as did Spurs.
A gawd awful game of football ended with the right outcome for football as Spurs beat Burnley one nil, no thanks to Jose desire to go toe-to-toe and inactivity when it wasn’t working.
Spurs last trip to Burnley saw them drop points with a draw so this was an upgrade as was the side picked by Jose but again it feels like needs to fight against Burnley and picks a team to based on the opposition rather than picking his best players and letting the opposition worry about Spurs.
At least this time there wasn’t the five centre-backs in the starting XI there was last time. But the likes of Davies and Sissoko made it a functional side rather than a flowing one, leading to some very dull play and very few chances created. In fact Spurs didn’t register a shot on target in the first half for the first time this season.
Davies started the season well with a number of assist, showing what having a real rival for your spot will do but here he had a dog of a game, crosses either going far and wide from any intended target or just hitting the first defender. Doherty wasn’t up to much on the other side. While Moura was running into cul-de-sacs. Ndombele was the one hope but Burnley were crowding everything out and it was all compacted into the middle, where Burnley wanted it and could control it with a mass of bodies.
Jose watched it not working in an attacking way for 45 minutes and decided that he’d watch it not working for another 10 minutes. When the change came it really was a like for like. Lamela replacing Moura. Erik proceeded to run into cul-de-sacs. You felt Jose was just putting on another player for a battle rather than to break them down.
Spurs as usual in such games had the all the ball but their keeper really wasn’t having much to do. In then though ironically against a team who just look to score from a set piece it was a corner that led to the only goal of the game and it came from Spurs.
Unsurprisingly it was that pair again. Son and Harry. Lamela’s corner saw Kane drop back to the penalty spot and flick header the ball back to goal, where Son had ghosted unmarked into acres of space to nod home what turned out to be the winner. Son now the league’s top scorer, Harry the league’s top assister.
You could hear the sadness in Martin Tyler’s voice. Another game of his anti-Spurs commentary, laughably still crying over Martial’s red card – Christ it’s over three weeks ago man, let it go – and then highlighting how little attention he pays to the actual action on the pitch, or what he’s saying. He stated during the game that Winks was available even from the bench – something that brought great joy here – and then almost in the same breath he said that every sideways pass from Spurs was a moral victory for Burnley.
Really Martin, have you actually watched Winks play?
Just after the goal Jose finally brought on Lo Celso, it had been crying out for him for ages, for Ndombele. It’s like he really doesn’t want to play them together. Ndombele played his part and well it was a better outing than the last game here, when he was dragged off at half-time. Lo Celso showed in those 10 minutes on the pitch what he brings.
Into added time and Jose introduced another centre-back, well he couldn’t help himself, with new boy Joe Rodon making his debut appearance, for Son.
Many see it as a tactical masterclass by Jose. A victory and a clean sheet. But it was close to being a clean sheet for Spurs and if Harry hadn’t been up to his usual heroics in defence it could have been one nil to the home side, after Kane cleared a great chance of his own line.
Would Reguilon, Bale and Lo Celso have been too lightweight for this game? Too flaky? No and they would have been a better option to create more chances, put them under pressure around their box and not have to worry about what Burnley would do going forward. They certainly wouldn’t have made for a duller game.
Yes it’s a valuable three points and Spurs move up to fifth. Before the season a non-Spurs fan said to me that after the first couple of months Spurs should be top of the league. Well they’re two points off after six games but for those draws against Newcastle and West Ham where they conceded the lead and gave away victory they would have been top by a point.