There was abundant sunshine in Burnley on Saturday, but it was a frustrating day of football for Tottenham Hotspur. Knowing a win would pull them to within two points of Liverpool and Manchester City, instead Spurs gave up two second half goals from Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes and fell 2-1 to the Clarets. Harry Kane scored on his first match back since his ankle injury six weeks ago, but it wasn’t enough to get a result.
The big surprise when the lineups were released was the inclusion of Kane in the starting lineup, who slotted straight into the side for the first time since December. He partnered with Son Heung-Min at the top of the formation, with a midfield three of Christian Eriksen, Harry Winks, and Moussa Sissoko behind him. Pochettino opted for a back three of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, and Juan Foyth, with Danny Rose and Serge Aurier as the wingbacks. Hugo Lloris started, as expected, in goal.
Burnley came out to start the match with their tails up, pressing Spurs high and trying to stay on the front foot. Spurs, for their part, took a few minutes to get into the match and looked a little unprepared for sustained pressure at the start of the match.
Tottenham had a lot of trouble getting going in the first part of the half and found it difficult to get any sustained periods of possession and even fewer opportunities on goal. But about 15 minutes into the match, Tottenham started to get things going.
Harry Kane got his first shot in the 16th minute, dribbling to the top of the box and firing a low shot that went wide of the left post. That also was the first shot for either side, which tells you a little bit about how this match was going. Serge Aurier and Danny Rose both got a little more space to put in crosses from the flanks, which led to some dangerous moments, if not outright chances.
The first half was characterized by plays that almost came off than plays that actually did. Christian Eriksen forced Heaton to make his first save in the 33rd minute, and Ashley Barnes immediately responded for Burnley by shinning a shot in Spurs’ box just over the bar. Kane went close again in the 36th minute, receiving a long pass in the box but having the chance smothered by Tom Heaton, and had another header on target two minutes later.
It wasn’t the prettiest of halves, and the two sides seemed content to go into the changing room at the break tied nil-nil.
The clubs came out for the second half with neither side making any substitutions.
It didn’t take long for Harry Kane to make his presence felt, ripping a long-range shot in the 50th minute that forced a diving Heaton to tip away. Juan Foyth seemed to have been encouraged to push up out of the back line by Mauricio Pochettino at halftime, as he had a couple of runs with the ball in Burnley’s half, one of which led to a free kick.
But it was Burnley that struck first. Off of a dubious corner decision that should’ve been a goal kick, Burnley found the head of striker Chris Wood, who headed off the underside of the crossbar and past Hugo Lloris to put the Clarets up 1-0.
Mauricio Pochettino responded by bringing on Fernando Llorente for Harry Winks. Llorente moved into the attacking two at the top of the formation, with Son Heung-Min pushed wide.
Harry Kane equalized for Spurs just a couple of minutes later. Off of a throw-in, Danny Rose threw the ball over the top of Burnley’s defense to Harry Kane who calmly dribbled into the box and slotted past Heaton from close range. It was no less than Spurs deserved. Burnley fans argued that Kane was offside (and then that Rose was not in the right position to take the throw), but the goal stood.
Burnley had another opportunity in the 70th minute after Juan Foyth was given a yellow card for a hard challenge on Chris Wood, but BBurnley’s free kick went off the wall and Spurs cleared.
Pochettino made his second substitution in the 74th minute, bringing on Erik Lamela for Juan Foyth and switching to a back four formation to add a little more attacking oomph. Burnley forced a save from Hugo Lloris off of a Macneill shot, and earned a corner, which swirled out for a goal kick.
Seven minutes from time, it was Burnley’s other striker that put the dagger into Spurs’ back. Ashley Barnes got a half-yard of space at the back post and was able to poke home what looked like a shot towards the back post, and Burnley led 2-1.
With time running out, Pochettino rolled the dice in the 88th minute, bringing on Lucas Moura for Son Heung-Min. Spurs had a couple of chances in the dying moments — Erik Lamela had a header in the box that went straight at Heaton. It wasn’t enough — Burnley took the air out of the ball and Spurs weren’t able to capitalize, falling at Turf Moor 2-1.
- Football is dumb.
- This match was everything you might’ve expected in a match against Burnley — lots of men behind the ball, some quick counters, not a whole lot of offense either direction.
- Burnley’s first goal was a microcosm of bad karma — a shouldered-in goal off the crossbar from a corner kick that was an obvious missed call from Mike Dean by a team that hadn’t mustered any offense all match.
- What a fantastic play from Danny Rose for Spurs’ equalizing goal. He saw Harry’s run from the very beginning and found him while catching Burnley’s defense napping.
- We all wondered about how Harry Kane would look, but based on the first half he was good! Got a few shots, tried to play players in, got his goal in the second half. It looked like it didn’t come as early, but this didn’t look like the half-fit Kane from last season after his injury.
- There is a role on this side for Moussa Sissoko — he’s proven that. But this was not a match that played to his strengths, and I’m extremely surprised that he wasn’t subbed off in this match. He looked a lot like Sissoko Classic than New Sissoko today.
- Can’t wait for all the “Spurs bottled the league again” takes.
- Pochettino was FURIOUS at Mike Dean after the whistle, and rightfully so. I really REALLY wan to know what was said in that convo.
- Still Undrawable™. At least we have that.