COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 18th December 2015
VENUE White Hart Lane
2.  Matthew LOWTON
5.  Michael KEANE
6.  Ben MEE
7.  Andre GRAY
8.  Dean MARNEY
9.  Sam VOKES
10.  Ashley BARNES
11.  Michael KIGHTLY
13.  Jeff HENDRICK
15.  Patrick BAMFORD
16.  Steven DEFOUR
17.  Paul ROBINSON
21.  George BOYD
23.  Stephen WARD
25.  Johann Berg GUDMUNDSSON
26.  James TARKOWSKI
27.  Tendayi DARIKWA
28.  Kevin LONG
29.  Nick POPE
36.  Conor MITCHELL
37.  Scott ARFIELD
41.  Aiden O'NEILL
PREVIEW Burnley manager Sean Dyche has got his team well drilled and with one of the smallest squads in the Premier League, he is making the most of the resources available to him.   Having been promoted and not spent millions, as is the club's prudent approach, they have been picking up points and while not great away from home, Dyche has made them difficult to play against. 

England keeper Tom Heaton will get plenty to do this season, as he aims to prove he is a contender for Joe Hart's position in the national team.  A good shot stopper, he is at the mercy of the back four in front of him, but they are reliant on him when players get through, as they have enough height to deal with crosses without him committing himself.  Lowton (the former Villa right back) and Ward (ex-Wolves) flank Mee and Keane in the middle.  Both centre-halves are happy in the air, but have issues on the floor with and without the ball.  If Spurs put in a performance like they did against Swansea City, then they could get pulled out of position, leaving holes for Dele to run into.  The full backs like to get forward and are not the quickest, so another area Tottenham might make the most of if they perform.  In reserve they have Liverpool loanee Jon Flanagan, who looks like he won't make the grade at Anfield, Tendayi Dariwa - a strong full back, the tall Irish centre back Kevin Long and in goal, the former promising Charlton Athletic keeper Nick Pope and our own former favourite Paul Robinson, who will get a great reception coming back to the Lane.

In midfield, Burnley are blessed with a number of wide players in George Boyd, Andre Gray and Michael Kightly, with Boyd usually first choice, but Gray has strength and has been a regular scorer since his Brentford days.  Kightly has dropped down the pecking list, but is a player who might have a point to prove, having been dismissed by Spurs as a junior.  In Republic of Ireland international Jeff Hendrick, Burnley have their record signing and he proved his worth with a spectacular strike against Bournemouth.  A dynamic midfielder, he arrived from Derby County and is looking to prove he is worth his price tag, but whether he can tame the Spurs midfield, he will need other team-mates to track the Tottenham midfielders' movement.  The engine room of the side will feature one of Belgian international Steven Defour, ex-Spur Dean Marney or Canadian Scott Arfield.  Defour was a target for some of the top clubs a few years back and while he is not as young as he was then, he is still a formidable opponent.  A tough tackler and having had a tough time at Anderlecht and having lost his place in the national team, he wanted to enjoy playing again and test himself in the Premier League, so is another player with a lot to prove.  Marney is still going strong and covers a lot of ground doing the necessary closing down and tackling, but he won't have easy time against the Spurs team under Pochettino, who run teams ragged.  Arfield is another tough opponent, who likes to get forward and can score if he is around the box, while Johann Gudmundsson featured in Iceland's side in Euro 2016.  A player who can be an annoying  terrier of a player and would be cast in the same mould as Arfield and Marney.

The Burnley attack focuses on Sam Vokes, the Welsh international striker, who possesses strength and height.  Very good at attacking the ball in the air, he is able to hold up play and bring team-mates into the game, so he will give Toby and Jan a test.  Chelsea loan forward Patrick Bamford usually gets a look in from the bench, as does former Austrian Under-20 international Ashley Barnes.  Both have hit the target over the years, but lack the pace that Vokes can work up once he gets going, but if called upon, they will be looking to stake their claim for a place in the busy New Year schedule of matches.

