Spurs title hopes stunted by steadfast Burnley

Chris Wood celebrates his opening goal
Chris Wood celebrates his opening goal

It’s excruciating for Spurs to be set back at such a crucial point in the season.

The club would have closed the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City had they have secured some points at Turf Moor. Instead, Burnley were able to secure their footing in the Premier League.

Spurs were incompetent on the day, but the referee similarly made some suspect decision making. Mike Dean failed to spot a double ricochet that awarded Burnley a corner which they then scored from. The ball bounced off Jeff Hendrick and thus Spurs should have been awarded a goal-kick. However, the resulting defending from the corner was atrocious. It was a good delivery which Chris Wood finished well. But, he was more or less given a free header, since Juan Foyth wasn’t tight enough. There never should have been a corner to defend in the first place, but similarly, with basic defensive discipline, Foyth would have been able to clear the threat.

Pochettino is largely a manager who is able to keep a lid on his emotions. However, he has been charged with misconduct by the FA for his confrontation of Mike Dean following the final whistle. He has every right to be angry with Dean’s poor decision making on the day. Furthermore, there seemed to be something that Dean said, off-camera, that really provoked Pochettino and Jesus Perez. The charge on Pochettino is fair. It is unprofessional to confront the referee in such a manner. But, this incident also illustrates the involvement of Pochettino in his team, clearly invested in his club’s progress.

Furthermore, Burnley’s winner was such a sloppy goal to concede. Serge Aurier’s pathetic clearance bounced, with Moussa Sissoko unable to get a foot in. After that, Ashley Barnes was in acres of space in between Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen, delighted to smash the winner home. To make so many individual errors in one match is unacceptable. Burnley may not have had the greatest share of possession, but they seized upon the mistakes Spurs made. Tottenham, on the other hand, really struggled in breaking the Clarets down; a recurring issue within the club who often struggle against packed defences.

There was a moment of hope in the match, with Harry Kane surprisingly starting the match. He played the full 90 minutes, which was another promising sign. He managed to bludgeon his way into the box to tap home an equaliser in the second half. This was another controversy causing moment since Rose was deemed to be throwing the ball at least another five yards up the line than where the ball exited the pitch. In another moment during the match, Kane forced Heaton into a good save, firing a shot from at least 25-yards out. It was a really smart strike that shows the striker is still as confident and hungry for goals as ever. He still seemed a little sluggish; his touches sometimes lacked control. But he seems to be recovering well from injury which is the most important thing.

After beating Dortmund 3-0 in the week, it was a dismal crashing back down to reality for Spurs. Each game is set up differently, however, Spurs were lacking in the very basics of the game. There may have been some controversial decisions made, but poor defending meant that they already had to make up two goals. Kane returned and grabbed a goal which may have otherwise secured the points if not for these mistakes. Tottenham really struggled to create chances, even with the combined efforts of Kane, Lucas Moura, Heung-Min Son and Fernando Llorente during the course of the match. Meanwhile, Burnley were tough opponents who defended well and were clinical when it mattered. This is what Spurs need to take heed of; in what will be a difficult period in their Premier League and Champions League campaigns.