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wembley 2 1000x500Two years ago we were beaten 2-1 at Spurs on what was our last ever appearance at the old White Hart Lane. By now we were expecting this fixture to be at their new stadium but we are going to play them at Wembley again because of continuing delays on the new stadium and it seems it is going to be a race as to whether it will now open before or after the new disabled facilities at Turf Moor.

Tomorrow will, therefore, be the third time I will have seen us play Spurs at Wembley. We lost the first of them back in 1962 in the final of the FA Cup and last season a late Chris Wood goal, his first league goal for Burnley, gave us a draw. So, as I said to a good friend of mine from Spurs this week, it surely is our turn to win this fixture. I have to say that she wasn’t in total agreement with me.

There is no doubt it is going to be a difficult task. Spurs are going really well and are currently third in the table, behind Liverpool and Manchester City. No matter what the result tomorrow they can’t move up a place but fellow London clubs Chelsea and Arsenal are only two points behind them.

As for us, at least we go into the game outside the bottom three having beaten Brighton last week. We are only just out though and there is no doubt that the relegation battle is looking to be between seven clubs just now and we are very definitely one of them and we will need to improve as the season progresses.

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If any supporters are worried about the situation, then central defender James Tarkowski is not quite as concerned although he is fully aware of where we are, even after last week’s win when he scored the winning goal.

“We know it’s close down there right now, but there are plenty of games to play, so we’re not too worried about the position we’re in right now,” he said. “The end of the season is when it’s important, but to be out of it is better than to be in it. There are a lot of points that we still need to get on the board and a lot of performances that we need to go out and show how good we can be.”

He added: “The weekend was a start, but there’s a long way to go and a lot of points to be earned. We have been looking for that victory. Good performances went by when we thought we had done quite well without putting points on the board, so, it’s a nice little confidence boost, but more something to build on for us.”

Steven Defour is very unlikely to play. He’s missed the last couple of games and Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson has now joined him on the injured list having come off in last week’s win. I’d suspected that Aaron Lennon would come in for Guðmundsson and that would be the only change, but Sean Dyche said yesterday that he could be ready to shuffle his pack again.

Dyche himself is a potential absentee. He’s been suffering all week with sciatica although the latest news is that he is expected to be able to take his place in the technical area.

As a reminder, the team last week was: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Robbie Brady, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood. Subs: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, Jeff Hendrick, Aaron Lennon, Matěj Vydra, Sam Vokes.

Spurs have lost at home this season, they are the only team in the top seven to have been beaten twice in home games. Those two defeats came against the top two in the table whilst they’ve won their four other home games against Fulham, Cardiff, Chelsea and Southampton. Significantly, they’ve played only six home games alongside ten on the road.

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Mauricio Pochettino does have some injury concerns. Both Mousa Dembélé and Victor Wanyama are definitely ruled out while they are assessing the fitness of Serge Aurier, former Claret Kieran Trippier, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth.

They return home after a brilliant 1-1 draw in Barcelona last Tuesday  whilst last week they won 2-0 at Leicester. Their team at the King Power was: Hugo Lloris, Serge Aurier (Kyle Walker-Peters), Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies, Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura (Christian Eriksen) Son Heung-min (Harry Kane). Subs not used: Paulo Gazzaniga, Danny Rose, Oliver Skipp, Georges-Kévin NKoudou.

Last season was the first time we’d taken an away point from Spurs in the Premier League but we had been very unfortunate on the last two visits to White Hart Lane when both games ended in 2-1 defeats with Ashley Barnes scoring our goals.

We have beaten them at home in the Premier League, that was in the final game of the 2009/10 season when we came from 2-0 behind to win 4-2 with goals from Wade Elliott, Jack Cork, Martin Paterson, and Steven Thompson.

Our last away win there was the 4-1 League Cup triumph in 1983 and our last league victory was the 3-2 win there in 1974/75 when Leighton James scored an 89th minute winner. We’d led 2-0 with two early Mike England own goals before  Spurs pulled level with goals on 78 and 80 minutes. England got the first of them with John Pratt getting the equaliser.

 

LAST TIME WE WERE THERE

 

The fixtures had given us a very difficult start with the away fixtures last season with our trip to Wembley to play Spurs the second of them after the opening day game at Chelsea. We won that Stamford Bridge game 3-2 and then came back with a point from Spurs with a Chris Wood goal in the second minute of stoppage time giving us a 1-1 draw and on his Premier League debut for us.

Spurs were the better side in the first half without creating too much although they did have two good opportunities, one of which they missed and the other bringing a good block from James Tarkowski.

Things changed early in the second half with Dele Alli scoring four minutes in and then Harry Kane shot wide. We were struggling to keep in the game but we did and it was the introduction of the two substitutes, Wood and Ashley Barnes, that changed things in our favour.

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Spurs gave it one big push to get a second but when they didn’t they had to deal with a big Burnley surge as the game moved into its closing stages. Robbie Brady set up three chances. Barnes didn’t quite reach the first one and Hugo Lloris came out to brilliantly deny Wood with the second.

Then Tom Heaton’s clearance was headed down by Wood for Barnes who found Brady. This time his telling pass found Wood who finished really well to send the away end crazy. It was another point on the road. That was four in the first two matches.

The teams were;

Tottenham: Hugo Lloris, Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies, Eric Dier, Mousa Dembélé (Davinson Sanchez 90+2), Christian Eriksen (Harry Winks 88), Dele Alli, Son Heung-min (Moussa Sissoko 70), Harry Kane. Subs not used: Michel Vorm, Kyle Walker-Peters, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Vincent Janssen.

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Chris Wood 57), Scott Arfield, Jack Cork, Steven Defour (Ashley Westwood 81), Robbie Brady, Sam Vokes (Ashley Barnes 57). Subs not used: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Charlie Taylor.

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