Eric Dier scores during Spurs vs Burnley in the Premier League.

Spurs vs Burnley preview: tactical scouting report (h)

Ahead of Spurs vs Burnley in our Premier League clash at Wembley Stadium we break down the strengths and weaknesses of Sean Dyche’s team.

Burnley has been the Jekyll and Hyde team of the Premier League since their return to the top flight. The Clarets have been fiendishly strong at home, but weak on the road. However, so far this season they’ve lost at home, but won twice away to completely reverse that trend. So, what type of team will show up for Spurs vs Burnley at Wembley Stadium?

Burnley’s strong shape

Burnley is a classic 4-4-2 low block counter attacking team. The Clarets are good at playing the system and well coached by Sean Dyche. Pressure on the ball and they squeeze up to condense the playing area. When the Clarets have no pressure on the ball then they will drop to avoid being hit over the top.

This gives Burnley an extremely solid base to launch their counter attack and crossing game. Up front they have the size, hold up play and box presence of Sam Vokes. Working off him, the creative and busy Jeff Hendrick.

Without the ball, Burnley has a tough shape to break down. The Clarets try and force opponents in to the wide areas by defending narrowly and then deal with the resulting crosses. The full backs tuck in to protect their centre backs. The wide midfielders are therefore left to cover the flanks.

FBs tuck in narrow to leave LM and RM to defend flanks ahead of Burnley vs Spurs in the Premier League.

FBs tuck in narrow to leave LM and RM to defend flanks.

Adopting this approach makes Burnley tight and compact, but it can also work against them.

Left back zone liability

Utilising their wide midfielders to defend the flanks sees Burnley in a number of 1v1 situations on the outside. If the wide midfielder is beaten, the full back is often too far away to help.

Walker left 1v1 can attack the space left by the LB tucking in during Spurs vs Burnley in the Premier League.

Walker left 1v1 can attack the space left by the LB tucking in.

Kyle Walker does just that in the above image. Walker beats the left midfielder and before the left back can help, he fizzes the ball across the box for Dele Alli to score.

Burnley’s left back zone continues to be the problem area. The less defensively minded Robbie Brady is often on this side. Left back Stephen Ward is also happier going forward than defending.

The pair often get caught out, as Chelsea highlighted on opening day. Burnley struggles against good isolation players on this side. Willian, who has fast feet and quick shifts of the ball, isolated and beat Robbie Brady before left back Stephen Ward could help.

Willian jinks past left midfielder Robbie Brady ahead of Spurs vs Burnley in the Premier League.

Willian jinks past left midfielder Robbie Brady.

Willian’s cross then found Alvaro Morata running through the middle to head home.

Watch the goal in detail to see Burnley’s shape with their full backs tucked in and wide midfielder covering the flank and how Willian’s quickness beats them.

Chelsea then almost added a second, which was ruled out for offside on the goal line as Morata needlessly touched the ball in to the net. However, the move once more highlighted the positioning of Ward and how opponents can run off him.

Christensen runs past Ward untracked ahead of Spurs vs Burnley in the Premier League.

Willian picks out Andreas Christensen’s  run past Ward.

Burnley’s left side has been a problem for them so far. Kieran Trippier provides good crossing from this flank. However, Mauricio Pochettino may need to introduce some speed and a good isolation player off the dribble. Kyle Walker-Peters may therefore be in line to make an appearance or Son Heung-Min may get switched to this side in a more advanced role.

Centre back issues

Burnley has been weak on crosses so far this season, but they are also fragile in the middle. A patched up back line with James Tarkowski coming in for the departed Michael Keane has seen the Clarets struggle.

Alvaro Morata ran off James Tarkowski to head home his first Chelsea goal on opening day at Stamford Bridge.

Alvaro Morata runs off James Tarkowski to score ahead of Spurs vs Burnley in the Premier League.

Alvaro Morata runs off James Tarkowski to score.

David Luiz took advantage of the centre back to score as well. Alvaro Morata flicked on Cesar Azpilicueta’s forward pass for Luiz to run past Tarkowski and finish.

Luiz runs past Tarkowski to finish Morata's flick on aheadof Spurs vs Burnley in the Premier League.

Luiz runs past Tarkowski to finish Morata’s flick on.

Hal Robinson-Kanu then ran off and dribbled past Tarkowski to score the only goal of the game in West Brom’s win last weekend.

Robson-Kanu beats Tarkowski to score ahead of Spurs vs BUrnley in the Premier League.

Robson-Kanu beats Tarkowski to score.

Expect Mauricio Pochettino to target James Tarkowski from either crosses or going straight through the centre during Spurs vs Burnley this Sunday.

Crossing guard

Burnley has shown their strength on crosses already this season. Sam Vokes netted twice from balls in to the box against Chelsea. Jack Cork also nodded home a goal in their Carabao Cup win over Blackburn Rovers.

