Spurs’ faithful never thought this would be a bridge they’d have to cross at Christmas, but here we are, with Tottenham needing a wing to leapfrog Burnley in the standings.
Other than the FA Cup, a top four place is now Tottenham’s sole domestic focus. Spurs, after being played off the pitch by an indomitable Manchester City, sit three points adrift of fourth place Liverpool.
The Lilywhites form away from home is most disconcerting. Falling to seventh in the away form table, Mauricio Pochettino’s men haven’t won in five matches away from Wembley, a record that dates back almost three months. Their last away win, on Sept. 30, came at Huddersfield, where Spurs scored for fun in the 4-0 victory.
It feels like an eternity since the lads walked away from an inhospitable environ with their heads held high, proud of an outstanding day at the office. That sense of overwhelming and all-encompassing unrest currently plaguing the Tottenham camp needs a swift injection of Christmas cheer.
Spurs have their work cut out for them at Turf Moor
But that desired festive feeling won’t come easy at Turf Moor, a football ground known for making life miserable for unwelcome visitors. Burnley have conceded a miserly two goals in their last eight home matches, a defensive record the best teams in the country would be proud of. Currently, Burnley are on the cusp of being included in that élite bracket so Spurs will wholly understand the formidable task ahead.
In the last four months, Arsenal are the only team who have walked away from tormenting Turf Moor with all three points. Burnley currently lay claim to the eighth best home record in the top flight, a single position better than last season’s ninth place ranking.
A draw is not good enough for Tottenham, who must end their almost three-month away winless streak when they invade Turf Moor on Saturday. Under Pochettino’s reign, Tottenham rarely endure two miserable outings on the trot.
I expect a character building, bounce-back effort from a Spurs team facing the most adversity they have in over two seasons on the domestic front.
Anything other than a win doesn’t bear thinking about; if the unthinkable happens, Spurs supporters worldwide will be able to relate to how forlorn and affronted the Grinch feels at this time of year.
(This piece originally featured on Tottenham HQ. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)