We’re back in Premier League action with Burnley vs Spurs at Turf Moor, so here are 5 keys to beating Sean Dyche’s Clarets.
Our fourth meeting of the season with Burnley means that we know exactly what will be coming. So, let’s take a look at how the Clarets play and the keys to beating them in Burnley vs Spurs this time.
1. Attacking the Burnley shape
Sean Dyche has evolved his side’s shape and its lead to his team being involved in more open encounters.
Over the first half of the season, he set his side up very compactly with the full backs tucking in tight to the centre backs in order to have more men defending in the penalty area. This lead to the wingers having to cover back and defend the flanks, which made Burnley solid, but also stifled their attacking play as they couldn’t get out quickly enough.
As the Clarets got sucked in to the relegation battle, Dyche has had to become more aggressive and has switched his team up to play more attacking football. Now he uses his wingers much higher up, but also asks them to track back, often inside the full backs. He now also has the full backs get out and defend the wide areas, leaving the other three members of the back four to guard the box.
This has meant the Burnley are scoring more goals, but they are also conceding them and they are vulnerable in two ways.
The first way to get at the Clarets is to attack their full backs and look to cross the ball. This is something we did well in Spurs 2 Burnley 1 in our Premier League encounter at White Hart Lane.
Erik Lamela gave left back Ben Mee a torrid time, taking him on both inside and down the line. It culminated with his goal, as he blazed past him and unleashed a wickedly curling shot in to the far corner before the wide player, George Boyd, now stationed inside his full back, could cover.
In their last Premier League match at Southampton, Burnley were also shown up in the wide areas on both goals. The Saints took the lead as they got in to right back Kieran Trippier’s zone to cross the ball. Nathaniel Clyne picked up possession and sent a drilled effort through the penalty area that was turned home by Shane Long.
One became two, as Ryan Bertrand got in-behind Kieran Tripper once more after neat interplay with Steven Davis. The Burnley full back had again been pulled out wide, away from his centre backs.
Jason Shackell then deflected Bertrand’s cross in to his own net, doubling Southampton’s advantage.
The second way to get at the Burnley defence is to hit them quickly in transition by moving the ball vertically forward behind their back line.
This can either be done by a player running with the ball on a quick break, such as Man City had with Sergio Aguero in their 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor. The Argentinean blazed forward on a quick counter and neatly fed in David Silva, who amazingly fluffed his first touch, taking him too wide to convert.
Swansea also went quickly from back to front, but with passing this time. They used the pace and strength of Bafetimbi Gomis to get in-behind the Burnley back line on quick counters.
After spurring a few good chances, the Swans won the game from a set piece, which is another Burnley vulnerability.
2. Set piece vulnerability
For a team with size, Burnley are surprisingly vulnerable to crosses in open play, but also from set pieces.
The Clarets have allowed 130 chances at set piece situations, the most in the Premier League. In their last three home games, they have conceded three goals from corners. One to Swansea in a 1-0 defeat and two to West Brom in a 2-2 draw. You may also remember that Vlad Chiriches scored from a corner in our 4-2 FA Cup victory over Burnley at the Lane.
We lead the Premier League in set piece goals, largely thanks to Christian Eriksen’s direct free kicks, which have produced some pearling strikes. However, we also have six goals directly from corners, including Harry Kane’s stabbed home effort last time out against Leicester.
Mauricio Pochettino has used the vacant near post corner run routine often this season, so it may well pay dividends in Burnley vs Spurs on Sunday.
3. Direct Burnley play
Burnley have improved as an attacking force as the season has progressed and they are doing it by playing more directly. They get the ball forward much quicker and look to work it in to crossing situations whereby they can get men in the box to target.
The Clarets lead the Premier League in long balls played per game according to WhoScored.com. These aren’t aimless punts up field though, but more calculated balls played in to space that allow the likes of Danny Ings to run on to them. Often these can be towards the corners so that they can recycle the ball and create crossing situations.
Playing two strikers allows Dyche to get men up in the box and often they will be joined by Ashley Barnes and George Boyd from the wide positions. This can see them have four players in the middle to target, causing matchup problems for defences.
Burnley’s direct style causes teams issues due to the amount of energy they play with, covering more ground than any other Premier League side. We were caught out by it in the FA Cup replay at White Hart Lane. Marvin Sordell opened the scoring from a straight ball over the top of our back four that he could run on to and unleash an unstoppable drive in to the corner of the net.
That move highlighted how our back four will need to be switched on at all times, as the Clarets can transition from back to front extremely quickly. As a result, don’t expect Fazio to return to the line-up for this one, especially after having his lack of pace exposed by Danny Ings on several occasions in the Premier League game at the Lane.
This direct play, and how the Clarets work it, will be something to watch for in Burnley vs Spurs on Sunday.
4. George Boyd
George Boyd is the x-factor in the Burnley team due to his ability to be a two-way player. He helps his full back out in the defensive phase and then surges forward to aid the attack, often arriving in the box unmarked.
His effort and energy mean that he can handle this role. Moving forward from deep in his own half sees him as an extremely difficult player to pick up. With Danny Ings and the returning Sam Vokes, the attention can often go on stopping Burnley’s strikers, leaving Boyd as the man that can pop up with crucial goals.
5. Shots in the box
Above all else, the ultimate key to this game will lie in who can generate and convert the most shots inside the box. Both teams are vulnerable to allowing chances from close range this season, as we’ve each afforded 265 to the opposition. Only QPR (296) and Leicester (286) allow more shots in the box than the Clarets and us.
Our last match in the Premier League at home to the Foxes ended in a 4-3 shootout due to each side’s inability to stop the other getting shots off from inside the penalty area. It was also no surprise that our FA Cup tie at the Lane finished Spurs 4-2 Burnley either.
We could well see a lot of opportunities from inside the 18-yard area again and the deciding factor for each side will be chance conversion. The Clarets are currently the third worst side in the Premier League at finishing their opportunities. Thanks to Harry Kane, we are the fourth best.
Burnley vs Spurs prediction: Burnley 1 Spurs 2.
Burnley vs Spurs betting
After getting in to positions to miss two glorious opportunities against Leicester, Nacer Chadli looks primed to return to the scoresheet this weekend. His ability to run in-behind and drift in to central locations to receive crosses should bode well here. Early strikes have also dominated our away games and with each team’s propensity to give up shots in the box, I’m banking on a fast start.