SUNDAY 27th AUGUST, 2017
4pm (at Wembley)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0) BURNLEY 1(0)
Wood, 90 (+2)
Referee:- Lee Mason
Assistants:- H. Lennard & M. Wilkes
Fourth official:- R. Madley
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele (sub Sanchez, 90+3); Eriksen (sub Winks, 88), Dele, Son (sub Sissoko, 70); Kane
Subs to used:- Vorm; Walker-Peters; Oakley-Boothe; Janssen
Burnley (4-2-3-1):- Heaton (Capt.); Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward; Cork, Defour (sub Westwood, 81); Gudmundsson (sub Wood, 57), Arfield, Brady; Vokes (sub Barnes, 57)
Subs not used:- Pope; Taylor, Bardsley; Long
Spurs pay the price for lack of initiative
Call it a sucker punch if you like, but Spurs paid the price for a lack of initiative, and a failure to take advantage of their domination in most areas, such as shots on goal, possession, and corners. In truth, Dele Alli was the only Spurs player who truly looked as if he had the ability to make something happen, and he did give us a 49th minute lead. This lead should have been the foundation for a convincing win, but Burnley had a game plan, and in the latter stages Spurs fans were grateful to Lloris for a tackle outside his area, and a save which pushed the ball into the post and out for a corner. Hugo was not able to stop Burnley's record signing Chris Wood grabbing an added time equaliser though, and with only one point from two home games, it has to be regarded as a poor start to the season for Spurs.
Davidson Sanchez made the bench, and was presented to the 67,862 crowd before the game, along with our only other confirmed signing - third choice keeper Paulo Gazzaniga. Sanchez even got a debut after the late, late equaliser, but that was all too late to redeem the situation for Spurs.
The East end of Wembley stadium was drenched in sunshine at the start of the game, and I have to surmise that Burnley turned us round so that Hugo had to deal with that sunshine. Spurs kicked off and played towards the West Stand, with Burnley skipper and keeper Tom Heaton in shadow.
By my reckoning, neither keeper had to make a save of note in the first half hour of the game. Sean Dyche's men were disciplined and got men behind the ball, making it difficult for Spurs to break through, whilst (like too many teams against us) they often seemed to find space behind our lines. It's an old story, but Spurs' game is too often all too readable, what with the persistence in passing backwards, and also passing short from the back, putting ourselves under pressure. There are too many games and too many times when I get tired of this Pochettino style. I want to be thrilled, and excited by my team. That didn't happen today.
Spurs legend Cliff Jones had tweeted today that it would be a crime if Spurs did not win today. Well, as I replied to the great man himself, I was a witness to that crime, along with 67,861 other paying customers.
In the first minute Ben Davies and Harry Kane provided Son Heung-min with a chance, but his attempt was more suited to the Rugby League game which had been played here yesterday. Incidentally, the pitch showed no ill effects of that game.
Hugo Lloris flapped at a Burnley cross after 6 minutes, conceding a corner, and a minute later Jan Vertonghen defended well against Scott Arfield, conceding a throw. Burnley are a team of few stars, but all players with character, such as determination, and 100% effort. Sometimes, Spurs seemed bereft of ideas.
Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen had a one-two entering the area, and Dele provided the final pass for Eriksen's attempt on goal, which was defected for a corner. Spurs had a free kick from the left, taken by Davies, but headed over by Harry Kane, who will go into 2018 without an August Premier League goal to his name. I should have left him out of my fantasy team at least until next month!
Son had a chance after a Jan Vertonghen through ball, but his shot was a) saved and b) offside anyway. Next came a shot by Harry Kane following passes by Eriksen and Dier, but Harry's shot was deflected over for a corner. After two corners, Eric Dier had a header go wide. Burnley had a corner at the other end, but Tarkowski headed wide. After a Spurs corner taken by Son, Heaton saved from Vertonghen and managed to keep the ball in play as the momentum took him along the bye-line.
Son collected a good long ball and passed inside to Dele whose shot was deflected over for another Spurs corner. Skill from Dele led to a cross by Ben Davies, and a shot from Kane, which was blocked winning a corner, from which Dele headed wide.
Spurs appealed for a handball in the area after an Eriksen shot, but got no change out of referee Lee Mason, which was the case for much of the game. Mr. Mason awarded free kicks against Spurs outside the area, which were similar to occasions he had denied Spurs any benefit when committed inside the Burnley area. The referee might not have shown any yellow cards, but he's no friend of mine.
In the closing stages of the first half Gudmundsson was in space on the right, but his shot was well off target.
The much-desired and surely deserved first goal came soon after the start of the second half. Trippier won a corner after chasing Alderweireld's trademark pass, and after one or to touches in the box - one from defender Ben Mee - it was Dele Alli who scored his second goal of the season from a rebound at close range.
Harry Kane had another chance three minutes later after a quick pass from Eriksen, but again it was off target.
Sean Dyche replaced Gudmundsson and Vokes with the strike duo of Ashley Barnes and record signing Chris Wood, who scored 27 goals from 41 Championship games last season with Leeds.
Jan Vertonghen made a clearance which Harry Kane took on, attacking the right channel. Kane's shot was straight at Heaton, and no challenge for Harry's fellow International.
Son was now replaced by Sissoko, who tends to be greeted with a natural scepticism by most Spurs fans.
By this time, Trippier seemed to flag somewhat in terms of stamina, too often being unable to regain his ground from an attacking position. Burnley took full advantage, but Robbie Brady's shot came from the other side, with Hugo diving to his left, conceding a corner, via the post I thought.
Harry Kane had a shot saved at the other no following Ben Davies's low cross, and after a Dembele shot had won a corner, another Kane effort was blocked. Spurs were worth much more than their one goal lead, but would ultimately pay the penalty for not confirming their advantage.
Kane made a good run and passed to Sissoko on his right. Sissoko chipped a ball to Eriksen, but his shot was saved. More failed shots followed by Kane, Sissoko and Dele.
As the game moved towards its close, Hugo Lloris's sweeper-keeper skills were required when he deprived Wood of the ball outside his area with a precious tackle. Hugo then had to save a Wood header after good work by Lowton and Brady.
Four minutes of added time were announced, and we weren't far into that period before Wood made the first down-payment on his £15-16 million pound fee with a shot which beat Lloris to his left, following Brady's through ball.
Davinson Sanchez got a late, late debut, but it was all too late for Spurs. This was a poor result for Spurs who need to be winning games like this if they want to challenge in the same way as they have for the last two years. The fact that Arsenal were thrashed 4-0 at Anfield does nothing for us in truth, when we are under-achieving. Our job is to get results and maintain our recently found status of title contenders. On this form, that looks highly unlikely.
Our next game is in two weeks' time, following the first International break, when we travel to Goodison Park. That will be a stiffer test than today.
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