The Clarets have sizeable options up top with Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes and new arrival Chris Wood. Jonathan Walters also provides a target man from the bench who is good in the air as well.

The dangerous side has been from balls whipped in from the Burnley right. In fact, the Clarets have attempted a massive 71% of their crosses in to the box from the right flank. What’s more, all three of their goals from crosses so far this season have come from this side. Ben Davies at left back will have his work cut out to stop the service during Spurs vs Burnley this Sunday.

Set pieces

Burnley are very good at set pieces, but equally liable to concede from one.

With their aerial presence it’s unsurprising that Burnley lead the Premier League at attempts from corners. However they are also a threat to score direct from a well placed Robbie Brady free kick.

However, the Clarets are also poor at defending set pieces too. Last season, only Sunderland allowed more attempts at their goal from set pieces than Burnley. The trend has continued this term. So far only Chelsea has conceded more attempts at their goal from dead ball situations than Sean Dyche’s team.

Christian Eriksen put several dangerous balls in to the box at set pieces against Chelsea. Expect Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Victor Wanyama to be itching to get on the end of one during Spurs vs Burnley this Sunday.

Spurs vs Burnley outlook

With their strong team shape, Burnley is always a difficult opponent. A trip to Wembley Stadium will also inspire them to put on a good performance.

The key to defeating Burnley often lies in isolating and beating their wide midfielders to get in to crossing or pull back positions from the by-line. Spurs will therefore need to play with width and utilise what speed we have in wide areas to win the game.

Spurs vs Burnley prediction: Spurs 2-0 Burnley.

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8 Responses to Spurs vs Burnley preview: tactical scouting report (h)

  1. SomeDude 26th August 2017 at 7:23 am #

    From reading what you say I hope we don’t start with Son on the right. I think Trippier with Erickson on that side would be better with Son then on the left. Making son an auxiliary wingback doesn’t work for me. I think I remember watching poch try that against Moses and Chelsea and it didn’t work ouy too well in my opinion. Buy I think he makes another good body in the box and a da heroes player. Also Erickson could get some space with players being drawn to Trippier.

    For midfield the question remains on who to play in the centre? Personally I think Dier & Wanyama especially as set prices might count. Will be interested to see who poch picks as getting the same fluidity of last season is a must.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 26th August 2017 at 9:49 am #

      Good point SomeDude. Defensive midfield will be interesting as the Wanyama and Winks combination that started the the last time we played Burnley didn’t fare well and the Dier and Dembele partnership that occurred due to injuries ended up taking over that game.

      Son on the right would be as an advanced midfielder rather than wingback. Yes Poch did try that with Son against Chelsea and it was a disaster so it’d only be a choice as an advanced midfielder for me.

      • SomeDude 27th August 2017 at 2:37 am #

        My point is that I don’t think son is suited to being a pure winger. It could be risky but with 2 CDMs to cover I think this is a good one for Trippier to see if he has the legs to be a straight walker replacement. And I think Son’s drifting in and dribbles can be covered by the more defensively minded Davies.

        Just my thoughts, I’ll probably be proven wrong after the fact. Will be relying on your analysis as I can’t catch the game this week :( COYS

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 27th August 2017 at 12:47 pm #

          I’m not sure Son is either, but he has the pace and trickery to do the job against the main Burnley weakness. Its also on his natural side so he’ll be headed for the by-line down the outside and he won’t be cutting back inside in to the traffic and the heart of the Burnley defence as he will be if used on the left. Tripps needs to have a big game and will be the key guy if not.

  2. Matt 26th August 2017 at 9:30 am #

    I think Son must play, regardless which side. All the talk about Wembley pitch, maybe a bit of extra width will help us this weekend if we use it well. Teams are so well drilled these days but when someone beats a man any set up becomes vulnerable. William or Mahrez consistently show that. IMO that’s why Barkley would be a good addition for us.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 26th August 2017 at 9:51 am #

      We will need to use the full width of the pitch that is for sure. Irritating that the rugby league challenge cup final will be played on it today, so who knows the state of the Wembley playing surface tomorrow?

  3. Matt 26th August 2017 at 5:51 pm #

    Hadn’t realised that. No scrums in league so should be less wear and tear than a footy match. Should be OK. It could be worse, we could be playing all matches away because our ground has become an athletics stadium! I see Sanchez has his permit. Bench at best I expect as he’ll neither be Poch fit nor integrated into the defence patterns. Can’t wait to see him though, fast, aggressive and good in the air. A back 3 of verts, toby and Sanchez could be pretty exciting!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 27th August 2017 at 12:44 pm #

      Yes don’t think we’ll see him today unless we are 3 or 4 up and cruising with 15 or so minutes to go. Shame that he will be away with Columbia to play Venezuela and Brazil in the international break too. He’ll have very little time with the squad and a long round trip to South America before the next Premier League games on 9th September.