This fixture signals the halfway point of the Premier League season. Burnley host Spurs – who were runners-up last season – as they look down on the Lilywhites from sixth. Quite remarkable, really, that Sean Dyche’s Clarets have kept pace with the top six all the way to Christmas, and the next chapter in this stellar season could be written at Turf Moor on Saturday evening.
Spurs’ minor underachievement has contributed to this surprising standing, but the onus is on the heroics performed by Burnley. Averaging less than a goal scored per match, the Lancashire club have won half of their matches. It’s quite silly.
Dyche’s recognition is coming. Should be cause another upset this Saturday, though, that recognition could be accelerated. Their drop off is expected, but each week they keep in touch with Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool, the more realistic the prospect of Dyche managing in Europe in 2018 becomes.
This is a great time to play Spurs, too. A blend of fatigue and poor form has swept across the squad, and the absence of Toby Alderweireld is haunting them defensively. Burnley are at 8/5 to win or draw. I think that’s a brilliant price for a team with their record this season, and facing a wounded Spurs after their 4-1 decimation at Manchester City.
The return of Davinson Sanchez should reinforce that Spurs back line, however.
Spurs’ downfall in recent weeks has seen them slip off the top four pace somewhat. This is, in part, down to a five match winless road streak in the Premier League. The run must really sap the confidence out of potential Spurs backers for this one, particularly against a Burnley team that are so secure defensively.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane have hit relative dips of late, too. Kane only has his brace against Stoke in his last four, while Alli has not scored since November 1st. Indicative of their recent struggles, perhaps, but equally indicative of just how good Heung-min Son has been. The former Bayer Leverkusen man is at 17/4 to score first.
Burnley’s low-scoring has been enabled by a defence that has kept six clean sheets in their last six. While I think Spurs will find the net at Turf Moor, the price of EVENS for the visitors to score under 1.5 is a good one.
Kane has not been quite himself of late, and this Burnley side have looked even better at the back than last season. The losses of Tom Heaton and Michael Keane have clearly not made much difference thanks to Nick Pope and James Tarkowski.
Despite how impressive Burnley are, I find it very hard to split the two sides this weekend. The Clarets are defying plenty of logic thus far – and they may well continue to do so – but I think they will have to score twice to win this weekend, which I cannot see happening with the return of Sanchez for Spurs.
Failure to win is not as harmful for Spurs as it might be at other times. Liverpool and Arsenal facing each other gives the Lilywhites a lifeline.
TIP: Match to finish 1-1 @ 13/2
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*