Tottenham Hotspur will look to bounce back against Burnley on Saturday after suffering their first defeat of the Jose Mourinho era in midweek.
The Londoners lost 2-1 to Mourinho’s former club Manchester United on Wednesday night, with Marcus Rashford’s double cancelling out a brilliant Dele Alli goal.
Meanwhile, Burnley were powerless to resist Manchester City at Turf Moor on Tuesday, losing 4-1 to the champions on a difficult night.
So with both sides seeking redemption, how will this one pan out? Read on for our preview, team news, possible XIs, predictions and more.
When is Tottenham vs Burnley and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Date: Saturday, 7 December 2019
Kick-off: 3:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): N/A
Last five meetings: Tottenham vs Burnley
23 February 2019: Burnley 2-1 Tottenham (Premier League)
15 December 2018: Tottenham 1-0 Burnley (Premier League)
23 December 2017: Burnley 0-3 Tottenham (Premier League)
27 August 2017: Tottenham 1-1 Burnley (Premier League)
1 April 2017: Burnley 0-2 Tottenham (Premier League)
Aggregate Score: Tottenham (LWWDW) 8-3 Burnley (WLLDL)
How Mourinho can unlock Spurs’ midfield potential
Despite winning three of their first four games under Mourinho, Spurs have struggled for control in midfield, resulting in late, almost costly comebacks from their opponents.
The midfield pairing of Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko was particularly problematic at Old Trafford. It’s a partnership that was far from functional last season, leading Spurs to splash out a club record fee on Tanguy Ndombele in the summer. But Mourinho reverted to the Winks-Sissoko axis on Wednesday, much to the detriment of the team.
Sissoko flourished on the right wing against Bournemouth, so it was a surprise to see him drop back into midfield. That said, regardless of the position he plays, part of Sissoko’s role is to cover for right-back Serge Aurier, who has been given permission to essentially play as a winger.
This may have to change. That responsibility meant Sissoko often left Winks exposed in the middle against Man Utd and thus Tottenham had no control in the centre of the pitch. There were calls for Eric Dier and Tanguy Ndombele to come on – only the latter entered the fray, but he wasn’t given long enough to affect the game.
It may now be time for Dier and Ndombele to be given an extended run as a partnership. Both players need to shake off a bit of rust, and the Christmas period will give them the chance to do exactly that. Then we might see Spurs’ midfield keep the ball with more composure while also protecting the defence.
What’s more, the duo will give Dele Alli the freedom to continue impacting games as a forward, while either Christian Eriksen or Giovani Lo Celso could come in to provide some creativity behind the front line.
Ben Davies (ankle), Erik Lamela (hamstring), Hugo Lloris (elbow) and Michel Vorm (calf) are all sidelined. Harry Winks took a knock to the ankle in midweek but should be available unless Spurs give an update to the contrary.
Confirmed XI: Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Dier, Sissoko; Moura, Alli, Son; Kane.
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Charlie Taylor remains a doubt with a hamstring injury. Ashley Westwood (groin) is also a doubt and Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) is out. Ashley Barnes, Kevin Long and Phil Bardsley all face late fitness tests but should be available.
Confirmed XI: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Brady, Hendrick, Cork, McNeil; Rodriguez, Wood.
Mourinho will be desperate to get his first clean sheet as Spurs boss after his team conceded more poor goals in midweek. Burnley will be difficult to break down, but if the hosts can find a way through, they may then prioritise holding onto their advantage rather than adding to it. All of which points towards a narrow home victory.
Scoreline prediction: Tottenham 1-0 Burnley