Time for my traditional Easter message to the world. My friends, I cannot begin to describe how much I detest DIY. Easter Sunday, 9am is the time the meaning of Easter is alive and well in the sunny suburban streets, further evidence that the British power-tool industry is in rude health. I was hacking away at something in the garden, which, completely coincidentally, was compete just before kick-off. By half-time I seriously thought about getting back outside again.
My granddaughter hurtled downstairs to greet me this afternoon. She hurtles everywhere. “Oh my god granddad, that was the worst game EVER.” Only 10 but a good judge already. The poorest match I’ve seen this season in the Premier League and Spurs played their full part. The clocks went forward a couple of weeks ago, apparently to mid-summer as this game played in bright sunshine had the air of a pre-season friendly rather than a fight for 3 points to take us above Liverpool into 5th place. A Burnley fan I follow on twitter complained of sunburn after the match. Sunburn, in Burnley, first week in April. That’s how odd this match was.
Spurs continued their lacklustre recent form. Mason and Bentaleb are playing OK in centre mid but there’s a lack of power and drive. There’s no momentum to our attacks. Eriksen was in and out of the action. In and around the Burnley box he was involved in several neat one-twos, usually active when the full-backs came into attacking areas. However, the players alongside him, Chadli and Paulinho, seldom responded. Up front, Kane looked isolated and weary. Wearing those support trunks under his shorts and tentatively stretching, it seems he was worried about his groin, a sure sign of over-playing. Not so much one game too far, more like ten, but he gets a free pass after a season like this.
Burnley deserve great credit for their phenomenal organisation and work-rate. it was hard to find a way through and Spurs never showed the required creativity. However, because of their efforts off the ball they could not get enough players into our box often enough. As a result they failed to pressure our makeshift centreback partnership of Chiriches and Dier with the long diagonal that has come back into vogue in the PL since Fellani’s success with it at Old Trafford.
We managed to tie ourselves in knots at the back, of course we did, but kept a clean sheet in the end despite a few scares. Ings shot straight at Vorm early on to miss the best chance of the afternoon. Our reserve keeper had a good afternoon, making several decent saves. One moment of weakness – off his line to make a punch, he was easily beaten in the air. We did our best to mix it up. Davies replaced an injured Walker and slotted in at centre half while Chiriches moved to right-back, so we had a full-back at centre half and an centre-half at full-back…
Not a lot more to say really. Our lack of spark and movement on the ball up front meant we made little more than a few half-chances. Paulinho was awful. Playing centre-midfield he provided nothing, except a second half shot when put through on the keeper so laughably feeble it will go down in legend as the moment that summed up his Tottenham career. What a terrible waste – of his talent and our money.
Chiriches did the shielding the ball out of play thing – except he backed into the Burnley player and knocked him over. Clear penalty, clear stupidity, but not given. Shame we did not see Townsend before the 80th minutes – not sure he touched the ball at all. His momentum from the England game seemed a perfect way to change the game’s balance. But it was one of those days when nothing could shake us out of our stupor.
Frustrating but take a step back and we know how hard it is for young players to sustain form and resilience over an extended period. Part of their learning, so let’s move on to the next one – which may not be that much different. Pre-season seems closer suddenly.