5 keys to Spurs vs Burnley

Spurs vs Burnley is next up in the Premier League at White Hart Lane.

After one of our best performances of the season, we’ll be looking for more of the same as the Clarets come to town. Sean Dyche has done a good job with his Burnley side, as they continue to grow and acclimatise to life in the Premier League.

They certainly won’t be a pushover and are actually the type of team we have struggled against this season, especially at home. So, what should we be on the lookout for and what are the keys to victory for Spurs vs Burnley at the Lane?

1. Compact Burnley shape

Sean Dyche coaches his Burnley side extremely well. They are disciplined and play with a good shape, especially in the defensive phase. They get in to position quickly and are compact by tucking their full backs in towards their centre backs, leaving the midfield player on each side against the opposition’s wide man.

We can see this in action from their last away trip in the Premier League. George Boyd is the left midfielder trying to stop Mauricio Isla’s cross, whilst left back Ben Mee is tight in alongside his centre backs to get more defenders in the box.


Boyd defends Isla whilst the back four are in the box.

In Burnley’s previous away trip to Stoke, we can once more see this tactic in action. Bojan crosses the ball with the left back in tight to his centre backs whilst the left-sided midfielder player, Michael Kightly this time, is marking the Stoke winger.


Pinching in the full backs vs Stoke.

Burnley are effective with this shape, but smart teams have figured a way around it.

2. Where Burnley concede chances

With Burnley tucking their full backs in, opponents are able to profit by doing two things.

The first is to get in to the channel between the midfielder and full back tucking in to create short crossing angles

QPR did this in Burnley’s last away match as Mauricio Isla played a one-two to get in-between Boyd and Mee. He then played a short pull back from the by-line for Charlie Austin to score.


QPR get in the channel.

QPR created both their goals, as well as other chances in their 2-0 win, by getting in to this channel between full back and helping midfielder.


QPR chances created vs Burnley.

In Burnley’s previous away trip to the Britannia Stadium, Stoke created a number of opportunities from getting in to this channel down the right. Their goal however came from a cross from the Burnley left, the second way you can create chances against them.


Stoke chances created against Burnley.

Conceding from crosses has been a problem for the Clarets. Prior to their trip to the Britannia, Burnley went to the Emirates and also conceded from a ball in to the box. Alexis Sanchez nodded home Callum Chambers’ angled delivery, as Arsenal pummelled the Burnley left.


Arsenal chances created vs Burnley.

The Gooners also highlighted the problem of using your wide midfielder to defend against the opposition’s wide man. George Boyd was late to get to Kieran Gibbs, leaving the full back free to cross for Sanchez to score his second of the match.


Boyd is unable to get to Gibbs.

Getting in to this area behind the wide midfielder in order to take advantage of the full back tucking in to his centre backs will be a key Tottenham tactic in Spurs vs Burnley. This does provide the Clarets with more men to defend in the box, so delivery of the ball once in these positions needs to be accurate.

3. Crosses and counters

Burnley are a compact counter attacking team, precisely the type of side that we have had trouble against this season, especially at home.

The Clarets are prepared to go without the ball, only Crystal Palace see less of it in the Premier League, but can then get out on the break quickly. Burnley leads the league in long balls played per game, according to WhoScored.com, as they look to get it forward for the likes of George Boyd and Danny Ings to counter attack.

These are not always traditional long balls looking for a striker to win headers, but more often are played in to space for Boyd and Ings to run on to.

When in possession, Burnley are a crossing team. They are decent in the air, but more often than not, these crosses can be mid-height or along the ground to take advantage of Ings’ and Boyd’s ability to hit a low-ball first time.

The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Burnley should see us match-up with quick players in wide areas. This is not only to get after the Burnley pinching their full backs in, but also to recover when they are attacking.

Fazio’s inclusion may be a difficult one here. On the one hand he will be able to deal with any long balls that are close to him. On the other, he doesn’t have the pace to cope with the ones that are hit in to space for Boyd and Ings to run on to.

4. Boyd and Ings

Danny Ings and George Boyd are Burnley’s biggest threats. The former is very good at getting on to the ball in space and on the end of crosses. The latter is a decent dribbler who also possesses a good first time shot.

Ings is able to hold the ball up, but is also a real threat to run in to space. With Burnley defending deep and compact, inviting the opposition on, there are plenty of these spaces further forward for him to get in to. His movement is very good, as is his ability to finish and it’s no coincidence that Burnley’s upturn in form has corresponded with his return to the line-up.


