Burnley will relish stopping Spurs strikers
Tottenham in for a hard game
BT Sport 1, 5.30pm Saturday
Nearly 80 years later, punters can expect a similarly tight game between the teams lying sixth and seventh in the Premier League.
Mauricio Pochettino would have feared for his job if anyone had told him Tottenham would be a point behind Burnley after 18 games but that reflects the Clarets’ stunning efforts rather than any crisis at Spurs.
Sean Dyche’s men kicked off the campaign in style, landing odds of 14-1 in a 3-2 win at champions Chelsea before pinching a point at Tottenham in their next away game.
Ignoring the 3-0 defeat at Manchester City – a respectable result given the Citizens’ quality – Burnley have conceded just nine goals in 17 league matches and one of those was the disputed injury-time penalty that gave Arsenal a 1-0 win at Turf Moor.
Few teams will be looking forward to their trip to Lancashire and odds of 4-7 about Tottenham would be short enough even if they were in top form.
Instead, though, Pochettino’s men arrive at Burnley after four defeats in their last five away league games – the latest a 4-1 humbling at leaders City.
That scoreline probably flattered Spurs as City missed a penalty before Christian Eriksen did the business in injury-time for backers of both teams to score.
Tottenham’s defence, bolstered by the return from suspension of the rugged Davinson Sanchez, should have a far easier ride against Burnley’s forwards but they are unlikely to get any Christmas presents from an outstanding home backline.
James Tarkowski’s ban is a blow but understudy Kevin Long played in this month’s 1-0 wins over Watford and Stoke when Ben Mee was injured.
And the Clarets’ success under Dyche is built on the team unit rather than any individual stars – first-choice keeper Tom Heaton has been out since September while Tarkowski, who made only four league starts last term, has superbly filled the void left by Michael Keane’s move to Everton.
Keeping Eriksen, Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son quiet will be another tough test for Burnley but they relish these kind of fixtures.
Last season they held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at home, beat Liverpool 2-0 and suffered another cruel late 1-0 defeat to Arsenal while Spurs were made to wait until the 66th minute to open the scoring in their 2-0 victory at Turf Moor.
Another low-scoring contest looks highly likely and the 3-4 about one or both teams failing to find the net is an appealing bet.
One or both teams not to score
2pts 3-4 Betfair
James Tarkowski starts a three-game ban for violent conduct so Kevin Long could deputise in defence. Left-back Stephen Ward (knee) is likely to miss out but Matt Lowton may return.
Davinson Sanchez is back after suspension but Victor Wanyama is unlikely to feature as he continues his recovery from a knee problem.
Burnley’s nine home Premier League games this season have featured only ten goals.
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