The games they have won this season have normally been against bottom half teams, which you have to do if you hope to stay up, but they have beaten Liverpool and Everton and took a point away from Old Trafford.  Narrow defeats by Manchester City and Arsenal show that they can set up to be hard to get past.  Spurs will need to hit the ground running and make inroads into their box, using the wide positions that Walker and Rose or Trippier and Davies take up.  I think Pochettino will go with his tried and trusted full backs, with a break coming up before our next game, unless they have suffered a reaction in the recent matches.  Jan and Toby will need to be alert at set-pieces, as the height in the visitors' side could cause issues and Dyche will work on that aspect of their play, as they don't score a lot of goals, so will be looking to maximise their set plays.

Spurs should take the points, but they need to work hard to do so and it looks like they are just kicking into gear. As long as they don't put in Old Trafford performance, then I expect them to run out with a win to go into Christmas with a nice present.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    3         Burnley    1
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with Burnley
Mousa Dembele (foot) and Vincent Janssen (ankle) face late fitness tests and Erik Lamela is definitely still out with his hip injury.

Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Monday 22.45 (highlights)  Also available online.

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Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)                                                                        Burnley  1 (1)
Premier League
Sunday 18th December 2015                                                                                                                            Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
Dele  26m 22s
Rose  70m 25s
Barnes  20m 55s
Sissoko (foul on Ward)  70


Barnes  (foul on Dembele)  28
Lowton  (foul on Kane)  90+3


Crowd :   31,467 Weather :  Chilly
Referee :  Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. M. Scholes; Mr. D. Eaton
Fourth Official :  Stuart Atwell -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 9 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Burnley : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
15  Eric DIER
  3  Danny ROSE    (33  Ben DAVIES  77)

12  Victor WANYAMA
29  Harry WINKS

17  Mousa DEMBELE  (17  Moussa SISSOKO  63     )
20  DELE Alli    (  7  Heung-Min SON  73)
23  Christian ERIKSEN

10  Harry KANE

Unused subs: 
12  Michel VORM
27  Kevin WIMMER
14  Georges-KEVIN N'KOUDOU

    1  Tom HEATON  (c)

  2  Matthew LOWTON     
  Michael KEANE
  6  Ben MEE 
  Stephen WARD

21  George BOYD  (11  Michael KIGHTLY  83)
  Dean MARNEY  (16  Steven DEFOUR  84)

  7  Andre GRAY

  Ashley BARNES         (  9  Sam VOKES  80)

Unused subs: 
27  Tendiya DARIKWA

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

The arrival of a team who haven't won away all season is always a working game for Spurs fans.  Burnley's one point away from Turf Moor came at Old Trafford and for a while, it looked as thought they might travel North with a second. However, their failure to take the few chances they made cost them anything from this match and Spurs fired in 30 shots, but the most vital statistic from the game was the two goals they scored to the one of Burnley.

With Toby Alderweireld missing with a back injury, Eric Dier stepped into the middle of a traditional back four and Dembele returned in a midfield three with Wanyama and Winks. The change in the back four and our intention to keep playing the ball out from the back only put us under pressure. Burnley were pressing high up the pitch in the first half, so, making time on the ball short and possession was turned over too often. Lloris had already made a brilliant stop from Gray, whose close range shot should have gone in, but he hit it straight at the keeper, who got his legs in the way to divert the effort wide, before a comedy of defensive errors gave them the chance to take the lead again. Winks won the ball well, but then played Walker into trouble. Arfield took the ball off him, tried to play it into Boyd in the box, but it bounced off Winks, then off Dembele to allow Barnes to prod in from inside the six yard box to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

It was a sloppy goal and one that was of our own making, so, as so often with Tottenham, we make life difficult for ourselves.

