The hype was real. Manchester City were exceptional and Tottenham Hotspur were exceptionally bad last Saturday. Give due credit to the Citizens, who looked monstrous throughout, but oh man did Spurs fail to show up. We are a different side without Toby, but without both Toby and Davinson, not to mention Kieran Trippier somehow starting, the result was probably inevitable.
With the loss, Tottenham fall back three spots from fourth to seventh place. They are one point off the pace from both Arsenal & Burnley, two points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, and seven behind third-placed Chelsea. A battle for fourth is what the season is shaping out to be.
Burnley don't play football, but who cares. They have a record of nine wins, four losses, and five draws, with a wage bill and financial structure that isn’t even close to any of the top half in the Premier League. Sean Dyche might be Tony Pulis 2.0, and that is boring and eventually tiresome, but I don’t think anyone associated with the Clarets is complaining at the moment.
Chris Wood has been the club’s talisman so far with twelve starts and four goals. The New Zealander, a transfer from Leeds United this summer, has had a fantastic start to his Burnley career. Big Sam Vokes is also an option of the bench and is well-suited for late game target play, while being particularly dangerous in the air.
Burnley though are all about defensive shape and it shows in their preferred lineup. Steven Defour and Jack Cork have started every Premier League match this season in central midfield and not one observer on the planet is confusing them with an attack minded or creative influence in the center of the park. They both buzz around and break up play incredibly well, but won’t sting you going forward. Burnley’s best defender, James Tarkowski, who has taken up the mantle for the recently transferred Michael Keane, and has been wonderful in defense, is injured. While this a boost for Spurs, Ben Mee and Matthew Lawton are healthy and are more than capable components of Burnley’s strong backline.
The loss of Tarkowski is promising for Spurs, but Dyche’s tactics dictate that individual talent is less important than the system itself. Tottenham will be away from home against an organized opponent, but certainly a less talented one. Its a rebound match for the lilywhites and an important one for our position in the table; hopefully Tottenham Hotspur can put three points on the board on Saturday.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, December 23rd, 5:30 p.m. (UK), 12:30 p.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Turf Moor, Burnley, UK
Official: Michael Oliver
TV: NBC (NBC Sports Live Extra), BBC Radio, BT Sport 1, BT Sport 4K UHD, BT Sport Live (UK), Sportsnet World, Sportsnet World Now, Sportsnet Now (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
Davinson Sanchez finally returns from his three match ban, while Toby and Victor continue to recover from their long term injuries.
Davinson’s inclusion allows Eric Dier to step back into his preferred defensive midfield role, while there should be rotation in the outside backs positions. As the season wears on, the outside backs need to be rotated less and Danny Rose and Serge Aurier need to be given automatic nods to the first eleven. Finally, as Burnley will bunker down, I’d imagine Poch will throw out a 4-2-3-1, hence Son will be included and the lively Harry Winks will buzz around in the middle.
Here is my predicted lineup: Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, and Rose start across the back. Winks and Dier in midfield, with Eriksen, Dele, and Son in the attacking band, and Harry Kane up top.
55th Vin, in a cameo appearance, boldy predicted a 3-2 Spurs win, which was, well, bold. He was joined by Alex Greenberg and Jake Meador who felt Spurs could avoid devastation and come out of Manchester with a point. All of these predictions were awesome in solidarity, but terrible in accuracy.
The rest of the masthead were goblins and rewarded for their nihilistic views, particularly Skipjack who is rumored to have given a weak fist pump when Eriksen scored in second half stoppage time thus locking in a perfectly depressing prediction.
Wa Waaa Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop||11|
Dustin Menno: I’m hopeful that Tarkowski being out cancels whatever spell Burnley have put on the rest of the league. 2-1 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: Tottenham can’t wait to get on the pitch and wipe the City performance from their memory. Spurs 2-0.
GN Punk: If it's raining in this match, it might feel like we're back in 1967 watching football. Spurs pull it out, but it's ugly. 1-0 Spurs.
Jake Meador: 1-0 Spurs as we find a way to break through Burnley Magic and our defense is just good enough to stop their counter.
Skipjack: I hear enthusiasm for Burnley wasn't enough and bidding on their top four prospects has been suspended. 1-0 Spurs.
Pardeep Cattry: This will not be fun. 0-0.
Earl of Shoop: Heavy favorites Burnley are unable to take points off a plucky Spurs side struggling for form. Spurs 2-1
Ed F: Dycheccini strikes again. 1-0 Burnley.
Alex Greenberg: Turf Moor is dark and full of terrors. 0-0.
Joe Patrick: 1-1. We do that thing where we concede really early and then struggle to battle back. Should have the legs in us to get one though. 2017 can't end soon enough.
Salmon Chase: Christmas magic carries the day as Santa Claus himself comes on at the half for Spurs. He scores a hat trick after distracting the Burnley back line with such hot to trot (I know me and my cool use of slang terminology!) gifts as an empty card board box and a Hungry Hungry hippos that is missing several of the marbles 3-2 Spurs.
Santa Clause is revealed to be a secretly re-signed Robbie Keane, or so Robbie will tell anyone at his end of the pub the following day.
Bryan A: TBD
Joel Wertheimer: 2-0 Spurs. Hopefully I won’t gouge my eyes out.
Nathan Giannini: Nails will be bitten, bums will be squeaky, but Spurs will win 2-1.