goals have both been winners, so he’s been a valuable player for the Clarets in times of need.
The team news for Tottenham is that Emmanuel Adebayor has returned and is in contention to play in this game, meaning that we have a fully fit squad to choose from for the first time this season and what seems to be many years! Despite his marmite persona, Emmanuel Adebayor, is an important option to have upfront for Tottenham. He’s a different type of striker to Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado; as he is completely accustomed to playing in the lone striker role and can hold the ball up with his strength and height. It’s a different type of striker to have, and one who when feeling good about himself can score all types of goals. I’m glad he’s back and hope he can have a good impact in our form.
There is no doubt in my mind that Christian Eriksen is set to become a World Class player. He’s not quite at that level yet, but he’s well on his way. He has the ability to win football games, with his creativity and goals, and now, after a slow start, he’s found his feet and will be an essential player to keep fit and inform for the rest of the season. Against Burnley, it’s important that he performs as we will need his eyes for a gap to breakdown what is expected to be a tight and well compact Burnley defence. His shots from outside the box and set pieces could well prove the difference as well. Nacer Chadli bagged his 7th goal of the season against Newcastle on Wednesday, and proved a constant threat to the Geordies – and he’s proving to be a very important player so far this season for Tottenham. He has the eye for goal, and it’s crucial that he keeps up this form and after returning from injury, recreates the performances that he was producing earlier in the season. Chadli is a player that I really like and I think he’ll pass the 10-15 goal Mark with ease this season, which is fantastic for a midfielder. Harry Kane currently has 19 goals in 26 appearances for club and country so far this season, and he’s been outstanding in not only his clinical finishing but his work rate and link up play too; he has the full package and I hope he can continue to develop in the way that he is, not only this season but in the future too. In midfield, Ryan Mason has looked fairly weary and hasn’t been as influential as his early season form, so personally I would rest him for Benjamin Stambouli, who I think has proved Pochettino that he is worthy of a start in the Premier League after his performance in the Cup competitions, and after his partnership with Nabil Bentaleb was so fruitful against Newcastle, it seems natural to keep the two together for this game. But, with the quality that we do have in the centre of midfield, I’d be happy to see Mousa Dembele, Bentaleb, Mason, Stambouli or Etienne Capoue start and I really wouldn’t react badly, I think we’ve got a good calibre of player in that position. Kyle Walker could be set for his first Premier League start at White Hart Lane this season, and I’m looking forward to seeing him bomb down that right hand side once again; he’s been sorely missed and will be essential to the balance of the side.
Match stats and facts provided by Opta:
– There have been 21 goals scored in the last four meetings in all competitions between Spurs and Burnley, with at least five in each game.
– Those last four meetings between Spurs and Burnley have all been home wins.
– There have been 55 goals in the last 12 meetings between Spurs and Burnley at White Hart Lane; an average of 4.6 per game.
– Tottenham have won three Premier League games that they have been behind in this season; only Chelsea have won as many.
– Spurs have won a league-high eight points from goals scored in the 85th minute or later in the Premier League this season.
– Burnley have played the highest proportion of passes long this season in the PL (20.4%).
– The Clarets have also made 30 more long throws than any other team in the PL this season (164, Tottenham are joint second on 134).
– This is only the eighth time that Spurs will play a Premier League game on a Saturday at 3pm since the start of last season (it’ll be their 55th PL game since Aug 2013 overall).
– Burnley have won just one point in their eight previous Premier League trips to London (D1 L7).
– The Clarets have failed to score in six of these previous eight Premier League away games in the capital.
A match in which we must continue our winning form, and end the home drought for a win in the Premier League. It’s a great opportunity to grab three points! The game isn’t televised, and I’ll be attending the game. But I’ll be sure to post a stream and update when I can on Twitter. Follow me there for it all: @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!
My predicted team to face Burnley at the Lane:
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lennon – Eriksen – Chadli
Mauricio Pochettino’s pre Burnley press conference: