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