Tottenham to Face Burnley FC This Sunday


Jul 26, 2014; Bridgeview, IL, USA; Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane (37) dribbles around Chicago Fire midfielder Jeff Larentowicz (20) during a friendly at Toyota Park. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

After a two-week international break that saw Harry Kane score a transcendent goal against Lithuania within 81 seconds of the 21 year old striker’s feet gracing the pitch, Ryan Mason debuting for England, Andros Townsend scoring a cracker of a goal to draw even with Italy, and loanee Tom Carroll going down with an injury for England’s U21 squad to likely end his spell with Swansea, Spurs return to Premier League action at Turf Moor against Burnley for a 1:30 start (8:30 AM EST) this Sunday.

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Spurs are currently at 7th on the EPL table, at 53 points, thanks to their most recent 4-3 victory against Leicester City at White Hart Lane. The win was largely the result of Harry Kane’s hat trick, the first of his career. The match also saw Hugo Lloris fall victim to a knee injury that resulted from a horrid, yet inadvertent collision with fullback Kyle Walker. Michel Vorm, formerly of Swansea, spelled Lloris, who was stretchered off the pitch to thunderous applause from an on-edge Spurs’ crowd. With Lloris still recuperating from his knee ailment, Vorm will get the start in goal, his first full time action with Spurs in Premier League action.

Host club Burnley enters the match not having scored a goal since their thrilling 1-0 win against title hopefuls Manchester City on March 14. Having most recently lost to Southampton 2-0 on March 21, Burnley desperately needs a victory to avoid relegation. At 18th on the EPL table, Burnley, with 25 points, are a point behind Sunderland.

Certainly, Burnley has much to play for, but so do Spurs. Tottenham are six points behind fourth place Manchester United, who crushed Spurs 3-0 at Old Trafford on March 14. While Spurs will not face United again the rest of the way to gain ground on them, the remaining slate for Spurs, aside from a tough matchup against Manchester City on May 2, is quite manageable.

Save for City, no team Tottenham faces is any higher than 10th (Stoke City), and the next match at White Hart Lane on April 11 sees the return of Tim Sherwood, current manager at Aston Villa.

Call it hopeful, outlandish, or outright delusional, but Spurs remain within striking distance of a Champions League berth, although Tottenham would likely need to collect 21 points out of a possible 24 to make it happen. These next eight matches, beginning with Burnley, are the very epitome of crucial.

Potentially, this upcoming match will be the only time Vorm is called upon to start, with Lloris likely to return the following week against Villa, a match of high intensity in the thick of an atmosphere far more befitting of Lloris’s world class ability, unless Vorm proves himself dynamic on Sunday.

Consequently, Spurs will be thin at striker, as a disappointing Roberto Soldado is doubtful to play while he recovers from a knee injury.

Soldado is running out of time to leave an impression with either Spurs or their fans, as the former Valencia striker runs the risk of being sold this summer. Brought on in 2013 to become the 20-goal-a-season threat he was in Spain, Soldado has been a bust for Spurs, who may be forced to rely on Emmanuel Adebayor if Harry Kane cannot play a full 90 minutes, or, worse yet, manager Mauricio Pochettino must play two strikers should Spurs fall behind in the second half.

UPDATE: Jan Vertonghen is out for the Burnley match due to illness. He had started Spurs’ last 19 matches in the Premier League. Vlad Chiriches starts in his place.

Also, from Spurs’ Twitter:

@SpursOfficial: #THFC team: Vorm, Walker, Chiriches, Dier, Rose; Bentaleb, Mason; Chadli, Eriksen, Paulinho; Kane (c) #COYS

With a month and a half left in the EPL season, the quest for a Champions League berth commences Sunday.