Friday, 25 September 2009

Spurs v Burnley match preview

Burnley travel to the scene of their Carling Cup semi-final capitulation still looking for their first goals and points on the road this season to face a Spurs team that have made an impressive start to the campaign.

The Clarets have been rocked by the news that both Chris McCann and Martin Paterson will miss three months of action through knee injuries, but are boosted by Brian Jensen's dead leg not being as bad as first feared. Jensen has a good chance of facing Spurs, but should certainly be back for Burnley's next home game next Saturday against Birmingham.

Steven Caldwell is back in full training but he will have to wait for Clarke Carlisle or Andre Bikey to be unavailable to get his chance to reclaim the captaincy. Temporary skipper Graham Alexander has found his place under question of late but an improved display in the win over Sunderland, coupled with McCann's enforced absence, means he will hold on to his place, with Joey Gudjonsson likely to be McCann's replacement.

David Nugent is a certainty to replace Paterson up front, and Coyle may reshuffle his attacking options further with Chris Eagles and Fernando Guerrero both impressive at Barnsley despite Burnley's exit, and Robbie Blake and Steven Fletcher struggling to get into matches on the road.

A crushing 5-1 win at Deepdale over Preston by Spurs' second string in midweek gives Harry Redknapp a pleasing selection headache. Peter Crouch scored a hat-trick and it would be no surprise to see him return to the team at the expense of Robbie Keane. Jermain Defoe is likely to hold on to his spot as he looks to build on his six goals so far.

Redknapp may replace Gomes in goal with Cudicini and Sebastian Bassong will start in the heart of the back four. Much will depend on the fitness of Ledley King, with Redknapp hopeful his captain will be fit, although a hamstring injury is likely to keep him out. Spurs will also be without Jonathan Woodgate and Giovani Dos Santos, while Luka Modric will be lucky to play again this season after breaking his leg a few weeks ago. Redknapp will have to rejig his defence, with Hutton a possibility to come in at right-back with Vedran Corluka shuffling across to centre-back.

Tom Huddlestone has finally made a midfield spot his own this season and he will continue his partnership with Jermaine Jenas, with Aaron Lennon providing midfield width. Wilson Palocios will offer bite in the centre of the park.

The match up will spark memories of that famous Carling Cup tie, where Burnley completed a stunning comeback to win 3-0 in 90 minutes at Turf Moor to level the score on aggregate. But the Carling Cup rules dictate away goals do not come into play until after extra-time, and Roman Pavyluchenko struck to break Burnley's hearts with a winning goal just a minute and a half time from the final whistle, with Defoe adding undeserved gloss to the scoreline with another late goal.

That painful denial of a trip to Wembley spurred the Clarets on to make the play-off final and ultimately gain promotion to the Premier League, but they will still be looking for revenge over a Spurs team who were incredibly fortunate to make the final of the competition.

Having won their opening four matches of the league season Spurs have stumbled of late with defeats to Chelsea and Manchester United, but they will look at the visit of Burnley as an excellent chance to get back to winning ways. And despite those two losses, Spurs have been one of the more impressive teams in the Premier League this season and a home win is fully expected.

Spurs' pacy attack will be far too much for a Burnley team yet to find their feet away from home, but a goal might at least be forthcoming for the Clarets, which would be a helpful boost ahead of their next away trip down the M65 to Ewood Park.

Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Burnley.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

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