Tuesday was the first hiccup for Tottenham Hotspur under Ange Postecoglou, as the B Team fell short against Fulham in the League Cup. There were plenty of questionable player performances, but the team selection has come under fire as well; regardless of fault, the reality is that Spurs are now down to just two competitions.
How one feels about that goes back to the age-old trophy-versus-top four debate. Personally, I think having fewer midweek matches is a good thing with a new manager and many new starters, but it does slightly raise the stakes for the season as the team can give the Premier League a level of attention that most of its direct competitors cannot.
Tottenham can put this into practice on Saturday against a Burnley team that returns back to the top flight. The start to the season has not been as hoped for the Clarets, having lost both of their matches fairly convincingly in addition to a postponement for Luton Town’s stadium upgrades. They did eke out a League Cup win over Forest on Wednesday, though.
In terms of the league, it should not be any easier for the home side with Spurs coming in. Turf Moor is not quite the fortress it used to be, and the Tottenham starting XI is in a groove right now, getting better by the week. Another convincing win will make Spurs’ League Cup stumble feel a little less damaging.
Burnley (t-17th, 0pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (t-2nd, 7pts)
Date: Saturday, September 2
Time: 10:00 am ET, 3:00 pm UK
Location: Turf Moor, Burnley
TV: Peacock Premium (USA)
Goals are going to be difficult to come by for Burnley, and that has certainly been the case thus far. Zeki Amdouni was brought in over the summer and got off the mark with a late winner over Forest, but last season’s leading scorer Nathan Tella is now with Leverkusen, so not only is there a strong step up in competition, but a huge gap in production to fill as well.
Vincent Kompany will have his side looking to maintain possession and play out the back, but this style is certainly a challenge against top opponents. Tottenham will look to do many of these same things and frankly offer the better players at just about every position, so it might end up just being a little too overwhelming for the Clarets to really get into the match.
Lilywhite Spotlight: Team-wide scoring contribution
Though Dejan Kulusevski scored against Bournemouth and Richarlison finally got on the scoresheet against Fulham, it really has been a group effort from Spurs so far in terms of goals. At some point the front three will have to account for a bigger portion of the production, but for now perhaps individual brilliance can come from anywhere.
Burnley will have a hard time scoring, but Tottenham will still need to find a way to put the ball in the net. So far it has been the midfield that has looked the most dynamic in the box, but the inverted fullbacks have been plenty involved too. While it can be frustrating to see the usual suspects off their standard, it does make it exciting to see who will step up each match.