Before that Spurs had looked dangerous at the other end.  Ninety seconds in Kane set up Alli, who tried to either curl or chip one into the far top corner from the right corner of the box, but ended up hitting the ball high over the goal.  Harry Kane looked sharp, with a shot blocked by Keane after Walker had gone on a run of over half the length of the pitch, then, when Rose's shot was charged down, the Spurs striker drove a shot across Heaton but just wide.  It looked for a moment that Christian Eriksen's fierce drive was going in, until Keane got his head to it to deflect it wide and from the corner, Christian drove an effort wide.  Then came Lloris' first save, doing what he does so well in getting something in the way, before the Spurs attacks started again, with Rose again shooting on sight and the ball came off a defender for a corner.  It found Wanyama and the ball ran beyond the far post, where Dele managed to get a shot on it that bounced off the outside of the foot of the post.  Kane had a shot deflected wide and then Winks drove a powerful; effort at goal and Heaton had to pat it down before taking it into his arms. 

The goals came within six minutes of each other, so Burnley's lead didn't last too long.  It was the 26th minute when Tottenham passed the ball across the pitch from left to right and Walker attacked Ward, pulling the ball back across the box to where Dele Alli ran in to shoot past Heaton, with the defenders standing like statues.  The ball in and the run were perfect for each other and dele didn't have to break his stride to shoot home. 

This presaged a phase of play that saw Spurs going forward with a renewed tempo, creating chances for Kane, Dembele (with a weak shot on his weaker foot) and then Kane again, put through on the right by Dele, hitting a low shot that looked through Heaton's legs, until the ball hit his foot and ricocheted sideways and away.  Winks had a shot blocked and right at the end of added time, Rose's left wing run pulled the ball back for Wanyama to shoot and he hit the target, but the ball didn't possess the power to beat Heaton, who took the ball low down, with the ball virtually straight at him. 

The half-time interval was Christmas themed as Dad and child had to dribble round Christmas trees and then score past Chirpy.  Surprisingly, not many of them could get the ball past the chubby cockerel, but Micky Hazard showed how it should be done and wanted to have a go at the real thing offering his services if Poch was watching.  Burnley had been more adventurous than our previous two opponents at the Lane, but had also worked hard to stop us playing.  e.

Four minutes into the second half, Eriksen struck a wickedly dipping shot that only just cleared the bar, from outside the box, with the width stretching Burnley's defence, as demonstrated by Rose's tenacity, knocking a second ball into the box, where it was met by Eriksen's head, but Heaton was in the right place to take it.  Alli went closer with a curling effort on the hour, before Mousa Dembele made way for Moussa Sissoko.

A free kick by Eriksen was headed out for a corner, which Eriksen took and when the ball came out to Eriksen again, he struck a low shot that Heaton did well to get a good hand on, low down, to stop and Mee hacked the loose ball out.  Burnley had little answer to the attacking Spurs full backs and the crosses were causing the visitors defence lots of problems.  There was a moment of concern when Sissoko went for a high ball with a high boot that caught Ward on the thigh.  I instantly thought he might get a red card, but the referee gave a yellow.  Studs up that high usually mean red, but perhaps he had eyes on the ball and didn't see Ward coming ?  The fact that the summer signing stayed on the pitch was crucial as Spurs went ahead.

Keane went up for a corner, but ended up making a good defensive header as the ball went to the back of the penalty area. He was claiming a foul as he had gone up with a Spurs man and Ben Mee, but with play being waved on, Spurs broke. Rose stepped over the ball on halfway which released Sissoko to outmuscle an opponent and to run on and then play it back left to the full back, who steadied himself before firing powerfully past Heaton at his near post to give Tottenham the lead.  it was a quick breakaway goal, which was so reminiscent of last season's play and showed what Sissoko is capable of doing when he is on the ball. 

Son came on for Dele and with Sissoko running at the defence and Son running in behind them, it gave Spurs fresh impetus to take the game to them.

But Burnley did have chances, with Arfield lifting a high ball onto the top of the net, but Hugo was covering it all the way, but it didn't stop Tottenham going forward, with Son hitting an effort wide and then his run across the pitch set up Walker to cross to the far post, where Kane took the ball down (he thought about hitting it first time on the volley) and then shot into the side-netting at the near post.  Rose was hobbling, so was replaced by Davies, fresh back form injury himself and he was the next to have a shot, firing way over when the goal opened up for him on the left.  Burnley brought on former Spurs junior Michael Kightly and Steven Defour for George Boyd and ex-Tottenham midfielder Dean Mane ... sorry, Marney.

