Mark that two of three for dominating performances for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League since the international break, and three of four if one counts the victory against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League. Matches against Swansea and Hull City are an expected and necessary three points, but its still a fantastic sign that Spurs are putting away teams in a comprehensive fashion. And victories like these aren’t always the easiest of feats, we hiccuped with these types of clubs in October and in the early parts of last season too. Since Spurs ascendency over the past decade into a consistent top six side and a perennial top four challenger, its been Tottenham’s depth and inability to breeze through fixtures against teams in the lower rungs of the Premier League that have held them back. Spurs, for the most part, get theirs against the top sides. Its the ability to trounce their lesser opponents which sets the really special Spurs sides apart. We are far from being in that special category yet, and I don’t know if this side will ever reach that status, but its really positive to see us control another match for ninety minutes and dispatch the opposition with ease.
Spurs remain in fifth place in the Premier League and the positions around them didn’t change much after Match Week 16. United almost dropped two points against Palace to make it a five point cushion between them and Tottenham, but alas Ibra scored late. Liverpool moved up into a tie with Arsenal in second place, just four points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur.
Burnley sit in thirteenth place having accumulating seventeen points on the year. They seem to be sorting which pack in the league standings they want to be a part of. Four points for the good gets them into the thick of that mid-tier group, while four points to the bad has them battling for relegation. Regardless, they are having a fine season thus far. A 4-0 defeat against Albion and another loss against Swansea aside, the Clarets have had some undoubtedly strong results. Victories against Liverpool and Everton and a draw at Old Trafford mean that the side, on its day, can play and get results.
Only four teams have scored less than Burnley this season and the Clarets just aren’t that impressive going forward. Sam Vokes, a Welsh international, has four goals this campaign and is a reliable finisher and has had varying degrees of success at the Premier League, Championship, and International levels. He won’t dazzle, but he could put the ball in the back of the net if given the chance. Andre Gray is maybe their most dynamic player going forward and the one to watch in their attack. Their defense on the other hand is a bit more serviceable and have been pretty healthy throughout the year. For this reason, they should be well organized and a challenge for Spurs to breakdown.
Its a chance to put nine points on the board in four games and leads nicely into our post Christmas fixtures. The squad has ten days to recover between Burnley and Southhampton, they will give it their all to secure three points against Burnley at White Hart Lane.
How to Watch
Date/time: Sunday, December 18th, 2016, 4:00 p.m. (UK), 11:00 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, London, UK
Official: Kevin Friend
TV: CNBC (USA), BBC Radio (UK), TSN5, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London,BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
The injury news hasn’t changed much since Wednesday. Erik Lamela and Vincent Janssen remain sidelined, while Mousa Dembélé is a doubt for Sunday. All three don’t look too far off from their return, especially Dembélé, but I still expect him to miss the match day eighteen.
Spurs trotted out a 3-4-2-1 on Wednesday, with Eric Dier playing as a third center-back. It worked rather well, the team is playing a similar opponent, the same players are all healthy, and there are ten days between Sunday and their next match. I am not going to get cute and try to tinker with that starting eleven. Poor Harry Winks.
The Soccer blogosphere was shook after Wednesday’s result. A perfect 3-0 prediction by Pardeep Cattry vaulted the first year prediction league performer into a tie with longtime leader Jake Meador. The ramifications of this development are yet to be realized, but hot damn do we have some competition at the top of the table! Five others lurk below the top two, just two points off the mark.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings
|Earl of Shoop
Dustin Menno: Burnley are not as bad as Hull (but who is?), but this is still a match Spurs should win comfortably. 2-0 Spurs, and Sean Dyche screams himself into an aneurism on the sidelines.
Matthew Pachniuk: Burnley won’t be as easy to unlock as we would like to think, but I think we continue our winning ways. Spurs will dominate possession and Harry Kane is due for a goal or two. Spurs 2-0.
Jake Meador: More 3-4-2-1 goofiness from Poche. 3-1 win, but Burnley keep it close until we get a late goal that makes it look more comfortable than it was.
Pardeep Cattry: Despite Spurs possibly resting some players and playing (again) in an unfamiliar set-up, they'll probably win. Tottenham 2-0.
Salmon Chase: My only experience with Burnley is watching the episode of Real Football factories (I know I'm a garbage human) that featured their firm. Big takeaway, all hooligans are sad people deep down, but the ones in burnley are super sad because there was only like nine of them and one was the son of one of the leader and he and his two friends clearly didn't give a shit and just hung out for free beer. Happy holidays from the midlands! 2-0 Spurs
GN Punk: Remember when Burnley somehow beat Liverpool after giving up something like 951 shots on target (citation needed) and yet put in the only two shots they had?
Yeah, that isn't going to happen here. Spurs 3-0.
Luke Zimmerman: Burnley's 8-bit badge warms my ice cold heart and though they're better than Leiceister (lulz) at the moment, I'd be surprised if they had enough to pull one on Spurs. That said, I'm wrong often so your mileage my vary: 1-0, up the Spurs.
Bryan A: Burnely are good at home, but Burnley are not at home. So Burnley will not be good. 2-0 Spurs.
Earl of Shoop: Feeling good after the midweek win, we beat the Clarets so badly that they have to take Kieran Trippier back. Spurs 4-1.
Skipjack: 1-1. Why fight the inevitable?
Brian Meyers: 2-0 Spurs. Are we really going to let Burnley handle us?
And finally some kind words from Vince on the views of that towering intellectual and would-be genius Sean Dyche:
55thVin: I don't have a pick anymore, but can I just say how happy I am that Sean Dyche is in the Premier League to remind us how the English fetishize foreign managers now that Big Sam has been put out to ex-England manager pasture. Important work, Sean.