SUNDAY 18th DECEMBER, 2018
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(1) BURNLEY 1(1)
Referee:- Kevin Friend
Assistants:- M. Scholes & D. Eaton
Fourth official:- S. Attwell
Spurs (4-1-3-2):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose (sub Davies, 77); Wanyama; Eriksen, Winks, Dembele (sub Sissoko, 63); Kane, Alli (sub Son, 73)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Wimmer; Nkoudou
Booked:- Sissoko (foul on Ward)
Burnley (4-2-3-1):- Heaton (Capt.); Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward; Marney (sub Defour, 84), Hendrick; Boyd (sub Kightly, 83), Barnes (sub Vokes, 80), Arfield; Gray
Subs not used:- Robinson; Flanagan, Tarkowski; Darikwa
Booked:- Barnes (foul on Dembele), Lowton (foul on Kane)
Some people like a Poinsettia at Christmas. Personally, I like an English Rose.
As Christmas time approaches, many households are decorated with the traditional Poinsettia indoor flower. Spurs are festooned with not one but several English roses, and today, one of them - left back Danny Rose - scored the crucial second half goal which gave Spurs the three points they craved from a fixture which was never as easy as some people no doubt anticipated.
Rose scored the winner but he is not the only English Rose in our team which features no less than five English International players. Another of those five (Dele Alli) scored a fine goal in the first half, after Burnley's Ashley Barnes had given his side firstly a surprise goal and secondly a surprise lead. After all, Sean Dyche's side have only managed one goal in all their previous away games this season, and never had the lead! Such was the rarity of the event that the ardent Burnley fans sang about it!
Spurs never had an easy ride today, and the visiting fans gave their all to urge their team on to success.
Spurs fans were disappointed about the absence of Toby Alderweireld, who was reported to be suffering a "slight" back problem. I suspect that he is being eased back into action after his recent period of absence, and hope to see him play against his old team (Southampton) on December 28th.
Eric Dier fell back to take Alderweireld's place, but I felt that neither he or partner Jan Vertonghen were too strong or confident against the strength and urgency shown by Burnley's Barnes and Gray.
Mauricio Pochettino reverted to a traditional formation which I perceived to be 4-1-3-2, with Victor Wanyama behind Eriksen, Winks and Dembele, and Harry Kane and Dele Alli up front. At times, we looked like a 4-3-3, with Eriksen enjoying some freedom of movement.
Extraordinary delays at the south-east corner of the ground meant that I missed the kick-off and the first 5 minutes of the game, so I cannot tell you anything about that. Spurs had kicked off towards the Paxton Road stand, so they had presumably turned Burnley round to play towards their own fans in the first half. This seemed to fire both players and fans up, giving Spurs plenty to think about, without bothering Lloris too much.
Spurs had a good attack after 7 minutes through Kane and Eriksen, which ended with a Kane cross/shot which passed dangerously across the goalmouth. A shot by Eriksen was deflected (by a defensive header) for a corner, going out to the right of Heaton's goal.
Kyle Walker had an excellent game today, but he did make a couple of errors, one of which led to the Burnley goal. Firstly though, Kyle failed against Stephen Ward, whose cross got to Andre Gray, who did bring a good save from Hugo. A follow-up effort resulted in a Spurs goal kick.
A Danny Rose effort was deflected for a corner, from which Wanyama's header went wide. Eriksen fed a ball down the right channel to Kane, who had his shot also deflected for a corner, after which goalkeeper Heaton saved from Harry Winks, who was making only his second Premier League start.
Winks was involved in the play building up to the Burnley goal, but was caught out after Kyle Walker had dipped out more than once in his challenges when the ball was crossed from the left at short range for Barnes to finish. Winks had been put in a difficult position here, (thanks to Walker) and on one other occasion I noted by Wanyama. Otherwise, I would describe Harry's passing as not only 100% accurate, but often with good power too.
Six minutes after conceding, Spurs got back on level terms after an attack in which the ball was passed from left to right, before Kyle Walker's accurate pass was hit first time by Dele Alli from a central position beating Heaton to his left. Dele had another chance soon after, following good build-up play by Spurs and good skills by that man Walker. Kyle gave Dele a pass, which resulted in an early shot on goal, but this passed just over the far corner.
In a reversal of positions, Danny Rose, in a central spot, fed the ball to Dembele, whose attempt on goal was quite woeful. In the Spurs half, Jan Vertonghen was penalised and Arfield took the free kick which passed clear of any danger.
Harry Kane had another chance after a pass from Alli, but goalkeeper Heaton saved with his feet. In addition time Wanyama had an effort held, after good work by Rose who got to the bye-line before crossing.
Early in the second half, there was a chance for Eriksen, after good work by Dembele on the left. Eriksen's shot landed in the net.
Andre Gray seemed to get the better of Jan Vertonghen on the break, but the ball ran to Hugo Lloris. At the other end Danny Rose crossed and put the ball on the head of Eriksen, but Heaton saved. Burnley fans were by now chanting ”England's Number One" about the twice-capped keeper. Former Spur and 41-capped Englsnd goalkeeper Paul Robinson was on the bench for Burnley.
A deep cross from the left by Stephen Ward was met beyond the back post by Barnes, and had to be saved by Lloris. Spurs responded with a move which ended in Dembele slipping the ball to Alli, whose right foot shot curled just beyond the far post to the left of the keeper. Dembele was soon to be replaced by Sissoko, who was quickly to be involved in some controversy.
First though, Heaton had to make a great one-handed save, diving to his left to keep out Eriksen's shot after another Danny Rose cross. Dele Alli tried a shot from 22 yards, after an Eriksen pass, but this was fodder for Heaton.
Sissoko then got booked for a foul on Ward, and post match comment suggests this was a high tackle and could have resulted in red. This was not evident from my position. The fact is that referee Kevin Friend saw the incident and decided upon yellow. Spurs had to defend the resultant free kick quite desperately, and it was Harry Kane at the back who hit a clearance, beautifully dummied by Danny Rose to enable Sissoko to make a powerful run forward down the centre, before returning the ball to Rose on his left. Danny came inside and hit a great shot which beat Heaton's right hand.
Dele Alli was replaced by Son. By now Spurs had reverted to a 4-2-3-1 with Winks falling in beside Wanyama. Son was given a chance after another great powerful Sissoko run, but "Sonny" could only push the shot wide.
Danny Rose went off to a great ovation and was replaced by Ben Davies, who was teed up by Kane, but he hit the shot well over. Subsequently, Davies fed a ball to Son, who had a shot on goal from a tight angle on the left, saved by Heaton.
Spurs saw out the four minutes of added time with little bother. Some of us (me included) anticipated an easier ride today, but it didn't go that way, with Burnley showing plenty of fighting spirit. Arsenal's defeat at Man City (their second consecutive defeat) leaves them just one point ahead of Spurs, but of course they now have two home games, while we travel to Southampton and Watford.
Liverpool, who play at Goodison Park tomorrow, are also just one point ahead of us, so I hope for an Everton home win in that game.
I would like to take this early opportunity of wishing all Spurs Odyssey readers a very happy Christmas and I thank you for all your support. We have a full 10 days now before our game at Southampton, which almost amounts to a Winter break, doesn't it? You could fill the time by visiting codigo-promocional-apuestas.es for various gaming offers.
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