Spurs secured a well earned three points against a limited but resolute Burnley side.
Before the game, the question was: could we build on the momentum created by the fantastic 4-0 win over Newcastle in midweek? It has been a a season of occasional promising performances followed by mediocre ones.
This is the kind of game that has become our Achilles heal – at home against a team we should beat. West Brom, Newcastle, Stoke and Crystal Palace have all frustrated us at White Hart Lane.
Here Spurs began well. The passing was quick, switching the ball from side to side, pulling the Burnley defence around. We were pressurising the opposition all over the pitch, winning possession back, not giving them a chance to settle, let alone mount an attack. Perhaps most significantly we were taking Burnley on in wide areas rather than just through the centre.
Chadli and Lamela naturally cut inside when they get the ball but here both were mixing things up, sometimes taking the opposition on out wide. This was complemented by Kyle Walker’s return at right back adding a new dimension to the Spurs attack, overlapping Lamela, giving the opposition something extra to worry about.
The first goal was created this way. Chadli got round the Burnley defence on the left and hit a dangerous ball across the six yard box. Harry Kane had raced forward and got free of his marker, glancing the ball into the net. Another goal for the young forward, you just expect him to score, which shows how far he’s come.
Now Tottenham were well on top but a momentary lapse of concentration and a great finish from Ashley Barnes, gave Burnley an undeserved equaliser.
Despite conceding, Spurs were still in the ascendancy and it was Erik Lamela who was the star of the show. He had the beating of the Burnley defenders all half and got round the outside of Burnley’s left back twice. The first time his cross was ineffectual as he tried to use his left foot where his right was the better choice. The second time he flashed the ball across the goal-line where Harry Kane somehow missed his kick when it seemed easier to score.
When the Argentine finally got the reward his excellent play deserved, it was to come on his more favoured side. He cut onto his left foot, the defence backed off and the young midfielder hit a beautiful curling shot into the goal from 30 yards. It was a remarkable finish, up there with his Rabona. What a way to score your first league goal.
This was a much needed performance from Lamela. He has been anonymous of late. Days like this show his undoubted talent but that talent still needs nurturing. Some of his faults were still evident. He can be a bit lightweight for the Premier League but that should improve with time – if you were being ultra-critical you could blame him for losing the ball leading to Burnley’s goal. More of a worry is his unwillingness to use his right foot.
After a match winning performance it would be churlish to dwell on the negatives.
The second half was an anticlimax. Mason had gone off with a worrying ankle injury and maybe this affected the balance of the team.
In much the same way as Swansea had dominated the period just after the restart last weekend, Burnley wrestled control of the game. There was a worrying period where Tottenham couldn’t keep possession and Burnley had a number of chances. You could sense the nerves in the crowd and on the pitch.
Spurs defence held firm and we finished the game looking for a third. There was some nice passing, especially from Christian Erisken, but the goal that would have eased the nerves didn’t quite come.
All in all a good victory, now Pochettino must try to keep the momentum going.
Can Spurs push on from here? Will Lamela develop into a top player? Let me know your opinions in the comments below.