Danny Ings passes received QPR vs Burnley.

He is not the biggest, but does get on the end of crosses, especially these played across the deck, as he showed on his two goals away at Stoke recently.

George Boyd possesses great energy. He is not only required to track the opposition wide player in the defensive phase, but he also has to get forward and support the attack.


George Boyd defensive phase and getting up in the box.

This sees him get in to positions to cross the ball, but also to get in to the box himself, as he looks to get a quick shot away.

Nullifying this pairing of Boyd and Ings should be a key point of the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Burnley. Aaron Lennon should come back in to the side for his ability to get in to attacking situations, but also to defend against the likes of Boyd.

At the back, the pace of Younes Kaboul may be preferable to Federico Fazio against Danny Ings.

5. Set pieces

Spurs ability to create from set pieces is something we’ve seen more of recently.

Nabil Bentaleb scored against Newcastle midweek whilst Jan Vertonghen had a header from a corner cleared off the line. At Swansea last Sunday, Harry Kane nodded home our opener from a set piece.

The reason this bodes well is that the Clarets have had trouble defending them this season. Only Leicester (81) have conceded more chances than Burnley (75) from set pieces in the Premier League.

The Problem is that with their defensive shape, Burnley gives up a number of corners and free kicks from which the opposition can profit. This was something that the Gooners did in their 3-0 win, where they racked up 18 corners. This included one that lead to Callum Chambers’ goal, which was prodded home after the ball was knocked down.

Hopefully after our recent good run from set pieces, we can make another one count on Saturday.

Spurs vs Burnley outlook

This is a game everyone will expect us to win, but it will be a lot harder than many are predicting.

Burnley have a very good defensive shape and if allowed to get out on the counter attack they can hurt teams. The Clarets have been stronger at Turf Moor, but as Stoke found to their cost recently, they are dangerous on the road too.

Mauricio Pochettino will be looking for us to continue on from the excellent performance we showed in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night. It will need another showing of quick ball movement, as well as width to get in-behind in the wide areas.

Overall, Burnley pinching their full backs in could make for a congested penalty area and a long a frustrating afternoon.

Spurs vs Burnley prediction: Spurs 2 Burnley 0.

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5 Responses to 5 keys to Spurs vs Burnley

  1. Matt 19th December 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    Key to beating Burnley is to put Chadli on the left wing and Townsend/Lennon on the right so that we get some width and someone who runs deep. Eriksen in the number 10 position needs this stuff to excel. If Lamela plays he will just go inside and take out Eriksens space and it will all come to nothing like we have seen too much of this season. My first wish for tomorrow is that Lamela is left out of the starting lineup. He can come on as an impact sub in the second half if needed. I hope Poch learned something from the cup match.

    • anotherwisemonkey 20th December 2014 at 12:32 am #

      I agree with your point about Lennon and Chadli. It’s hard on Soldado to be left out but he probably is the player to be sacrificed.

      I also agree that Kaboul should replace Fazio at centre-back. I doubt it will happen, though. I expect Lamela and Fazio will retain their places.


    • Ashley Collie 20th December 2014 at 11:54 pm #

      So luckily, you’re not our manager, Matt – Lamela cuts inside, unleashes a screamer for the win. Actually he also went outside, skinned the fullback and sent a short cross into box that Harri-Kane couldn’t quite turn in…Erik actually does have a right foot, we saw him use it!!! As the Dickens’ novel goes: “Please, sir,” replied Oliver, “I want some more!”

      • Matt 21st December 2014 at 3:22 pm #

        Ha! It was great to see Lamela play a good match at the same time as Eriksen shows it can work with the both of them. But I still think we would have won even more convincingly with Lennon/Townsend ;)

        • Ashley Collie 21st December 2014 at 9:36 pm #

          Matt, yiddo, like I said, luckily, you’re not our manager. As much as many of us have appreciated Azza’s loyalty and contribution — at one time under Arry, he and Bale together rocked it, but that was 4 years ago, and time has moved on — and Andros’ youthful energy, if there’s two guys who may be moved out, it’s Azza and Andros. If Yedlin’s coming in Jan, he’ll provide more speed and energy than Azza on the flank. And if Andros is needed in some makeweight deal for a better forward option, it may be time to make the deal. But I like both of them, I just think the Lamela/Chadli options are better. Cheers!