Our FA Cup third round tie goes to a replay, as it finishes Burnley 1-1 Spurs at Turf Moor.
There was a distinct retro feel about our FA Cup third round tie with Burnley. It wasn’t just linked to the match programme, which harked back to the 1962 final contested between the teams, but also with regards to any visual coverage.
Unable to get to the game and without pictures to be found on TV or anywhere else, it meant having to settle for the radio. A throwback to the days of the pre-Sky era when very few matches were televised and the FA Cup was almost as important as winning the league.
What it all meant was that we were restricted to the figments of our imagination to make the commentator’s words come to life. Ironically, a pulse is what this game lacked, as both team’s rhythm and intensity were absent after our rampant win over Chelsea and Burnley’s six-goal thriller with Newcastle.
Without pictures, it’s impossible to do a tactical summary, although it sounded as if both teams were doing the best to nullify each other. Having played each other just 15 days earlier, this wasn’t surprising and can often be the case when you face an opponent in quick succession. Those of you who remember our five games with Wimbledon in 30 days during the 1998-99 season will know just that. The first three contained just two goals and an overall total of just six were scored in the five-match marathon.
What was of note from the all too brief highlights was how both teams reverted to type and scored goals that were in tune with how they attack and defend.
Chadli opens the scoring
Nacer Chadli cutting in from his starting wide forward role on the left and popping up in the box has been a key theme this season. The ‘Dolphin’ has become extremely smooth at doing this and that was how we opened the scoring.
The passage of play also highlighted Burnley’s nature to defend with their full back’s tucked in to their centre backs and leave the wide midfielder out on the flank.
We looked at this in the keys to Burnley vs Spurs as something that they have done this season. One example from their match with Southampton highlights how they use the wide midfielder, in this case George Boyd, to mark the opposition man. Whilst this is going on, right back Kieran Trippier is tucked in to his centre backs to have more men defending in the box.
This is something we took advantage of in Spurs 2 Burnley 1 at the Lane and we also did on our opening goal here.
In a rare quick break, Harry Kane moved the ball out to Ben Davies charging forward on the overlap. This saw George Boyd late getting back on his coverage and right back Kieran Trippier caught in two minds whether to go out to him or leave it to Boyd.
Kane’s neat pass meant that Davies could cross first time before Boyd could recover and Trippier was caught in the no-man’s land between his centre backs and wide midfielder.
Burnley’s defensive scheme of tucking the full backs in is supposed to get men back in the box. Despite the 18-yard area being full of Claret, Nacer Chadli ghosted in to space, taking Davies’ cross down and rifling it in to the corner.
The Belgian was our tip to be first goalscorer in the keys to Burnley vs Spurs preview and he duly obliged. What was also encouraging was that Davies has had trouble with his crossing this season, completing just 14%, so it was good to see him connect with one here.
We scored a goal from one of our patented moves with Chadli drifting inside to get on the end of a cross, taking advantage of Burnley’s defensive set up, so it was only natural they did too.
Burnley have been trying to get the ball forward quickly from the back by playing very direct. This has meant a lot of long aerial balls, but they also play them across the turf.
The passage of play that led to their equaliser started with Michael Keane sending a long pass across the deck up to Scott Arfield. The midfielder waited for Michael Kightly to surge past him to create a crossing situation. As we looked at in the keys to Burnley vs Spurs, this is something that the Clarets look for if they cannot create a shooting opportunity from the first long ball.
Just like Burnley had been, we were also caught with our full back pinching in to his centre backs, as Ben Davies had withdrawn himslef inside and away from the flank. Sam Vokes was loitering in the area and got open by almost standing still. Kightly’s pull back took a slight deflection off Davies and went right in to the striker’s path for him to guide home.
Burnley 1-1 Spurs overall
Mauricio Pochettino was left disappointed at the result, meaning that we have to play an extra game. This kind of sums up how much the FA Cup has fallen in the priorities of many sides since the days that the retro matchday programme was trying to rekindle.
Both teams scored goals that reverted to the type that they have been trying to create this season.What’s more both sides also reverted to the form that they’ve been more known for in this campaign. Burnley tough to break down and low scoring games at home; us often playing at too slow a tempo.
A draw and a replay seemed an apt outcome.
Final score: Burnley 1-1 Spurs.