The ‘great leveller’ is back and our FA Cup journey gets underway with a trip to Turf Moor for Burnley vs Spurs in the third round.
Burnley vs Spurs evokes memories of a great day in Tottenham history. The 1962 FA Cup Final saw Greaves, Smith and Blanchflower all find the net in a 3-1 win as we lifted the trophy for a second consecutive season. Burnley did have their revenge just months later, knocking us out of the next competition at the first hurdle, winning 3-0 in the snow at White Hart Lane.
This term we’ve already faced the Clarets and Sean Dyche’s men gave us a serious run for our money at the Lane.
So, what can we expect and what should we be on the lookout for in Burnley vs Spurs this time?
1. Compact full backs
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 several of their recent matches.
Against QPR, 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. This is done to get more defenders in their box to deal with the cross.
Against Stoke we can see exactly the same thing. 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.
At home to Southampton, once more midfielder George Boyd is out defending against Ryan Bertrand, whilst right back Kieran Tripper is in the box tight to his centre backs.
Burnley have been effective with this shape, but we saw an interesting change in our game at the Lane, which resulted in their downfall.
In Spurs 2 Burnley 1 left back Ben Mee was being dragged out to deal with Erik Lamela as George Boyd often got inside him, as their positions switched.
This pulled the full back away from his centre backs and left him exposed to Lamela’s dribbling, whilst also leaving one less defender in the box. Lamela got a chance to cross the ball as he rolled this one across the face of goal that Harry Kane just failed to connect with.
As he cut inside for his goal, Mee and Boyd had once more switched roles. Lamela’s speed left full back Mee standing and before Boyd could get over to him, the Argentinean had curled a pearler in to the corner of the net.
Whether Sean Dyche addresses this and reverts to his usual plan of tucking his full backs in tight to his centre backs will be something to watch for in Burnley vs Spurs this time.
2. Attacking the Burnley weakness
With Burnley tucking their full backs in, opponents can create chances and score on them in two ways.
The first method is by attacking the channel between the midfielder marking out wide and the tucked in full back. This creates shorter crossing distances and therefore the chance of a more accurate passes to pick out a team mate.
QPR did that here excellently as Mauricio Isla gets between Boyd and full back Mee to cut the ball back for Charlie Austin to score.
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.
In Burnley’s recent trip to the Etihad, Man City opened the scoring by doing the same thing. This time it was Samir Nasri placing the pass between George Boyd and full back Ben Mee to the racing Jesus Navas. The Spaniard’s short cut back pass was slid home by David Silva.
The second method to score against them is via crosses. This is something we did at the Lane as Nacer Chadli took advantage of a quick free kick that had the Clarets caught out of position. His cross was nodded home by Harry Kane.
The Gooners also took advantage of this in their 3-0 win over Burnley. The nomads got in to the channel between full back and wide midfielder to create short cut back passes inside the box, but two of their three goals arrived from longer crosses.
Alexis Sanchez headed home Callum Chambers’ cross from the right. Then Kieran Gibbs took advantage of George Boyd’s late rotation out to him to find Sanchez once more from the left.
The Tottenham tactics for Burnley vs Spurs needs to see us take advantage of both of these scoring situations.
3. Direct Burnley play
Burnley have really improved their results in the Premier League recently and a lot of it has to do with a more direct style of play. Sean Dyche looks to get the ball forward much more quickly and get players up and around Danny Ings and Ashley Barns.
Burnley lead the Premier League in long balls played per game according to whoscored.com. Barns is the target for many of them played out from the back and his knockdowns will often look for Ings buzzing off him.
Ings is very keen to shoot, often taking the effort on early to surprise the keeper from outside of the box. Barns is also looking to get shots away and is very capable from range, as we saw from his goal at the Lane and his recent strike to earn a point Man City.
Burnley aren’t just a long shot team though. They do look to get players quickly up around Ings and Barns and this will see men bursting forward from midfield to support them.
Burnley do also like to work crossing situations, with full back Kieran Trrippier delivering good quality service from the right. He will often have four to aim for, as Boyd and Arfield race forward to join Ings and Barns in the box.
In the game at the Lane, Vertonghen and Fazio did a good job with anything hit up in the air, but Burnley vs Spurs that day also saw the Clarets trying to expose Fazio’s lack of pace.
4. Ings vs Fazio
The game at the Lane saw Burnley try and use their direct ball forward, but a constant theme was them trying to hit the ball in to the space behind Federico Fazio for Danny Ings to run on to.
The defender’s lack of speed is well known and Burnley were looking to take advantage, as Ings tried to run off him all game. His best chance came at the start of the second half as he got in-behind Fazio, but saw Lloris save his shot at the near post.
Fazio may or may not play depending if Mauricio Pochettino makes changes for this game. If he does pick the Argentinean, look out for Burnley trying to run off him once more.
5. Set Pieces
Harry Kane’s header at Swansea, Eriksen’s free kick at Leicester and Nabil Bentaleb’s goal against Newcastle are just some examples of goals from set pieces recently.
The reason this is a factor is that Burnley are conceding the second most chances from dead ball situations in the Premier League. Only Leicester (97) have afforded the opposition more chances from set pieces than Burnley (90),
The Problem is that with their defensive shape, Burnley give 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 in front of the net.
Hopefully after our recent good run from set pieces, we can make another one count on Monday.
Burnley vs Spurs outlook
Turf Moor has been a tough place for opposition teams to go this season.
Both managers may well make changes for this one. Mauricio Pochettino to freshen up the side after a busy Christmas schedule. Sean Dyche due to carrying a number of injuries over from their match at Newcastle.
The two main drivers to the flow of the game will be firstly dealing with Burnley’s long balls forward. These will either be aerially to Ashley Barns or in to space for Danny Ings to run on to. And secondly getting in to the channels between their midfielder and pinching-in full back.
Burnley vs Spurs prediction: Burnley 1 Spurs 2.
If you are a betting man and like a bit of a wager on the match, then here are some bets for you:
– Burnley 1 Spurs 2 at 8/1 with BetVictor
– Nacer Chadli first goalscorer 8/1 with 888sport