Spurs travel to Burnley on Saturday for their first Premier League match in a fortnight. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have had a ten-day gap since their last match against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and will be eager to beat an in-form Burnley side to keep in touch with Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the table.
The players and staff had a well-earned break after a gruelling winter schedule which saw Spurs play two games a week for around two months. The break was made all the more sweeter by a stunning victory last time out at Wembley against Borussia Dortmund, which put Spurs within touching distance of a Champions League quarter-final.
Sonny's strike v Dortmund has been nominated for the #UCL Goal of the Week award!
⚽️ ⬇️ VOTE ⬇️ ⚽️#COYS
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 21, 2019
Spurs are on a four-match winning run in all competitions, having beaten Watford, Newcastle and Leicester in their last three outings and this will be their first away Premier League fixture since beating Fulham 2-1 in January courtesy of a late Harry Winks goal.
They continue to pick up results despite being without both Harry Kane and Dele Alli. The form of Heung-min Son is largely key to that as the South Korean has eight goals in his last eight Premier League matches and has looked unstoppable in recent weeks. Fernando Llorente also deserves credit for the role he has played since Kane’s injury. At times he has not looked convincing but he has contributed key goals, including the third against Dortmund.
There is also a feel-good factor around Burnley at the moment as Sean Dyche’s side go into the game unbeaten in their last seven Premier League encounters. In that run, they beat West Ham, Brighton, Fulham and Huddersfield and also picked up important points against Manchester United, Watford and Southampton.
The Clarets started the season in poor form, perhaps down to their Europa League exploits, and it was looking increasingly bleak for the side that finished 7th in the Premier League last year. However, they now have a three-point gap over Southampton in eighteenth. Although they will know that they are still firmly in a relegation battle, Dyche and his team will be looking above them as it is that tight at the bottom that a top half finish is still possible.
Burnley have taken only two points from their last fourteen matches against the so-called Premier League big six, failing to keep a clean sheet in that time.
Burnley v Spurs Team News
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 21, 2019
Spurs have been boosted by the news that Harry Kane has returned to full first team training along with Ben Davies. Kane has been out since picking up an injury against Manchester United and although he is back in training, it is not expected that he will start.
However, there are doubts over whether Danny Rose will play because of illness. Whereas Rose is a doubt, Dele Alli will definitely be an absentee as he continues his rehabilitation.
The hosts have been boosted by the return of Robbie Brady and Johann Berg Gudmundsson after they were unavailable for their win against Brighton. Creative Belgian midfielder Steven Defour remains sidelined with a persistent calf injury as do Aaron Lennon and Jon Walters.
Burnley’s return to form has coincided with Tom Heaton returning to the starting line-up and the Burnley skipper will continue in goal ahead of England teammate Joe Hart.
Burnley v Spurs Predicted Team
After the victory over Dortmund Pochettino may be tempted to stick with the same starting lineup from that match, which would mean a three-man defence. However, he may also have the matches against Chelsea and Arsenal in mind so could rotate in some positions.
Hugo Lloris will continue in goal but the one change from the Dortmund lineup could be at right back, with former Burnley man Kieran Trippier coming in for Serge Aurier.
We think that it’ll be a four-man defence with Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez as the centre back pairing. After his man of the match performance at left back in the Champions League, Jan Vertonghen is likely to continue at left back especially as Rose is a doubt and Davies has only just returned from injury.
In front of the defence, a midfield partnership between Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks has been growing with every game and both are likely to start against Burnley unless Pochettino chooses to utilise Eric Dier. We think that all three could start, with Dier being included because of the physicality of the Burnley side.
Christian Eriksen and Heung-min Son are certain to start, with Son being one of the central strikers for Spurs. The decision comes down to who plays alongside him, as Lucas Moura was preferred against Dortmund. We think Fernando Llorente will get the nod after his late cameo last time out.
With three games this week, it could well be the case that Moura and Erik Lamela are utilised from the start as Pochettino looks to keep his squad fresh.
What the Managers Said
Spurs Manager Mauricio Pochettino
“Like always, we’re going to find a very aggressive team. That’s going to be the key – to match their aggressivity and challenge in this aspect and then try to impose our way to play. It’s going to be tough, we know very well. We struggled a little bit to beat them in December. I remember we scored a late goal to break them down in the end, but they did so well against us. Now they’re in a better period than they were in that game. Always we’re confident and trust in ourselves but we know very well that they’re doing well and it’s going to be tough to beat them.” (football.london)
Burnley Manager Sean Dyche
“We went to Old Trafford and delivered a very strong performance against a top side. We’re going to have to do that again because Tottenham are a top side. Personally I think they should, and are, being considered now as possible title contenders.”
“That feeling that we’ll take on anything and anyone, I think it just grows. When you’re doing well yourself it only enhances that inner spirit, the underdog mentality. It does give you that extra little edge.” (BBC Sport)
Burnley v Spurs Referee
Mike Dean is looking to become the first referee in Premier League history to show 100 red cards.
Next match: Man City vs. Chelsea. 🍿 pic.twitter.com/RmvbZTm2CP
— Coral (@Coral) February 8, 2019
Mike Dean will be the referee on Saturday. It has been well documented that he has shown 99 red cards in his Premier League career so far and Pochettino will be hoping that he does not bring up his century with a Spurs player. The last Spurs game that he officiated in was the loss at Wembley to Manchester United.
Burnley v Spurs Prediction
It will be intriguing to see how Spurs will cope after ten days without a game. Burnley are in good form and will be up for it in front of their home fans and the Sky cameras. Likewise, Spurs will be galvanised after their Champions League exploits and it should make a good contest between two confident sides.
Our prediction is Burnley 1-2 Spurs.
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