I'm Sorry Mike Jackson: Spurs Show Their Top Four Bid Is For Real

A Harry Kane penalty separates the European candidates and the relegation battlers at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
14:01, 15 May 2022

Tottenham Hotspur edged past Burnley 1-0 on Sunday lunchtime in a clash of two teams with plenty to play for. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium played host to a meeting between top-four candidates and relegation battlers. The vast difference in circumstances was not evident on the pitch, as Burnley battled on an even keel with their Champions League-chasing hosts. 

Burnley hadn’t used a back three since a 2018 meeting with Liverpool, but they looked well-versed in the art during the first half. Mike Jackson’s side defended well for the most part, though Nick Pope was called into action on a handful of occasions.

A tricky cross from Harry Kane needed saving, as did a Son Heung-Min cross-shot that the forward cheekily tried to sweep home from a wide-left berth. Pope’s best moment came when Lucas Moura raced down the right and crossed for Kane. The England captain directed his header well, but Pope got down to it brilliantly.

Nathan Collins nearly punished Spurs with a superbly-picked pass. The 21-year-old slid a smart through-ball to Maxwel Cornet, whose powerful strike was saved at the near post by Hugo Lloris. Antonio Conte’s side were soon back on the front foot though, with Moura and Kane combining again. The striker dragged his effort wide from close range, and even Conte could not believe the chance had gone begging.

Just when it looked like Burnley would go into half-time on terms, Davinson Sanchez kneed a Son cross into the outstretched arm of Ashley Barnes. After much VAR histrionics, a penalty was awarded. Kane hammered it home, Pope not even moving as it flew past him. It was harsh on Burnley, but Spurs had enjoyed the bulk of the chances. The strike saw Kane become the scorer of the most goals against Burnley in the Premier League.

The second half was an untidy affair with plenty of needle. Both teams let their desperation for a result boil over with a series of silly, cynical fouls. Because of this, the game lacked the rhythm of the first half.

The second period sparked into life when Barnes unleashed a firecracker of a shot. Lloris was beaten all ends up, but the ball cannoned off the post. Barnes hasn’t scored for 15 months, and this would have been an incredible and important way to break the duck, considering how vital a result here was to Burnley.

Spurs were the next to go close. Ryan Sessegnon’s drag-back saw Son fire in a shot. Nick Pope’s reaction save was incredible, denying the Korean superstar a chance to draw level with Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot on 22 goals.

Pope denied Son once again with ten minutes to play, as the forward spun and struck a ferocious shot from another Sessegnon ball. Pope clotheslined the attempt away with a strong forearm, yet another excellent intervention from the goalkeeper.

This defeat is not fatal to Burnley’s hopes of staying in the Premier League, but it does give them a mountain to climb. They remain outside the relegation spots on goal difference, with Leeds United below and Everton above. With Frank Lampard’s side enjoying a resurgence, they will likely need to better the results of Jesse Marsch’s men to start next season as a Premier League club.

For Spurs, the battle for the top four continues. Arsenal sit below them by two points but have a game in hand. This all-North London battle for the final Champions League spot looks set to go all the way to next weekend’s final round of games.

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