COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 5th April 2015
VENUE Turf Moor






With an international break behind the two clubs, it will be interesting to see how it affects the respective games of the two sides.  Burnley had gained points off Chelsea with a draw and a win over Manchester City, with Tottenham getting back to winning ways after a defeat at Old Trafford, with a victory over Burnley's relegation rivals Leicester City.  And with results elsewhere on Saturday going for Spurs and against Burnley, it means that there is a lot to play for for both sides. 

Sean Dyche has done very well on a limited budget with the promoted side, but the Clarets have suffered with the depth of resources of other clubs.  Some star performers have come to light, with Danny Ings being the name touted for both England honours and a move to a bigger Premier League club. Others who have done well are George Boyd, who had previous PL experience and has chipped in with five goals as has Ashley Barnes, who recently took the headlines as Jose Mourinho's bete noire. 

Tom Heaton has not performed the heroics he did at Cardiff City to help them stay up and goalkeeping duties have been shared with Matt Wilks.  Both keeper have been kept busy, but need to be at their best to keep everything out.  The defence in front of them work hard, with Ben Mee at centre half playing well and Kieran Trippier keen to attack from full back, but the likes of Michael Duff, Steven Reid, Jason Shackell and  and Stephen Ward are all relying on their experience rather than their legs at this stage of their careers.

Our former midfielder Dean Marney is also reaching the latter end of his career, but he is as fit as ever and chases every shadow and every lost cause.  Matthew Taylor and David Jones have played many game sin the Prem, but have seen better days, leaving the likes of Scott Arfield, Michael Kightly and the above mentioned Boyd and Marney to make things happen from midfield.  Ross Wallace is a good dead ball expert, but is another who is playing out his Premier League days.  There is not enough variety in the middle of the park and that have a bearing on their low goals scored tally.

Ings has done well with nine goals with few chances made for him each match, but Barnes alongside him is a player who is physical and can score from any angle, so Michel Vorm will need to be on his toes, as he had to be a couple of times against Leicester last time out.  Sam Vokes is back from injury and was a regular scorer for Wolverhampton Wanderers before his move to Turf Moor, being good in the air and a decent player with the ball at his feet too.  Marvin Sordell has had few opportunities in the first eleven, but did score a cracker in the FA Cup replay at the Lane earlier this season and if he gets on the pitch, he needs to be watched, as he can run  at players to commit them.  The other option up top is Lucas Jutkiewicz, who is a strong target man, who Ings could play off, as he does Barnes.  Jutkiewicz scored goals at Coventry City and Middlesbrough, but has been knocking around for a long time now and hasn't been a goal-scoring fixture at any of the clubs he has been with.

All eyes will be on Harry Kane to see how teams deal with him and I am sure there would have been a lot of attention paid to the Italian tactics employed to stop him.  Not all were legal and not all worked, as he dealt with the situation well and without getting worked up.  However, the Burnley manager will have a plan to prevent Kane getting into goal-scoring positions, but he might not be able to do so for the whole game, so it will be a question of how many chances come Harry's way and how many he takes.  What that does is leave others to make the most of the attention being on our man of the moment.  If they double up on Kane, that should leave space for others.  If they close him down quickly, a quick lay-off could put another white shirt through.  If they get too close and foul around the area, that gives Christian Eriksen a chance from a dead ball situation.

Spurs will need to dictate the game and with a fast start, as they had against Leicester, this will draw Burnley out as they need to get something from their home games.  Such a situation could play into Tottenham's hands, as they can pick the home team off on the break, but they need to work hard to establish that position where they can run the game they want (game management I think they call it now).  SO, maybe Kane won't be on the score-sheet for once, but the side should go on to record a win that could potentially take them into fifth position, if they approach the game with the right attitude.

We can't afford slip-ups and while Burnley will be going for the jugular, a controlled performance, such as the one at West Brom or QPR, should see the three points heading White Hart Lane way.

PREDICTION Burnley    1         Tottenham Hotspur    3
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Roberto Soldado faces a late fitness test on his injured knee and Hugo Lloris is ruled out with his knee injury, so Michel Vorm will start in goal.