With Burnley looking to get level, when their moves broke down, Tottenham hit them quickly on the break and Sissoko had the legs on their players, picking out Winks at the far post and the youngster laid the ball into the path of Son, who hit the target, but also hit Heaton.  It was the first of three quick corners, but nothing was made of them, but Davies was provided with another shooting opportunity, which got blocked this time. 

As the game came towards the end, Kane looked to break before he was cynically clattered into by Lowton, who might have received a yellow earlier for a challenge on Rose and with almost the last kick, Spurs stood off Kightly, who curled a ball into the box, which wasn't defended well and it went through to Lloris, but substitute Vokes was only inches away from making contact with it that could have poked it home from very close range.  So, not a classic Spurs performance, but one that showed they have some grit about them and that Burnley were not able to keep up the pressing for the whole game, leaving holes for the fitter legs of Tottenham to make use of. 

The post match talk revolved around the possible sending off of Sissoko, but Dyche very cleverly avoided discussing the possibility of Lowton suffering the same fate for two yellows.  The game was about the way the chances were finished and 30 shots from Tottenham was poorly reflected by the number on target ... only 9.  Perhaps looking at individual performances, with Jan having a good game, Hugo being the world class keeper he is, Harry Winks putting in a really good shift, Sissoko and Son impressing off the bench and Danny Rose and Kyle Walker hitting fine form to put the Burnley defence under constant pressure with runs from deep.  Eriksen maintained his good recent form too and could have had a couple of goals. 

As it was a 2-1 win was tight and Burnley look to have more about them than other teams in the bottom half, but they lack the quality to test the top teams on a  regular basis.  The fact that Heaton had such a good game was because Spurs gave him plenty to do.  Lloris was equally as effective but with a lot less to deal with. 

The win keeps Spurs in fifth, but with the Goons losing earlier, it moves us closer to them, but City move Further away having won that game.  We now have a little break until Southampton, so hopefully Toby will be back and Spurs can put on a  display to bring home three more points.

Stanford Rivers




Burnley's founding fathers were a group of fireman from the Lancashire town who believed that running after a football was good practice for running to attend fires.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1 Saturday
Middlesbrough 3 Swansea City 0 Saturday
Stoke City 2 Leicester City 2 Saturday
Sunderland 1 Watford 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Manchester United 2 Saturday
West Ham United London 1 Hull City 0 Saturday
Manchester City 2 Arsenal 1 Sunday
Bournemouth 1 Southampton 3 Sunday
Everton 0 Liverpool 1 Monday


League Table  2016-17
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 17 14 1 2 35 11 43 +24
2 Liverpool 17 11 4 2 41 19 37 +22
3 Manchester City 17 10 3 3 36 20 36 +16
4 Arsenal 17 10 4 3 38 19 34 +19
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 17 9 6 2 29 12 33 +17
6 Manchester United 17 8 6 3 24 17 30 +7
7 Southampton 17 6 6 5 17 16 24 +1
8 West Bromwich Albion 17 6 5 6 23 21 23 +2
9 Everton 17 6 6 6 21 21 23 0
10 Bournemouth 17 6 3 8 23 28 21 -5
11 Stoke City 17 5 6 6 19 24 21 -5
12 Watford 17 6 3 8 21 29 21 -8
13 West Ham United London 17 5 4 8 19 31 19 -12
14 Middlesbrough 17 4 6 7 16 19 18 -3
15 Leicester City 17 4 5 8 23 29 18 -6
16 Burnley 17 5 2 10 16 28 17 -12
17 Crystal Palace 17 4 3 10 28 32 15 -4
18 Sunderland 17 4 2 11 15 28 14 -13
19 Swansea City 17 3 3 11 20 37 12 -17
20 Hull City 17 3 3 11 14 36 12 -22


Position before match :  5th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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


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