Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur – 23 December – Turf Moor – 17:30 hrs – EPL Preview
Once title contenders and main challengers to Manchester City, Tottenham had to eat humble pie at the Etihad stadium on Saturday, going down 1-4 and slipping to the 7th spot on the Premier League table. Going into their next clash at Turf Moor against a difficult Burnley side, the Lilywhites would do well not to commit the kind of defensive errors the likes of Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen and Trippier committed that allowed City to run roughshod over them. Burnley may not have in their ranks the same class of scorers as City, but strikers Chris Wood and Sam Vokes have enough experience when it comes to capitalizing on weak defenses. The Clarets, although low on goals, have had a good run of 5 games, losing narrowly to Leicester City 0-1 in just one and winning in three of them. Manager Sean Dyche has maintained a defense and mid-field heavy formation of 4-4-1-1 with the back marshalled by the likes of Ben Mee, Phil Bardsley and Charlie Taylor all of whom have been exceptional of late. No wonder, Burnley are on the 5th spot on the EPL table after 18 games and this, too, coming from a team featuring in only their 4th Premier League season.
The out-of-form Del Alli and Harry Kane have their work cut out at Turf Moor against a defence that has conceded the least number of goals of all the Premier league teams excepting for Manchester United. Harry Winks, Del Alli and Mousa Dembele will have to do a much more better job in feeding the ball to Harry Kane on whom the Spurs’ dependence to get goals heavily lies.The mercurial 24-year old English striker’s tally of 18 goals this season is far ahead of the side’s next best Christian Eriksen’s six. After their disappointing 1-2 loss to Leicester City in November and a 1-1 draw to Watford, Mauricio Pochettino’s boys recovered fast, notching up impressive wins against Stoke City and Brighton & Hove Albion 5-1 and 2-0 respectively. But the huge margin of defeat of defeat against the League leaders at the Etihad was a big let-down and will do their morale no good on their visit to Turf Moor. Pochettino will maintain his favourite 4-3-2-1 formation or may even choose to deviate to a 4-3-3 one, with Song Hueng-Min and Del Alli joining Harry Kane as the other two strikers. The Lilywhites defence will hope to hold it out against a Burnley attack that lacks a propensity to score. The Clarets’ tally of 16 goals is the lowest among teams in the Top ten and even less than those of West ham and Stoke City who are 15th and 17th on the points table respectively.
Since their entry into the Premier League in 2014-15, Burnley haven’t been able to get the better of Tottenham in any of the six times they have met, losing in three and drawing three. Odds heavily favour a win for the visitors at Turf Moor, but with the Clarets having their best season ever and Tottenham a bit shaky post their Etihad mauling, it could be anybody’s game on the 23rd.
Tottenham to Win, Best Odds 8/15