Tottenham take on Burnley at Wembley Stadium.
Report by John Ellis at Wembley
The game kicked off in foul weather with torrential rain and a cold wind which made the temperature feel an awful lot colder.
Pochettino shuffled his pack again with Oliver Skipp making a surprise home debut and Davies being played at centre back.
In the 4th min Skipp lost possession in his own half but Sissoko did well to snuff out the danger.
It was a subdued low energy start by sluggish Spurs.
It took 18 minutes to threaten the Burnley goal and what a pass it was from Lamela whose perfectly weighted lob over a defender’s head was straight into the path of Moura to volley just wide with Hart beaten.
In the 25th minute Kane appeared to be pushed over in the box but the referee waved away appeals for a penalty.
Spurs had stepped up the pace and constantly threatened. A low volleyed driven cross by Rose just had too much pace. Dele had a shot blocked.
In the 31st minute a lightning quick break should have brought Spurs the lead. Sissoko put Lamela in on goal but Hart managed to block his shot. It was a golden opportunity spurned.
Spurs continued to press with a mixture of long Alderweireld passes over the top for Moura, Lamela and Dele to run onto, more intricate passing movements which often started by winning possession back deep in the Burnley half and the most threatening of fast breakaways. There was a feeling of if Spurs could get the first goal, Burnley could be picked off on the break.
Hart started to waste time…
Rose blazed over with his right foot from a good position with an abundance of options in front of him.
In the 44th minute a poor back pass from Trippier put Lloris under pressure which he didn’t deal with and played the ball straight into the path of a Burnley striker whose cross was headed over…
Danny Rose started the second half in club foot style. If his cross had been a golf shot it would have shanked off the tee about five yards to his left and dribbled into the long grass!
Burnley’s time-wasting tactics which started in the first half became ludicrous inside the first ten minutes of the second half. The crowd’s frustrations boiled over. Spurs needed to put a stop to it by scoring a goal.
A free kick to Burnley took 58 seconds to restart!
In the 75th minute after a patient build up the ball was played out to Rose whose cross found Kane but Hart was equal to the task and dived to save.
Eriksen’s innovative low corner pass found Lamela who couldn’t find the net with either of his two efforts.
Burnley having had two players booked for time wasting were seriously testing the patience of the referee. It wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility a red card could have been shown.
The clock suddenly reached the 80th minute and the ball must have only been in play 15 minutes of the second half.
Spurs hadn’t played well and had created few chances in the match against a resolute Burnley defence.
The clock marched on relentlessly and with five minutes to go the ball fell to Son to surely score…. but no….!! He drilled his effort across the box and wide.
In the 90th minute a long Lloris kick was played out to Son whose low cross seemed certain to be turned in at the far post by Dele…. but no… it hit the outside of the post and went out harmlessly for a goal kick. The frustration continued… The small band of travelling Burnley fans started to be heard. They were on course to pick up a precious away point in a season of few highlights…
Only four minutes added time…!
Spurs continued to press…
Another forward thrust and suddenly Eriksen was free in the box in a similar position to his Champions League finish …. Could he….Would he….??? Yes he can!!! 1-0 to Spurs!! Finally….Cometh the hour…. Cometh the man!!
The players mobbed Eriksen and celebrated as elatedly as they did in the Camp Nou. They believe and with justification…. Spurs are in the title race!
The final minutes of added time became Christmas pantomime season. Spurs did unto Burnley what Burnley did to Spurs for over an hour!… They wasted time! Changed their minds as to who should take a throw-in, pretended Burnley throw-ins were Spurs throw-ins. It was hilarious karma to see the pantomime villain Hart suddenly scrambling to punt a goal kick upfield when hitherto a leisurely stroll to pick the ball up, walk into the back of the net to have a drink, change sides to take the goal kick. Now it was the Keystone Cops!
The final whistle blew and Spurs, like title-chasing teams do, had found a way to win. There was no doubt the physical and emotional exertions of Barcelona had taken their toll but they had come through and prevailed!
Leaving Wembley stadium, the gnashing of teeth of Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea fans could be heard loudly on Wembley Way! It is the hope that kills them! Spurs are no longer Spursy!
Spurs are now a team other fans expect to find a way to score no matter how close the final whistle is. Long may it continue!
A special word for Oliver Skip who made an accomplished Premier League debut and didn’t look at all out of place.