Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to break into the European places when they lock horns with Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.
Antonio Conte will be aiming for his first away win as the Tottenham Hotspur head coach when his side takes on Burnley on Sunday. The Italian tactician had started his tenure with a goalless draw with Everton, followed by a narrow win over Leeds United.
However, a shock 2-1 defeat to NS Mura in the UEFA Europa Conference League has put Conte under pressure. It will be imperative for the former Inter Milan coach to rally his troops ahead of their must-win encounter against the Clarets this weekend.
Currently standing seventh in the Premier League table, three points in this game could potentially help Tottenham Hotspur overtake fifth-placed Arsenal, who are facing a tricky encounter against Newcastle United on Saturday.
The Lilywhites have a relatively forgiving fixture list coming up as they go head to head against two of the three promoted sides and Burnley in their next three games. It will be an opportunity for Conte’s men to make up some valuable ground and return in contention for a potential top-four status by the end of the year.
For their opponents, Burnley, their objective is simply about survival. Sean Dyche’s men have looked much weaker this season, having collected only nine points from 12 matches. However, they have appeared quite resolute lately, managing to avoid defeat in each of their last four games.
The run of matches includes a 1-1 draw with Chelsea, although the Clarets did notably lose to Tottenham in the Carabao Cup about a month ago. They will be hoping to avoid a similar result this time out, and here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their crucial encounter in the Premier League this weekend.
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— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) November 26, 2021
Burnley have enjoyed a good run of form lately, with six of their nine points this season coming in the last four matches. But they have been handed a major blow heading into this game, as defensive stalwart James Tarkowski is set to miss out due to suspension due to an accumulation of too many yellow cards.
Tarkowski’s absence should leave a massive void in the Burnley defence – one Nathan Collins will be expected to fill. The Irishman looks set to form the central defensive partnership alongside Ben Mee. Matthew Lowton and Charlie Taylor remain likely to occupy the full-back slots, joining the back-four that will protect Nick Pope in goal.
From a tactical perspective, Burnley are likely to operate with a deep defensive line that will restrict the Tottenham runners like Son Heung-Min from finding space behind the backline. At the same time, the two midfielders in Josh Brownhill and Jack Cork, who is set to deputise for the suspended Ashley Westwood, could play a vital role in the second line of press.
Indeed, it will be imperative for the Clarets to break up the opposition’s build-up play. And in that regard, the two wide players in Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Dwight McNeil, could be asked to also keep an eye on Tottenham’s marauding wing-backs.
Their main task, though, will be to act as runners from counters while providing crosses for Chris Wood, who will be additionally aided by the creativity of Maxwel Cornet, operating just behind the number nine.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Collins, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Cork, Brownhill, McNeil; Cornet, Wood
After fielding a second fiddle squad in the midweek encounter against NS Mura, Antonio Conte is set to ring in the changes this weekend, recalling some of the key players in the team, including Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The Dane’s presence in midfield, coupled with the return of the suspended Oliver Skipp, will offer some much-needed solidity in the middle of the park. It may also provide additional security in possession, as Spurs look to avoid being overrun by the Burnley press.
🗣 "We have to give more."
Our focus switches to Sunday's trip to Turf Moor. pic.twitter.com/ovLWd7OYCe
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 26, 2021
The remainder of the second line of press should see Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon reclaiming their spots as the two wing-backs, at the expense of Matt Doherty and Ryan Sessegnon.
However, the wing-back duo may also play a vital role in aiding the back three. Speaking of which, Conte is likely to recall both Eric Dier and Ben Davies this weekend to strengthen the backline further. Dier, in particular, will serve as the defensive leader as he looks to marshal the backline consisting of him, Davies and the young Japhet Tanganga.
As for the attacking unit, Harry Kane remains the undisputed number nine for the Lilywhites. But alongside the Englishman, both Bryan Gil and Dele Alli are set to make way for Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura.
Son and Moura can offer the dynamism and pace in the Tottenham frontline and may even be used as the runners. But it remains to be seen whether Burnley will offer them any space to run into.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Lloris; Tanganga, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Reguilon; Lucas, Kane, Son
- Burnley have won just one of their last 12 Premier League games against Spurs, winning 2-1 at Turf Moor in February 2019.
- Tottenham have only failed to score in one of their 14 Premier League games against Burnley, a 0-0 draw in April 2015. Meanwhile, they’ve kept eight clean sheets against the Clarets in the competition.
- Burnley have won just one of their last 15 league games, keeping just one sheet in the process. However, the Clarets are unbeaten in four in the Premier League, scoring more goals in this run (9) than they had in their previous 13 combined (8).
- Only Everton (7) have won more points from losing positions in the Premier League this season than Tottenham (6), with Spurs winning against Leeds United last out time having trailed 1-0 at half-time.
- Only Norwich City (120) have had fewer shots than Tottenham (124) in the Premier League so far this season. Indeed, Spurs’ record of 10.3 shots per game is their lowest on record in a single Premier League campaign (since 1997/98).
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Ben Davies has been an exciting anomaly during Antonio Conte’s brief spell at Tottenham so far. Largely an outcast under the reign of Jose Mourinho and even Nuno Espirito Santo, the full-back has become a first-team regular in the current setup, starting ahead of Davinson Sanchez and Joe Rodon.
In the absence of Cristian Romero, Davies’s performances have been critical in helping Tottenham remain resilient at the back. However, the Welshman is yet to be assigned a proper role in the side and with the January transfer window just around the corner, he will be hoping to nail down a place in the team by producing good performances throughout December.
Starting against Burnley, the onus will be Davies to offer the solidity in the Tottenham backline. At the same time, his ability to effortlessly shift into the left-back position could be useful, especially when Sergio Reguilon camps himself in the opposition third.
Burnley 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Despite their midweek defeat to NS Mura, Tottenham Hotspur are the undisputed favourites heading into this game. The Lilywhites have looked much more solid under the leadership of Antonio Conte, and more importantly, they have been able to exhibit a proper identity in the recent set of matches.
On Sunday, they could easily get the better of a Burnley team which has showcased good form but will be without key players such as Ashley Westwood and James Tarkowski. It may also be a difficult ask for them to breach the Spurs backline. And with the likes of Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg set to return to the team, we are expecting a comfortable 2-0 victory for the visitors.