Burnley v Tottenham preview: Sean Dyche's side bid to add to Spurs' woes
Last Updated: 23/12/17 5:43pm
Burnley will move into the top five of the Premier League at the midpoint of the season if they can maintain their excellent form and beat wobbling Tottenham at Turf Moor in the Saturday tea-time kick-off.
Sean Dyche's side are two points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, who play fifth-placed Arsenal on the Friday Night Football, ahead of the weekend and will be confident of bettering the draw they secured against Spurs at Wembley in August.
That point came courtesy of Chris Wood's 92nd-minute equaliser and gave early warning of Burnley's resilience this season.
The Clarets have accrued 32 points despite scoring just 16 goals and have not conceded more than one goal in a game since a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City on October 21.
Tottenham, who have won only two of their last seven league games, will be desperate for the three points having fallen to seventh on the back of the 4-1 defeat by Manchester City last weekend.
Mauricio Pochettino's side are only three points worse off than this time last season - and have progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League - but the improvement of the sides around them means the Londoners will need to go on a similar run to last year, when they won nine straight in December and January, to keep their top-four bid on track.
James Tarkowski will miss Burnley's next three matches after he was charged with violent conduct following a clash with Glenn Murray in the 0-0 draw against Brighton last weekend.
The defender could be out of action for even longer after undergoing surgery on a hand injury sustained in the same game.
Dyche will also be unable to call upon Robbie Brady, Jon Walters (both knee) and Tom Heaton (shoulder) for Saturday's game while Stephen Ward (knee) is rated as doubtful.
Spurs will be without Toby Alderweireld (ankle) and Victor Wanyama (knee) for the game although both players have stepped up their recovery this week.
Defender Davinson Sanchez makes a timely return to the Spurs squad after serving his three-match suspension.
Burnley have won one of their seven Premier League matches against Spurs (D2 L4), winning 4-2 in May 2010 under Brian Laws.
This is the first time Tottenham are facing Burnley in a top-flight match when below them in the league table since April 12 1975 - 7th-placed Burnley beat 20th-placed Spurs 3-2.
Dyche's side have lost just one of their last eight Premier League home games (W5 D2), keeping six clean sheets and conceding just twice in that run.
Burnley have earned five points thanks to goals scored in the final 10 minutes of games this season - only Manchester City have earned more (9).
After a run of six consecutive away wins, Spurs are winless in their last five Premier League games on the road, picking up just one point from a possible 15 (W0 D1 L4). They last had a longer winless away run in April 2012 under Harry Redknapp (8 games).
There have been just 10 goals scored in the nine Premier League games at Turf Moor so far this season (7 for Burnley, 3 against), fewer than any other ground in the competition.
Dele Alli has had a hand in a goal in each of his three Premier League appearances against Burnley, scoring twice and assisting once.
Alli has just three goals and three assists in the 2017/18 Premier League so far. Last season, Alli had been involved in just five goals in 16 league apps before Christmas (four goals, one assist) but was involved in 20 goals in 21 Premier League games after Xmas Day (14 goals, six assists).
I watched Burnley last week, and in the first half, they just let Brighton play, and got away with it. Then, in the second half, they came out and played. Brighton played them off the park early on. Maybe the wheels are starting to come off.
Eric Dier is an issue for me. He has looked very shaky in the back four. He is better in midfield. Sometimes he is too casual. I am going to go Tottenham. Last week they came up against a machine, but they need a big win, and this could be it.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3 (12/1 with Sky Bet)