A week last Monday, Burnley came from a goal down in a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor to earn a replay against Spurs at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night.
The Clarets are back in FA Cup action on Wednesday night following their 1-1 draw at home to Spurs in the third round last week. A goal from substitute Sam Vokes in the 73rd minute, his first of the season in only his second first-team appearance wiped out Chadli`s 56th minute opener forcing a replay at White Hart Lane in game that probably neither club wanted.
Spurs have suffered a dip in form recently after going down 2-1 to strugglers Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park at the weekend but they are still sixth in the Premier League table and will be a force to reckon with especially on home soil. The Clarets will be able to put out a stronger team against them compared to the third round home game with central defenders, Jason Shackell and Michael Duff back from injury and David Jones also having recovered from illness. Dyche could be considering some form of squad rotation although our options compared to Spurs are somewhat limited and you would think once again we could be putting out a similar starting eleven to our league games. We know from the league game at White Hart Lane just before Christmas that we can hold our own but that match was still a narrow 2-1 defeat despite our best efforts.
The winners of this clash face Leicester City on home soil in the fourth round but which team will want it the most? Spurs have one eye on a place in Europe next season and have a Capital One Cup semi-final on the horizon at home to Sheffield United the week after. The Clarets meanwhile are fighting for their Premier League survival and face three crucial games coming up against fellow relegation sufferers. Does the FA Cup have that much appeal? Perhaps we are about to find out!
Tottenham Hotspur Team News:
The young midfielder, Nabil Bentaleb is away on international duty for Algeria who are playing in the African Cup of Nations. The tournament is taking place in Equatorial Guinea between January 17th and February 8th but Bentaleb is out there in preparation.
Both Erik Lamela and Ryan Mason could once again be hoping to be available in time for the Burnley clash boosting the Spurs midfield options. Lamela missed the recent 5-3 win over Chelsea on New Year’s Day with a calf injury and has not featured since while Mason was replaced by Mousa Dembele after just 14 minutes in the Chelsea gameat White Hart Lane with a hamstring injury.
Player to watch: Nacer Chadli
Let`s take a look at someone other than hot shot striker and leading goal scorer Harry Kane who we featured for the home clash. The goal scorer for Spurs in the 1-1 draw at Turf Moor was Nacer Chadli. The 25 year old winger, who can also play up front as a second striker joined Tottenham Hotspur in July 2013 from Twente for a fee of £7 million. He is a dual citizen of both Belgium and Morocco and indeed has played for both international teams. Chadli was named in Belgium’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and currently has 27 caps for his country plus one for Morocco. He is currently Spurs second highest goal-scorer this season so far with nine goals in all competitions although does lag somewhat behind Harry Kane on 16 goals!
Burnley Team News:
Dyche has a number of options in the centre of defence following the return of both Jason Shackell and Michael Duff after their recovery from calf injuries. Shackell played in the home game against QPR in the league on Saturday whilst Duff was named on the bench. Fellow central defender, Kevin Long of course is now sidelined for the rest of the season after picking up a cruciate ligament injury on New Year`s Day away to Newcastle United. Meanwhile left back Stephen Ward (ankle) and winger Matty Taylor (Achilles) continue their recovery to full fitness but look unlikely to feature on Wednesday night.
Player to watch: Scott Arfield
Arfield has looked a little subdued of late and playing him in the centre of midfield due to injuries to either Marney and/or Jones has probably not helped this season. He looks far more comfortable on the wing and scored an impressive goal, his second of the season at home to QPR on Saturday. Could that spur him onto greater things on Wednesday night (sorry about the pun!)? It will be interesting to see how the hosts cope with Arfield and hopefully that goal will have given him more incentive and boosted confidence.
Team & Tactics:
Something tells me that Dyche might be tempted to start Sam Vokes and have Ashley Barnes on the bench for the FA Cup clash. He might also be tempted to give Michael Duff a run out and drop Michael Keane to the bench. Then again he might simply choose to opt for the same starting eleven that set up a Premier league record on Saturday following the announcement of the same team for the seventh consecutive league match.
I would suggest this line-up could provide dividends whilst allowing some of the players for the more important league survival campaign ahead to have a bit of a rest:
Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Arfield, Marney, Jones, Boyd, Ings, Vokes
Subs from: Gilks, Keane, Lafferty, Reid, Kightly, Wallace, Jutkiewicz, Sordell, Barnes
Craig Pawson is in charge of this FA Cup replay; the third time this season we will have seen him referee a Burnley game. His last game involving the Clarets was also in North London against Spurs local rivals, Arsenal in the league in early November. Not a particularly good omen considering we lost that one 3-0! At least the South Yorkshire referee only handed out one yellow card that day, so far this season his tally from 18 games is five reds and sixty yellows including three in the match between Swansea and Burnley back in August. We also lost that one (1-0) so third time lucky?
The assumption is we have to play with the same spirit and determination that we displayed in the FA Cup home game last week and the earlier league game at White Hart Lane just before Christmas. We narrowly lost the league game 2-1 and it could be a similar story on Wednesday night in the FA Cup replay. Who knows but I suspect we won`t make it to the fourth round. Just hope I am proven wrong. 2-1 to the hosts, sorry chaps! I won`t lose any sleep though if we get knocked out in this game that neither club wanted. Better to focus on our league survival campaign without any cup distractions, especially with three vital league games coming up against relegation rivals! Gawd forbid anybody is injured or suspended on Wednesday night with such important league games coming up this month and early February.
Back to the top flight survival fight next. The Clarets are in the middle of probably their most crucial period of the season in the league and following their victory over relegation-threatened QPR 2-1 at home on Saturday they will be hoping for another win in their next game against struggling Crystal Palace at Turf Moor on Saturday 17th January (Kick-Off: 3pm). This will be the second of a sequence of four games against clubs fighting along with the Clarets to avoid the drop. Sunderland away and then West Brom at home will soon follow but first let`s despatch the Eagles and keep the survival momentum going.