In a third-round FA Cup match that was not televised, Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley drew 1-1 at Turf Moor. We did not watch the match because, again, the Football Association is hilariously bad at marketing their marquee competition. But I listened on the radio and have some recap-like thoughts.
Spurs started a heavily rotated lineup from Chelsea, with only the center backs, Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen maintaining their positions.The lineup appears to have been 4-2-3-1 and while it prevented Burnley from attempting a shot in the first half, it also did not produce any shots for Spurs either. Mauricio Pochettino made a very aggressive change at half-time, bringing on Harry Kane for Benjamin Stambouli. It sounded like Paulinho took over Stambouli's place in central midfield as Spurs moved to an open 4-4-2 with Kane partnering Roberto Soldado up top.
The halftime switch paid quick dividends. Spurs attempted (I think) seven shots in the first 15 minutes of the second half, with Harry Kane showing up in the buildup for nearly every one. This pressure paid off in a well-taken goal 56th minute by Nacer Chadli off a Ben Davies cross. Spurs remained on the front foot for about five more minutes, but things got dicey after that.
Soldado came off after 67 minutes with Andros Townsend taking his place. I would think this took Spurs back into something like their initial 4-2-3-1, although the BBC commentators could not be bothered to report on things like formations or for that matter most game events. My best guess is that these subs failed to shore up a midfield of Paulinho and Mousa Dembele, as it sounded like Burnley had little trouble carving through Spurs' midfield during the final half hour of the match.
The Clarets' pressure brought a deserved goal as substitute Sam Vokes knocked home a Michael Kightly cross in the 73rd minute to equalize. Burnley came close to a winner a couple times after that, and then Tottenham nearly won it at the death, but Harry Kane mishit a Ben Davies cross in the final real chance of the match.
The draw means that Tottenham will most likely host Burnley for a replay next Tuesday or Wednesday. Spurs' fixture congestion is looking ugly. There have been several reports of Pochettino looking to trim his squad, but if Daniel Levy leaves the sales until the end of the window, it might be for football reasons as much as finance. This club is going to need warm bodies in January. It would have been better if Spurs had just won that match, but from the sounds of things a draw with Premier League stragglers was a roughly deserved result.