Match Preview: Burnley vs Tottenham Hotspur

Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur shakes hands with Sean Dyche, Manager of Burnley prior to the Premier League match between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on December 23, 2017 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Burnley host Tottenham at Turf Moor on Saturday

Tottenham will look to continue their push for a top-two finish when they travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley.

With Liverpool and Manchester City not playing domestic fixtures until Sunday and Wednesday, Spurs have a chance to close the gap on the pair.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side currently sit third in the table five points behind the title battling teams ahead of them.

With a nine-point gap between themselves and Manchester United in fourth, their focus is on putting the pressure on both City and Liverpool ahead of them. A win over the Clarets would reduce that gap to two points.

They head into this game in fine form, having picked up four straight wins in the league. They have also enjoyed a comfortable victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League to boost confidence further.

Burnley, meanwhile, have recovered from first half of the campaign to drag themselves away from relegation trouble.

Sitting 15th in the table and three points outside the relegation zone they are by no means safe, but there is confidence abound that the Clarets can secure their Premier League status once again.

A 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion was much needed last time around and extended their unbeaten run to six games in the league.

Coupled with points against Manchester United and Watford, both top six teams, Dyche’s side appear to have turned a corner and will be hopeful of taking more points when Spurs visit in this game.

Team News

Tottenham will still be without Dele Alli, who is not expected to return from a hamstring injury.

There is better news on Harry Kane, though, who has recovered quickly from an ankle injury. Mauricio Pochettino believes the striker could be ready to make the squad for this game at least.

Similarly, both Ben Davies and Danny Rose face late fitness tests. Jan Vertonghen’s impressive displays at left-back, though, may tempt Pochettino to leave them out.

Burnley will definitely be without Aaron Lennon as he is recovering from surgery on a cartilage issue in his knee.

There is also no return date in place for midfielder Steven Defour, but there is better news on both Robbie Brady and Johan Berg Gudmundsson.

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The pair are expected to return from injuries on the 23rd February and Burnley will be particularly keen on the latter passing a fitness test given his total of four assists so far.

What the managers said

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 08: Mauricio Pochettino, looks on prior to the Carabao Cup Semi-Final Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Predictably, the focus for Mauricio Pochettino was on the chances of Harry Kane starting. The Argentine refused to answer as much but labelled the striker an ‘animal’:

“Everyone knows that Harry is an animal, he wants to be ready as soon as possible.

“He made everything to try to recover. Of course the injury that he suffered is tough to recover from, but it’s more the possibility that when you push you push.

“In some injuries, you cannot push too much, because you need to be careful. When it’s a massive injury, it’s completely different.

“We’re so happy that in the last ten days he was fantastic, back in training again, and he can be available again. It’s going to be a massive impact for everyone.

“He’s good, he’s very good. I think we need to assess him in one more training session tomorrow and then decide. But I think he’s doing well. I’m happy with him and maybe he’ll be available to be part of the squad on Saturday.”

Burnley v Chelsea - Premier League
BURNLEY, ENGLAND – APRIL 19: Sean Dyche, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Sean Dyche, meanwhile, was keen to point out that title-chasing Spurs are not as dependent on Kane as most would think:

“He’s a top striker. Although they have fared pretty well without him. He is one of the best around when fit,” he said.

“He does more or less everything. For all people say, ‘is he really quick’, a lot of centre-forwards are, but he is quick with his brain, he’s quick in is movement and he sees things really quickly.

[But] it has been proven that they are not just a Harry Kane Tottenham. But it’s fair to say, he adds to it without a shadow of a doubt.”

Stats

Tottenham have the best away form in the Premier League this season, having won 11 of their 13 games on the road so far.

Burnley’s home form has not been as strong this season. They’ve half of their 12 league games at Turf Moor so far.

Burnley have proven tricky away opponents for Spurs in the past, though. They’ve won two, drawn one and lost one of their four visits there so far.

Should Harry Kane feature he will be looking to add to his impressive tally against the Clarets. He’s currently on five goals in seven games against them.
Burnley’s top goalscorers Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes have managed three goals in seven games between them against Tottenham.