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Burnley  0 (0)                                                                                  Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)
Premier League
Sunday 5th April 2015                                                                                                                 Kick off 13:30
Turf Moor
None None
Trippier (foul on Rose)  68
Mee (foul on Lamela)  78





Crowd :   18,829 Weather :  Sunny, warm
Referee :  Martin Atkinson (W. Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. M. Mullarkey; Mr. S. Child
Fourth Official :  Robert Madley -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Jimmy McIlroy end in the first half.
Game time : -  90+6 minutes.
Burnley : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Tom HEATON

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER     
  Michael DUFF
  5  Jason SHACKELL (c)
  Ben MEE     

37  Scott ARFIELD
  David JONES

30  Ashley BARNES
9  Sam VOKES  (19  Lucas JUTKIEWICZ 76)
21  George BOYD

10  Danny INGS

Unused subs: 
22  Matt GILKS
23  Stephen WARD
25  Michael KEANE
  Marvin SORDELL
  Fredrik ULVESTAD
11  Michael KIGHTLY

  13  Michel VORM

  2  Kyle WALKER (33  Ben DAVIES 47)
15  Eric DIER
  3  Danny ROSE

42  Nabil BENTALEB
38  Ryan MASON (17  Andros TOWNSEND 83)

23  Christian ERIKSEN
22  Nacer CHADLI  (11 
Erik LAMELA 64)

18  Harry KANE (c)

Unused subs: 
25  Brad FRIEDEL

21  Benjamin STAMBOULI
  9  Roberto SOLDADO


Manager :  Sean Dyche Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Fun88 Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Puma Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Tottenham's tepid performance on a hot day in Burnley consigned any faint hopes of a Champions League placing in the Premier League table and kept Burnley's faint hopes of Premier League survival alive with the 0-0 draw helping neither club in achieving their aims.

After his fine couple of weeks with a hat-trick for Spurs and a debut goal for England, Harry Kane was handed the captain's armband, with just a couple of changes as Michel Vorm took the gloves, Vlad Chirches replaced the ill Jan Vertonghen and Paulinho replaced Andros Townsend in midfield.

While Tottenham looked reasonably comfortable in possession, their early passing was a bit loose and that was exemplified in the fifth minute when Ryan mason was given the ball under pressure. It was knocked away from him by Boyd and it ran to Ings, in on the edge of the box and while Bentaleb and Dier pressurised him, his shot was straight at Vorm, whereas another yard either side of the stand-in keeper and it would have given Burnley the lead. It was worrying, as the mistake was at the end of Spurs having the ball high up the field on our right wing.

Tottenham's first shot in the 14th minute was a weak effort from 25 yards by Chadli, straight at Heaton, as the game got a little bogged down in midfield, but a minute later, the Belgian's shot from the left of centre forced a diving stop from the keeper, as it bounced just in front of him. Burnley threatened with a long free-kick from the left which found Barnes running unmarked around the back and volleying it back into the middle. Luckily for Spurs, Ings failed to get a touch on the ball and it was blocked and cleared.

Rose had a long shot fly a yard wide of the angle of the Burnley goal and then Mason disappointingly dragged a shot across goal after a move that passed the ball from back to front to create the opening. Spurs had a good break when Walker broke up a Burnley move and then went for a return pass from Eriksen, but it was a little too close to Kyle and the momentum was lost as the ball got stuck under his feet, ending with Mason being caught offside.

Vokes headed a free-kick well over Vorm's goal, Kane pulled a shot wide as he was closed down and a short corner routine worked a shooting chance for Eriksen, but a deflection made it an easier save for Heaton. A long high ball into the Tottenham box saw the ball drop for Boyd to strike from 20 yards, but it went wide. Just before the half-time break, Ings found himself 20 yards out and curled a shot towards the top left hand corner of Vorm's goal, but the keeper dived up to tip it over for a corner.

Walker came out for the second half limping (after Trippier's studs caught him on the foot just before the interval) and last all of 45 seconds before he was replaced by Davies. This shuffled Chiriches to right back, with Ben going in alongside Dier in the middle. Tottenham survived two hopeful handball shouts by Burnley players and started to build forward moves without the pace of Walker on the right. Vokes got away with an elbow into Dier's face, as referee Martin Atkinson had another game up to his usual low standard.

When play restarted, Burnley played a long ball down the right wing and trying to keep the ball in and put it into the box, Ings' ball forced Vorm to tip it over as it looked like it might drop under the bar. Spurs were getting caught in possession, with Vokes taking the ball away from Chadli and putting a low ball in to the near post, where it was missed, but it hit Chiriches in the chest and luckily Vorm was able to get it as it dropped towards goal. The keeper made a save from an early taken shot by Barnes, then the same player latched onto a knock down by Vokes, but fired it way over the height of three goals.

