My sincere thanks go to Declan Mulcahy for this match report. Publication has been delayed because of my personal commitments. The report is published as written, after tonight's marvellous result at Newcastle, which leaves Spurs needing just one point at Norwich to guarantee Champions League football next season!
Sunday 15 May 2022
Tottenham Hotspur (1) 1 Burnley (0) 0
Kane 45+8 (pen)
Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-2-1):
1 H Lloris (c); 6 D SŠnchez, 15 E Dier, 33 B Davies; 12 Emerson Royal
(14 J Rodon 90), 30 R Bentancur, 5 P-E HÝjbjerg, 19 R Sessegnon; 27 Lucas Moura (21 D Kulusevski 79), 7 H-M Son, 10 H Kane
Subs not used: 22 P Gollini, 40 B Austin, 8 H Winks, 42 H White, 51 Matthew Craig, 23 S Bergwijn, 44 D Scarlett
Booked: Lucas Moura (49 foul on Taylor), Lloris (86 time-wasting), Kulusevski (90+4 foul on Taylor)
Burnley (5-3-2): Mike Jackson
1 N Pope; 14 C Roberts, 28 K Long, 22 N Collins, 2 M Lowton (17 A Lennon 78). 3 C Taylor; 8 J Brownhill, 4 J Cork (c), 11 D McNeil; 20 M Cornet, 10 A Barnes (9 W Weghorst 78)
Subs not used: 13 W Hennessey,26 P Bardsley, 37 B Thomas, 39 O Dodgson, 35 A Mancini, 44 D Costelloe, 49 J McGlynn
Booked: Roberts (27 dissent, kicked ball away), Pope (45+8 dissent over penalty)
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Attendance: 61,729
Referee:- Kevin Friend
Assistant Referees: Simon Beck, Adrian Holmes
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper
VAR: Stuart Attwell
Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes.
Hard earned win keeps Spurs challenge for Champions League football alive
This was Spurs third game in eight days and the second in sixty hours. An away draw at Anfield, a totally dominant win in the north London derby and a less impressive win today represent an excellent return as Spurs seek to qualify for next seasonís Champions League.
Spurs made one change from Thursday night with Lucas Moura replacing Kulusevski and there were two goalkeepers among the substitutes. Both were surprises until it was revealed after the game that four players Hugo Lloris, Pierluigi Gollini, Harry Winks and Dejan Kulusevski had suffered stomach upsets since the Arsenal game. Lloris was adjudged well enough to start while the other three were selected as substitutes.
Burnley have been revitalised since the interim manager Mike Jackson replaced the long-term custodian Sean Dyche in mid-April. He drew his first game against West Ham before morale boosting wins against Southampton, Wolves and Burnley but lost the fifth match at home to Aston Villa. Nonetheless Burnley entered this game with some belief.
Burnley made three changes from last weekendís defeat. Tarkowski joined Mee on the injury list. With their two usual central defenders absent Lowton and Long formed part of three central defenders in a back five with Lennon also dropping out and Cornet replacing Weghorst up front.
Even a point would make a huge difference to Burnleyís position and it was very clear that they had come to play for a draw. They were quite happy to cede the ball in their own half. By the time that Spurs reached the edge of the Burnley box they were generally confronted by nine defenders inside the area. Under the circumstances clear cut chances were hard to create.
Moura and Sessegnon set Kane up for a couple of headers one of which stretched Pope to a diving save. Davies and Emerson Royal tried long range efforts the latter of which Pope tipped over the bar. Much of the time Spurs were camped close to the Burnley box but were frustrated by the sheer numbers of defenders blocking the way.
Burnley displayed a little more ambition in the second quarter. A cross from Taylor looked bound for McNeilís head but Sessegnon out jumped him to prevent an attempt on goal.
Cornet had the clearest opportunity of the first half. He cut in from the left with only Lloris to beat. However the latter advanced to narrow the angle and made a fine save.
Burnley started running down the clock early in the game. They were awarded a free kick after about five minutes and Pope took an age to launch the ball up field. With some ten minutes left in the first half Cornet went down injured with a flesh wound to his head. It took a long time for it to be treated and get him off the pitch and the home crowd were understandably frustrated.
As the first half ended the fourth official indicated an additional four minutes. Midway through this period Lucas Moura set Kane up with a cross from the right but Kane shot wide with what was Spurs best chance of the half so far. The crowd groaned with frustration but it soon became apparent that all was not lost.
VAR was investigating a potential handball. The images showed that in the build-up to Kaneís attempt the ball had deflected off Sanchez. It had hit Barnes who was fairly close to him but his arm was outstretched at shoulder level. VAR referee Stuart Attwell advised referee Kevin Friend to consult the pitch side monitor and he duly awarded a penalty. Kaneís penalty was perfectly placed in the left corner and the Burnley goalkeeper Pope didnít even move.
Kane has missed a few penalties during his career but mostly he has been extremely reliable. In the course of the last sixty hours Spurs were awarded a penalty in each game with both matches still scoreless. In each game Kane delivered a textbook penalty which was pivotal in gaining the victory.
Based on what happened in the second half Jackson surely told his team at half time that they needed to equalise. Conte probably told his players to hold on to what they had and that they didnít need to push hard for a second goal provided they didnít concede.
Burnley were more adventurous in the second half. They had two free kicks near the Spurs box in the first five minutes both taken by McNeil. Both fell to Burnley players but Long sent his header wide and Collins headed over the bar.
Kane had a reasonable chance but his shot was high.
Barnes was involved in the two pivotal moments of the game. The first when he conceded the penalty. Around the hour mark McNeil set him up on the edge of the box. He unleashed a shot which cannoned of the left post with Lloris beaten.
Sessegnon on the left created two good chances for Son but the latter was unable to close the one-goal gap with Salah for the Golden Boot. Pope made good saves each time the first at his near post and the second with his arm.
Former Spurs player Aaron Lennon came on as a substitute for Burnley after 78 minutes to huge applause which was fitting given his fine service to Spurs for many years.
Burnley sought an equaliser for the remainder of the game but never seriously threatened Spurs.
The result keeps Spurs in the hunt for a Champions League position. It is still Arsenalís to lose but their remaining games against Newcastle (away) and Everton (home) are more challenging than Spurs remaining game away to already relegated Norwich. If Spurs win their last match and Arsenal donít win both of theirs, the prize goes to Spurs, so there is still hope. (Ed:- After Newcastle 2 Arsenal 0, Spurs need only a draw at Norwich to qualify for The Champions League!)
The outcome wasnít good for Burnley who dropped into the relegation zone after Leeds United scored a goal in time added on to draw with Brighton and move a point ahead of Burnley. The latter have the better goal difference which may save them in the end.
The position Spurs find themselves in now is a huge credit to Antonio Conte. He took over a demoralised team at the beginning of November without the benefit of the vital pre-season training. A league table of the matches played since he took over shows Spurs in third place behind Manchester City and Liverpool not only in points but also goals scored and least goals conceded.
This is a considerable achievement. Hopefully over the close season Conte and the clubís senior management can find common ground to build on the strong foundations put in place since he arrived and progress even further.
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