01 Apr Spurs still in title fight
Tottenham trimmed Chelsea’s lead at the Premier League’s summit to seven points by becoming just the fourth top-flight side to win at Burnley this season.
Spurs were 13 points adrift prior to kick-off against Southampton two weeks ago but Chelsea’s loss at Crystal Palace on Saturday, coupled with this 2-0 success for Tottenham, will have given Mauricio Pochettino’s side hope the title’s destination is far from a foregone conclusion.
After Harry Winks had been stretchered off with a worrying injury at half-time, Eric Dier and substitute Heung-Min Son scored in the space of 11 second-half minutes to prevent Burnley from getting the point they needed to equal their highest ever Premier League haul.
This was the first Turf Moor game in six weeks since Lincoln knocked the Clarets out of the FA Cup, and Spurs were aiming to join the non-league outfit in being the only victorious visitors since November.
It was familiar terrain for ex-Burnley defender Kieran Trippier, making just his second league start of the campaign as one of three changes along with Winks and Vincent Janssen.
Spurs were unbeaten in their previous six top-flight meetings without Harry Kane but this was the first time summer signing Janssen had been entrusted with a league start in 2017.
There was certainly something missing from Tottenham going forward as they failed to threaten until the 32nd minute when Dele Alli spurned a glorious opening.
After Christian Eriksen waltzed beyond Ben Mee and fired at goal from a narrow angle, Tom Heaton’s save came to Alli, who somehow blazed over from eight yards with the type of opening Kane would surely have snaffled.
That was as close as either side came during the first half as Spurs’ rhythm was disrupted by the loss of two central midfielders in the space of four minutes.
Victor Wanyama was the first to be forced off having failed to fight on for too long after landing awkwardly before Winks suffered his troubling injury.
The 21-year-old caught Stephen Ward as he cut inside and then jarred his left leg on the turf near the Burnley dugout, rolling beside Sean Dyche’s bench where he remained until the interval.
A stretcher took him off during the half-time period and Pochettino rejigged his system for the second half by pushing Dier further forward.
There was an immediate improvement as a combination of Heaton and Ward kept out Janssen and then substitute Moussa Sissoko, while Ben Davies also drew Burnley’s goalkeeper into a decent stop at his near post.
This might have been the game where either Janssen or fellow summer signing Sissoko could kickstart their Tottenham careers, but the former continued to look cumbersome when failing to get a shot off and the latter showed no poise as he lashed a loose ball into the stand.
Thankfully for the Spurs fans housed there, Dier displayed plenty of control with a measured finish in the 66th minute. Eriksen’s corner was cleared to Dier by Jeff Hendrick and the England international steadied himself to place his try past Scott Arfield on the line at the far post.
A brief Burnley response looked likely as Michael Keane and Arfield fired attempts over yet a second Spurs goal 11 minutes after the opener put the result to bed.
Eriksen’s pass over the top released Alli and he rolled a glorious pass across for Son to apply a simple finish.
Alli might have had a hat-trick with another two efforts going narrowly wide of either post before the Spurs players retreated to the dressing room at the full-time whistle with even better news awaiting them from Stamford Bridge.