Vorm looked more uncertain when he came for a hanging ball in the box and didn't get there. Pochettino brought on Lamela for Chadli, who hadn't done too much in the match, which was a surprise, as the Spurs game seemed to need an injection of pace, with the passing having been crowded out by the Burnley players. Then Spurs gave them a taste of their own medicine, blocking Ings on the edge of the box from a corner and breaking with pace, but Eriksen was denied by Arfield as he tried to go past him 30 yards out from goal. The Dane got the ball centrally 25 yards out and ran to the right of the box, hitting a 20 yard shot at goal, but it rose over the bar. Kane then did really well to get his way past tight to the line, but his pull back was behind everyone and Rose got onto it 28 yards out and blazed his shot too high.

Spurs were looking more confident in their attacks and when they had numbers forward, Paulinho burst towards the box and then it all went wrong. He virtually toe ended a shot that went ten yards wide when he might have been looking to hit it with the outside of his foot.

Burnley were going for the goal they need for points at the bottom of the table, but a number of crosses and corners came to little and their players were still closing Spurs down until the end. Tottenham did have one chance when the ball fell to Bentaleb outside the box as a corner was cleared, but his volley went well wide of the goal.

With the clock reaching 90 minutes, a long throw for Burnley found Ings winning the bouncing ball near the dead ball line and he got it back for Boyd, who put his header just the wrong side of the far post with Vorm scrambling for it. Davies did well to hold off Ings, after being barged in the back and won a goal-kick when he had been one on one with the Burnley forward.

And that was about that for a disappointing 0-0 draw as far as Spurs were concerned. It was a slow paced performance which has led to points dropped elsewhere this season for Tottenham. The problem seems to me to be on the right side of midfield, where the player there goes missing and leaves us out-numbered. This means that a lot of the moves go up the left wing and makes our play easy to read.

With Walker going off, Chiriches did make a couple of moves into the opposition half, but his delivery was poor as his passing had been at the back. He appears to be a lackadaisical player and this shows when his passing looks like it has no thought behind it or intent to it.

Paulinho did himself no favours with his display. He ran about a lot, but when he got the ball, it was usually to knock it backwards. I accept that you should play the way you are facing most of the time, but there were opportunities for him to turn towards the Burnley goal, although when he was heading in that direction, his finish was appalling.

The result was neither fish nor foul and left both sides disappointed with the outcome, although Burnley had the better of the chances.  Spurs will need to buck their ideas up for the final few games ... not in the hope of getting anything like a fourth place at the end of the season, but with a lot of the games left being against sides in the bottom half, because it will be embarrassing to let the season tail off without putting these sides away.  Besides, it will be good practice for next season, when we will have to do that a lot better than we have done this season.

The Heathrow Spur



It is a little known fact that the ground where Burnley play their football was once an area that was bereft of grass, until they turfed the moor ... giving their stadium it's current name.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 4 Liverpool 1 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Stoke City 1 Saturday
Everton 1 Southampton 0 Saturday
Leicester City 2 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Swansea City 3 Hull City 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 1 QPR 4 Saturday
Sunderland 1 Newcastle United 0 Sunday
Crystal Palace 2 Manchester City 1 Monday
Aston Villa 3 QPR 3 Tuesday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 30 21 7 2 64 26 70 +38
2 Arsenal 31 19 6 6 62 32 63 +30
3 Manchester United 31 18 8 5 55 28 62 +27
4 Manchester City 31 18 7 6 63 30 61 +33
5 Liverpool 31 16 6 9 45 36 54 +9
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 31 16 6 9 50 45 54 +5
7 Southampton 31 16 5 10 41 22 53 +19
8 Swansea City 31 13 7 11 37 39 46 -2
9 West Ham United 31 11 9 11 40 40 42 0
10 Stoke City 31 12 6 13 36 40 42 -4
11 Crystal Palace 31 10 9 12 38 42 39 -4
12 Everton 31 9 10 12 39 42 37 -3
13 Newcastle United 31 9 8 14 32 48 35 -16
14 West Bromwich Albion 31 8 9 14 28 43 33 -15
15 Aston Villa 32 7 8 17 23 45 29 -22
16 Sunderland 31 5 14 12 24 44 29 -20
17 Hull City 31 6 10 15 29 43 28 -14
18 Burnley 31 5 11 15 26 48 26 -22
19 QPR 32 7 5 20 38 58 26 -20
20 Leicester City 30 5 7 18 29 49 22 -20

Position before match :  7th
Position after match :  6th
Position after the weekend :  6th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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