Tottenham v Burnley
Sunday 28 February, 14:00
Live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event
Where did it all go wrong?
When Tottenham left London for Anfield in mid-December, there was genuine title talk in N17 and Jose Mourinho’s stock appeared to be rising towards its Noughties levels.
The Portuguese’s soak-it-up, break-hard-and-fast tactics came undone that night but only just. Had Harry Kane and Steven Bergwijn taken gilt-edged chances, would Spurs really be sitting ninth little over two months later?
We’ll obviously never know but what is clear is what happened that night on Merseyside was the catalyst for a run which few would have predicted.
Spurs have now won just three of their last 12 league games, losing seven, and they’ve been knocked out of the FA Cup to boot.
Their last eight league matches have seen them garner just seven points and they now sit nine outside the top four, albeit with a game in hand.
At least the Europa League has offered a ray of hope in the past couple of weeks – and it may become increasingly important in the remainder of the season. A decent draw in the last 16 – Dinamo Zagreb – makes it look a realistic route back into the Champions League.
Dele Alli impressed in Thursday’s demolition of Austrian side Wolfsberger, while Gareth Bale again caught the eye off the bench.
Both men couldn’t have done much more over the past week to push their claims for a start – Bale also impressed as a sub against West Ham last weekend – and even a manager who prioritises keeping goals out must be considering the pair ahead of this game.
Clarets tough to beat
They may well need a more attacking line-up given Burnley’s outlook seems unlikely to be hugely forward-thinking.
They’ve netted just eight goals in 12 away games so far this season. Filter it down to matches against teams currently in the top half and they’ve scored only three in seven. Their overall Premier League tally of 18 goals is better than only one team – rock-bottom Sheffield United.
Premier League Correct Score Tips: Infogol’s predictions for the weekend’s games
Despite those issues in attack, Burnley have been back to their tough-to-beat selves of late. They are unbeaten in four and have lost only three of their last 10 in all competitions. Only seven sides have conceded fewer goals which is pretty impressive for a team who sit 15th and now only six points outside the relegation zone following Fulham’s recent revival.
While Ashley Barnes will remain out for this match, their forward line could well be boosted by the return of first-choice centre forward Chris Wood (pictured), who is pivotal to the way Sean Dyche likes to play.
The Clarets were the first team in almost four years to win at Anfield last month and so should not be ruled out in the match result market at 7.413/2. They’ve also enjoyed their recent trips to London, winning at Palace, Fulham (in the cup) and Arsenal (a loss at West Ham came in the middle of that run).
It’s certainly hard to get enthused about Spurs at 1.574/7 right now, whoever they face.
Those keen enough on the hosts may want to consider backing them to win to nil, something which boosts their price to 2.68/5.
Four of their five home wins this season come this way, while nine of Burnley’s 11 defeats have been suffered without the Clarets finding the net.
Goal line offers route to profit
I’m not tempted enough by that but the stats there point towards my recommendation, namely under 2.5 goals at 2.021/1.
The numbers are strong for this coming in, with 67% of Spurs’ home games and the same amount of Burnley’s away matches having delivered for this bet so far in 2020/21.
Looking specifically at Spurs’ home games against teams in the bottom half, four of five have seen fewer than three goals. Add this to five of seven away and you see a pattern of Mourinho’s men struggling to break down opponents prepared to dig in against them and deny them that space in behind which Son Heung-min and Harry Kane thrived upon earlier in the season.
The reverse fixture – won 1-0 by Spurs thanks to a late goal from Son – also fits the bill for this bet and I’m a tad surprised to be getting odds-against in this market.
No team has failed to score in more different Premier League games than Burnley this season (13), while only three teams have kept more clean sheets than the Clarets (9). Indeed, Burnley’s Premier League games have seen just 48 goals scored this term, fewer than any other side (F18 A30).
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