High-flying Burnley hosted a Tottenham side that had been inconsistent at best in recent weeks, for a top of the table Premier League clash. The Clarets headed into this game in sixth spot, one point above their opponents and boasting the joint best defensive record in the top flight. Spurs meanwhile needed a positive result from this one in order to keep pace with their top four rivals, and to give them some confidence during the hectic Christmas schedule.
Kane converts from the penalty spot
Unsurprisingly the visitors settled into the lion’s share of possession during the opening exchanges, but they looked tentative going forward, perhaps wary of being caught on the break by the home side, who had set up quite deep. Mauricio Pochettino’s men had lost four of their last five away games heading into this clash, but it didn’t take them long to get a grip on this game. A driving run into the box by Dele Alli was halted by a clumsy challenge from Kevin Long, and referee Michael Oliver pointed straight to the spot. Harry Kane stepped up and converted the penalty in emphatic fashion, giving his side a crucial early lead.
The early opener seemed to give Spurs a huge amount of confidence, and the North London side pressed vigorously for a second goal to kill the game. Alli and Heung-min Son in particular were finding huge gaps in the space between the Burnley midfield and defence, and it looked like only a matter of time before they would exploit the freedom they were being given. Kane almost bagged a second after a deflected pass from Alli, but the striker’s shot rippled agonisingly against the side netting.
Sissoko squanders two chances to double Tottenham’s lead
Tottenham’s dominance only got more evident after the 20-minute mark, and Moussa Sissoko had a golden opportunity to double his side’s lead. A lightning quick counterattack from a Burnley corner saw Alli slip the Frenchman through on goal, but Nick Pope got down brilliantly to deny the Spurs man. The rebound fell straight back to Sissoko, but this time his shot was straight at the keeper, and the second fantastic chance went begging. Alli was running rampant in midfield, but a lack of clinical decision making in the final third limited Spurs’ attacking threat.
Burnley suffered another blow when first choice centre forward Chris Wood was forced off due to injury, but this only seemed to spur the home side on. More penetrative attacks down the flank allowed the Clarets to deliver some crosses, and Tottenham did well to deal with the aerial threat of substitute striker Ashley Barnes. The home side’s attacks soon fizzled out however, and Spurs settled into a comfortable passing rhythm to take them to half time in complete control of the game.
Tottenham miss chance after chance
The second period began in a similar fashion to the first, and Tottenham went straight on the offensive. Kane almost converted brilliantly at the near post after a Christian Eriksen cross, but Pope was equal to the English international’s effort. Burnley appeared to have done little to deal with the space in behind their midfield, and Son, Eriksen and Alli continued to pull the strings with ease in the central areas. In truth the Clarets struggled to get out of their own half, but did well to soak up the visitors’ pressure.
On the 55-minute mark Heung-min Son had the second golden opportunity to bag a second for Tottenham, but once again a Spurs player fluffed his lines. Harry Kane put Serge Aurier through on the counter, and the fullback squared the ball to Son eight yards from goal. The South Korean international looked for all the world as if he was about to bury it, but his shot sailed high over the bar, and somehow Burnley remained in the game. The misses were very uncharacteristic of Pochettino’s men, and as the clock ticked on there was a slight nervousness that the Clarets might find a way back into the match.
Harry Kane finally starts a flurry of scoring
It took until the 70th minute for Tottenham to finally double their lead, and it was Harry Kane once again who got on the score sheet. The Clarets’ defence opened up uncharacteristically to allow Sissoko to find the striker with a simple through ball, and there was little doubt that Kane would nestle the ball into the corner of the goal. It was a well-deserved goal, and put the match almost out of reach of a Burnley side that has struggled to find the back of the net all season. To their credit Sean Dyche’s men did push for a goal, but Sam Vokes often cut an isolated figure up front.
There was little more for Tottenham to do than set Kane up for a hat-trick, and it didn’t take long for the imperious striker to manage that remarkable feat. A simple layoff from Alli allowed the striker to drive into the left hand side of the box, and he drove a shot back across goal with his left foot, burying it in the far corner. It was another brilliant finish for the Englishman, and rounded out an impressive win for Spurs.
For much of the game Burnley dealt well with Tottenham’s attacking pressure, and had they not conceded early they may well have been able to grind out a 0-0. However Kane’s goal ruined Sean Dyche’s game plan somewhat, and the Clarets have struggled for goals at the best of times this season. Chasing games is not their style, but the Clarets are still having a phenomenal season, and should bounce back from this defeat quickly.
This was a game that Tottenham needed to win, especially given their recent poor run of form, and they managed to earn an emphatic three points. In truth the North London side could have won by five or six, but the win was comfortable enough, and Spurs got themselves right back into the top four race. A hat-trick for Kane will give the striker a lot of confidence, and when he is on form Tottenham look utterly devastating.
Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Long, Mee, Taylor; Arfield (Wells, 86’), Cork, Hendrick (Vokes, 71’), Defour, Gudmundsson; Wood (Barnes, 35’)
Tottenham: Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier (Lamela, 83’); Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele (Llorente, 87’), Son (Dembele, 78’); Kane
Goals: Kane (0-1, 7’), Kane (0-2, 69’), Kane (0-3, 79’)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: Alli (4’), Sissoko (57’), Defour (88’)
Red Cards: None
Burnley: Pope 6; Bardsley 6, Long 5, Mee 6, Taylor 6; Arfield 6 (Wells n/a), Cork 6, Hendrick 6 (Vokes 5), Defour 6, Gudmundsson 6; Wood 5 (Barnes 5)
Tottenham: Lloris 6; Aurier 8, Sanchez 7, Vertonghen 7, Davies 6.5, Dier 7 (Lamela n/a); Sissoko 8, Eriksen 7, Dele 8 (Llorente n/a), Son 7 (Dembele n/a); Kane 9.5
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