The FA Cup is cruel sometimes. You build up a little steam, get a positive result the prior weekend, and then the Cup comes along and you just plop a gigantic turd on the pitch at the worst time. That’s what Tottenham Hotspur’s match against Burnley in the FA Cup third round felt like on Friday night. Spurs rolled out a strong lineup against one of the worst teams in the Premier League, but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net for the majority of the match. It sure looked like it was heading to a dour 0-0 draw and a replay at Turf Moor that nobody wanted.
That’s not what happened.
Late in the second half, Pedro Porro picked the ball up off a bad outlet past from Burnley keeper Arijanet Muric, took a dribble, and then rifled a curling long-range blast into the top corner of the net to give Spurs the lead. It was one of the prettiest goals Spurs have scored all year — maybe in several years — and it was enough to propel Tottenham past Burnley and into the fourth round of the FA Cup. The final score was 1-0.
It was... something all right. Here are my quick match reactions.
- xG: Spurs 1.3 - 1.11 Burnley which honestly is a lot closer than it felt.
- That was a typically grotesque and boring early round FA Cup match interrupted by a goal of the season candidate. Real sicko hours.
- No real complaints with the starting lineup (except maybe Skipp for Pierre, but that’s understandable maybe considering unsubstantiated transfer rumors). More excited by seeing Sessegnon and Van de Ven on the bench.
- The feed quality on ESPN+ for this match was hot garbage. Terrible resolution, oversaturated, completely blown out white balance, audio out of sync and clearly broadcast from a closet in Bristol, CT. Couldn’t even see the Spurs players’ numbers on the feed. I know it was probably the world feed but man, that was awful.
- Spurs were getting lots of love in behind Burnley’s back line throughout this match, especially early on using Johnson as an outlet. Richarlison had several shots that didn’t pan out, but you got the sense it was only a matter of time. Johnson has way more touches, both in the box and out of it, in the first half than any other Spurs attacker or midfielder.
- I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but it sure looked like all the other Spurs players were actively ignoring and deliberately avoiding passing to Oliver Skipp. I’m sure that’s not the case, but it felt like it. Happy to see Bryan Gil come on in the second half. Less happy to see him come on for Gio instead of for Skipp, who I thought was horrific in this match. No idea how he avoided a yellow and he had 59% pass completion in the first half.
- Johnson did some good and he did some not so good, but his good stuff was quite good even if it didn’t take. Had an excellent cross into the box that got caught out in the second half, and later ripped a long range shot that forced a good save. Strangely, he was Spurs’ primary source of attack in this match. I didn’t expect that.
- We really, really, really, really miss Son Heung-Min. Gonna be a long month.
- Allow me to present my verbatim reaction to Pedro Porro’s goal: HOLY SHIT 2sdfklsdjiwheikndxvmxbncjkalsdlvj;woeiaxvlcknviosdfhj That goal was Gareth Bale-esque, a curling rocket of a shot that nestled straight in the top corner. Pedro was turning away and celebrating before it even hit the back of the net — he knew.
- Great to see Dane Scarlett, Jamie Donley, and Ryan Sessegnon get runouts tonight in the win. Sess also nearly scored a goal but flashed his shot just wide — which was too bad, I really wanted that for him. Sess looked like he belonged out there too, which was nice to see, but he also looked S-L-O-W and that’s a little concerning.
- Bryan Gil — he’s not a very good footballer for us.
- Ben Davies looked like he was feeling his hamstring late into injury time. I hope that isn’t significant and he’s just a little tight there.
- Got a little hairy there at the end with Muric in the box flicking a header off a corner to the foot of a Burnley player, but thankfully they didn’t convert because that would’ve been extremely stupid.
- Pedro Porro aside, it wasn’t champagne football but in the FA Cup it’s win and advance. That’s what Spurs did. Hopefully in the next round they’ll have some healthy (and better) players available.