Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they play hosts to Burnley in Matchweek 26 on Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to put an end to their disappointing run of form in the Premier League when they welcome a resilient Burnley outfit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend.
From being contenders for the title to now fighting to keep their Champions League hopes alive, Jose Mourinho & co. have seen a swift downfall in their league campaign. Following their 2-1 defeat to West Ham United in the derby last week, Tottenham have now lost five of their last six league games, and are ninth in the table, six points off of the Hammers in fourth.
However, convincing displays in the UEFA Europa League that saw them oust Austrian outfit Wolfsberger AC from the Round of 32 stages with an aggregate scoreline of 8-1 does provide some hope heading into the weekend clash. But, the game against Sean Dyche’s Burnley outfit will be anything but straightforward for the Lilywhites.
Indeed, the Clarets, following their goalless draw against West Bromwich Albion last time out, have now gone four games without a loss in the Premier League, putting them six points clear off the relegation zone in the fifteenth position. And they will be hoping to make the most of Spurs’ poor form in the league to put further distance between themselves and the bottom three.
The reverse fixture saw Tottenham eke out a narrow 1-0 win over Burnley courtesy of a late goal from Son Heung-min. And ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday afternoon at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
There is good news on the injury front for Tottenham as both Serge Aurier and Giovani Lo Celso are back in training. However, the latter still needs a couple of weeks to return to on-field action and will miss the clash against Burnley. Having made a number of changes for the midweek game against Wolfsberger, Jose Mourinho should bring back his regulars on Sunday.
Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris should replace Joe Hart between the sticks while the centre-back pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier is retained in order to provide some sense of stability at the back. The returning Aurier should come in at right-back while Sergio Reguilon replaces Ben Davies at left-back, with the duo likely to have a key role to play with their forward forays on the day.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg should also return to the fold after being afforded a rest in midweek. The Dane will sit back and shield the Tottenham defence while his partner, Tanguy Ndombele will be in charge of driving the team forward and opening up a compact Burnley backline with his eye for a pass.
Dele Alli enjoyed a brilliant game against Wolfsberger in midweek and Mourinho needs to persist with him for Sunday’s game as the Englishman needs regular game-time if he is to reach his peak again. Gareth Bale did not start in midweek, giving a strong indicator that the Welshman is likely to get the nod against Burnley out on the right flank.
Son Heung-min, who scored the only goal of the game in the reverse fixture, is a certainty on the left. But, he quickly needs to rediscover his early-season form as Tottenham look to resurrect their faltering league campaign. At the top of the attack, there is no looking past star man Harry Kane with Carlos Vinicius offering an option from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Ndombele, Hojbjerg; Bale, Alli, Son; Kane
There is mixed news for Burnley with regard to injuries as Chris Wood, Jay Rodriguez back in contention having trained with the team. However, the likes of Erik Pieters, Robbie Brady and Dale Stephens remain doubts while Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Ashley Barnes are confirmed absentees.
No changes in shape or tactics are expected from Sean Dyche who will set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation, instructing them to sit deep behind the ball, frustrate the opponents and catch them out with long-balls or from set-piece situations.
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) February 26, 2021
Nick Pope, who has emerged as a summer target for Tottenham, will need to be at the top of his game to keep out Harry Kane & co. In James Tarkowski and Ben Mee, the Clarets have a solid, no-nonsense centre-back partnership who will be flanked by Matthew Lowton and Charlie Taylor with the duo expected to play close to the central defenders.
Jack Cork and Ashley Westwood will hold the fort in the middle of the park, shielding the Burnley backline from the forward runs of the Tottenham midfielders. The two wide midfielders, Josh Brownhill and Dwight McNeil are likely to act as the outlets when Burnley break forward.
With Wood back in contention, he should start at the top alongside Rodriguez. The New Zealand international’s physical approach will give the Tottenham defenders a lot to think about on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Brownhill, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Wood, Rodriguez
- Tottenham to win @ 1.50
- Son Heung-Min to score first @ 4.33
- Tottenham have won seven of their last eight home matches against Burnley in all competitions.
- Burnley have won four of their last six league games in London (L2), winning away at Arsenal and Crystal Palace in the ongoing campaign.
- Tottenham Hotspur have lost five of their last six league outings (W1), more than they had lost in their previous 28 games in the competition.
- No team has failed to score in more different Premier League games than Burnley this season (13). On the other hand, only three other teams have more clean sheets than the Clarets (9).
- Having netted eight goals in his first six Premier League games this season, Tottenham star Son Heung-min has added just five more in his subsequent 18 appearances.
Player to Watch
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 25, 2021
The England international has endured a difficult campaign thus far, having been reduced to a peripheral figure in the squad under Jose Mourinho. The uncertainty surrounding his future in the summer as well as in the January window did not help his cause, nor did the injury he picked up during the early parts of the year.
However, Thursday’s performance against Wolfsberger AC will come as a ray of hope for Alli as he looks to re-establish himself as a regular in the lineup. A stunning overhead kick to open the scoring against the Austrians were followed by two assists in the second half, earning plenty of plaudits from Mourinho.
Likely to be given a chance against the Clarets, it will now be upon the 24-year-old to make sure he is able to build on his latest display and work his way back into Jose’s plans.
Tottenham 1-0 Burnley
Burnley do not concede a lot of goals, as indicated by the fact that they have kept the joint fourth-highest number of clean sheets in the Premier League this term. However, the Clarets are a goal-shy outfit themselves, which has been a problem for Sean Dyche and can be a disadvantage on their trip to London.
Tottenham impressed in midweek against Wolfsberger, but have often found it tough to break down resolute defences in the league. But, it bodes well for them that Dele Alli is showing signs of form while Gareth Bale has also impressed of late. Add Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to the mix and they should have enough to pick up a much-needed win on Sunday.