Spurs outlast Burnley in encounter devoid of chances
Burnley - Tottenham was a thoroughly difficult slog for Jose Mourinho’s men, but in the end the Premier League’s most prolific scoring side found its way through for a late Son Heung-min goal, and a 1-0 victory, at Turf Moor on Monday.
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“Harry Kane finds Son, and he scores” is a phrase we’ve heard seven times (in PL action) now this season, as it was the homegrown hero credited with the assist on the winner.
3 things we learned: Burnley - Tottenham
1. Never stop Mourinho-ing: If you looked at Tottenham’s first five games this season and saw they had scored 15 goals — tops in the PL — and thought to yourself, “Wow, that Jose Mourinho, he really worked on himself and came back a better manager for it,” then shame on you. Sure, Burnley’s style isn’t exactly conducive to a wide-open, entertaining game, but it takes two to tango, and Mourinho is forever a willing participant in a nothing’s-really-happening defensive battle.
2. On the plus side, a clean sheet for Spurs: In other very un-Mourinho-like news, Tottenham hadn’t managed to keep a clean sheet in the PL yet this season. Not only did they record their first in any competition (Europa League) on Thursday, but they did so again on Monday to make it 180 minutes without conceding. Toby Aldeweireld suffered a nasty cut on his right eyebrow early in the game against Burnley, but he remained in the game and, along with Eric Dier, looks to have locked down a starting spot for the foreseeable future. In the context of Spurs’ season, “who will start at center back” is perhaps the only true uncertainty.
3. Burnley offer very little, again (re-post of a re-post of a re-post of a re-post): Sean Dyche had some rather critical thoughts about Burnley’s ongoing inability — or, perhaps, refusal — to move in a more timely manner to sign new players and improve the squad prior to the closing of the transfer window. Until such a change occurs, Dyche’s words are probably worth revisiting regularly.
The first half featured just seven shots in total, and only two on target. The best, and perhaps only, chance of real consequence in the first half didn’t even count as a chance.
Burnley thought they had gone ahead through Ashley Barnes in the 21st minute, but Barnes was a full yard or two offside when Dwight McNeil played the ball over the top. Barnes’ left-footed finish was too powerful for Hugo Lloris despite getting a hand to it.
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Burnley were again the side most likely to score 25 minutes into the second half, if not for the desperate intervention of Kane. James Tarkowski rose above everyone to head a corner kick into the back of the net, but Kane had read the action and wisely retreated to his goal line and headed the ball clear just before it began to cross the line.
Spurs’ first decent scoring chance came in the 74th minute, though they didn’t actually get the shot off to qualify as an official chance. Son got in behind Burnley’s defense and found a rare bit of space to receive Tanguy Ndombele’s through ball. Tarkowski was with him every step of the way and tackled the ball away at the last possible moment.
A minute later, from the ensuing corner kick, Son bagged his eighth goal of the season — tops in the PL — courtesy of Kane’s eighth assist — also tops, twice as many as anyone else. Erik Lamela sent the ball into the box, where it was headed on by Kane, and Son arrived just in the nick of time to launch himself at the ball and head it home.