Tottenham close gap at top with win at Burnley


Tottenham’s response to minor adversity at one of the Premier League’s toughest strongholds certainly suggested so.

Without leading scorer Harry Kane, and bumped and bruised by Sean Dyche’s Burnley, they overcame the need to reshuffle their personnel and formation to claim a significant win.

Goals from Eric Dier and Heung-Min Son reduced Chelsea’s lead at the top to seven points with seven matches to play. The Tottenham’s fans’ cheers of “We’re coming for you” at 4.58pm suggested they believe the dream is alive.Mauricio Pochettino showed due respect to opponents with nine wins and two draws on their own patch by playing Eric Dier in a back three to cope with the physical and direct threat Burnley pose. But, with their attacking fulcrum Kane absent through injury, their own adventure was diminished.

For the majority of the opening quarter hour Spurs’ formation actually resembled a 5-3-1-1, with wing-backs Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies forced into conservatism. Equally, it meant that Hugo Lloris remained well protected when Burnley slung aerial balls into his vicinity. One weak header was fielded comfortably on his line while Ashley Barnes glanced another wide.

At the other end, Vincent Janssen, without a top-flight goal from open play since joining in a £17m deal from AZ Alkmaar, once again looked off the pace as the focal point of the attack. And the only significant chance for the visitors in the opening half hour came from a 35-yard free-kick from Toby Alderweireld that arrowed into Tom Heaton’s midriff.

By this point, Chelsea were behind. There were muffled cheers from the away end. Yet there was no greater urgency from solid Spurs, who nevertheless should have been ahead in the 33rd minute.