It’s a magnificent seven for the Clarets
On a day when we lost a one goal lead and had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur, it’s probably a strange choice of word to include magnificent in the match report title, but having walked away from Chelsea nine weeks ago after a 3-0 defeat it really has been a magnificent run we’ve been on to get us to where we are today, just one point short of forty.
It all started with the win against Leicester which was followed up with that unbelievable night at Old Trafford and this current run of seven games undefeated has now included home points against the two North London clubs Arsenal and Spurs.
Yesterday’s draw could so easily have been a win, particularly after a simply outstanding first half performance, but in the end there couldn’t be too much argument at getting a point and, no matter how they are playing right now, a point against Spurs is always a good point for us.
You never know what kind of weather a game is going to be played in just now. We’ve had just about everything thrown at us in the last few weeks. Yesterday we got a bright, sunny day believe it or not but one with yet another very strong wind.
I called in Tesco on my way to the Turf yesterday to pick up some tins for Clarets for Foodbanks. It was packed. All the usual Saturday afternoon shoppers were in there, joined by the panic buyers as toilet rolls and hand gel flew off the shelves with some of the goods now likely to appear on Ebay very soon to allow the gullible to pay over the odds.
It certainly seems the good folk who follow the Clarets have been taking in the advice issued recently. I think it is the first time I’ve ever seen a queue in the gents as everyone waited to wash their hands and when the teams came out the usual nonsensical handshakes had been dispensed with as we all try to stay as healthy has possible.
My health took a drop in the opening couple of minutes of the game that weren’t the best for us. We might easily have conceded within thirty seconds and only a touch from Ben Mee prevented Spurs getting a really easy opportunity. We then got away with not retreating at a free kick as Spurs looked to shake off the cobwebs of their recent results.
But that was it as far as Spurs were concerned in a first half that we went on to dominate with some outstanding football. In my match preview, I referred to last season’s win against them probably being our best ever Premier League performance. I think we surpassed that in this first half with a remarkable show that left a shell shocked Spurs trooping off at half time wondering what had hit them. What a shame we only had one goal to our name. I’m sure with just one more we’d have gone on to win this game handsomely.
We will all see different players as having stood out, but I was purring at Dwight McNeil’s performance. He was causing them all sorts of problems down the left, working in tandem with Charlie Taylor but let’s not forget the performances of the front two and the three in midfield who were all terrific.
When the goal did come I have to give some credit to referee Jon Moss, and there won’t be much more of that in this report. He played an advantage when Jay Rodriguez was fouled and that allowed McNeil to get down the left again where he was simply tormenting Spurs. It took two attempts to get this cross over but again Dier, who may well have been looking for his brother in the stand, could only head it straight into the path of a Burnley player. This time that Burnley player was Jay Rod, this time the shot from just outside the box was on target. Hugo Lloris could only parry it and there was Wood, on the spot to fire home from close range.
By then, Jay had seen a header cleared off the line following a trademark Ashley Westwood corner while Jack Cork had brought a good save out of Lloris and afterwards we kept the Spurs defence busy with Jay Rod again going close as did Westwood and then McNeil with a free kick that Lloris kept out with a good save to his left.
When the half time whistle blew, Spurs must have been relieved to only be one goal behind while the Clarets left the field heads high after an outstanding showing but we knew that things could change in the second half and they did even before we kicked off with Spurs making two changes to introduce both Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura.
Nothing seemed to change in the first few minutes of the half but then their changes did pay dividends just five minutes in when Lo Celso played a ball up to Eric Lamela who was fouled by Ben Mee. There is no argument, it’s a penalty. Mee’s reaction was enough to avoid asking any questions. It was right on the line but he did catch him and that allowed Dele Alli to step up and send Nick Pope the wrong way with all the good work of the first half having been quickly wiped out.
We’d commented on what a good first half Moss had but, my word, he changed after the break. He was spoken to by members of the Spurs backroom staff as the players left the field after the first half and he came out and gave us 45 minutes of how not to referee a game in the second half. It was simply an appalling showing from him as he missed too many things, saw things that didn’t happen and started to wave cards around for fun, often for something and nothing.
But to our credit, we did work our way back into the game. I thought we saw off Spurs and their second half threat and, it has to be said, without them ever really testing Pope after the penalty. There were a couple of efforts that were close but nothing that forced our goalkeeper into too much action.
That couldn’t be said at the other end where Lloris made one very good save to deny Vydra who came on with just over twenty minutes to go and as time began to run out we were offering more with McNeil again coming to the fore.
But in the end it all ended at 1-1 with both teams picking up a point. The players then shook hands and left the pitch, making a mockery really of stopping the pre-match hand shakes. It kept Spurs above us and also allowed Arsenal, who had won earlier in the day, to go ahead of us. It’s not that long since we were keeping a close eye on the teams right at the bottom; before kick off yesterday I was informed that the result hadn’t gone for us, that was because both Arsenal and Crystal Palace had won.
There were so many positives for us. That first half performance was special, the way we defended when we had to in the second half was more than admirable and then there was the response from us towards the end of the game when it did seem that they might go and nick all three points. That would have been a travesty.
It was time for home, via Tesco of course for some emergency supplies which now includes baked beans. That’s if they had any left, more so if they’d been included in a deal with the toilet rolls.
Next week’s game might be a tough one – no, next week’s game will be tough, one of the toughest we’ll face this season, but we can at least go there with our heads held high after this magnificent seven.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick (Aaron Lennon 89), Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez (Matěj Vydra 68), Chris Wood. Subs not used: Joe Hart, Kevin Long, Erik Pieters, Josh Brownhill, Robbie Brady.
Yellow Cards: Charlie Taylor, James Tarkowski, Jack Cork, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood.
Tottenham: Hugo Lloris, Davinson Sánchez, Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp (Giovani Lo Celso ht), Tanguy Ndombele (Lucas Moura ht), Jan Vertonghen, Erik Lamela (Serge Aurier 78), Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn. Subs not used: Paulo Gazzaniga, Ryan Sessegnon, Harry Winks, Gedson Fernandes.
Yellow Cards: Erik Lamela, Davinson Sánchez, Steven Bergwijn, Giovani Lo Celso.
Referee: Jon Moss (Horsforth).
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