Tottenham 2 Burnley 1 – Can Spurs really bring themselves to help Arsenal?

Tottenham’s Champions League hopes remain alive — just.

Another come-from-behind victory against Burnley ensured that Ange Postecoglou’s side could still finish in the Premier League top four, although victory for Aston Villa on Monday against Liverpool would end that dream.

Goals from Pedro Porro and Micky van de Ven were enough today to seal a 2-1 win that also relegated Burnley.

We analyse the major talking points.

How are you feeling about Tuesday?

Micky van de Ven’s classy finish not only ended a run of four straight defeats, it also ensured Spurs are faced with a tricky dilemma ahead of Tuesday’s encounter with Manchester City.

Depending on what happens between Villa and Liverpool on Monday, Spurs will probably need to beat City to keep alive any top-four hopes… but doing so could hand Arsenal the edge in the title race.

Would it be an acceptable sacrifice to qualify for the Champions League but help Arsenal win the league for the first time in 20 years?

Van de Ven scores Spurs’ winner (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Tottenham’s record against other members of the Big Six this season has not been great and a positive result against City would be another building block looking ahead to Ange Postecoglou’s second year in charge.

The concern, though, is that Spurs struggled for the majority of their victory over Burnley and things will be much more difficult against Pep Guardiola’s side. There is an issue to be solved at left-wing while Destiny Udogie’s absence at fullback has been keenly felt. Skipp deputised for Udogie on Saturday afternoon and made a few good contributions but, as expected, was also caught out of position multiple times.


Is it the safer bet to play Emerson Royal ahead of Skipp against Phil Foden or Jeremy Doku? Whatever happens, it promises to be a strange atmosphere at the final home game of the season.

Jay Harris

Is Porro the player of the season?

In what’s been a wildly up-and-down season for Spurs, there’s been one area of consistency: the impressive performances of Pedro Porro.

No Spurs outfielder has started more than Porro’s 33 league games — and for the division as a whole, only Kieran Trippier has more goal contributions from a defender than Porro’s nine (two goals and seven assists).

Against Burnley, Porro once again showed why he has become one of Postecoglou’s most important players. With Spurs trailing in the first half, he scored a goal full of “sod this, I’ll do it myself” energy.

Porro won the ball in the Burnley third and exchanged passes with Brennan Johnson before charging forward and smashing a shot in at the near post.

Porro hammers Tottenham level (Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images)

The Spaniard has the engine and personality to dominate a whole flank, and he demonstrated this again on Saturday. He won the ball high on other occasions too, and the Spurs attack was heavily weighted to his side. On another day, he might have scored at least another with a couple of second-half opportunities that fell his way.

It seems extraordinary to think that Porro was on the bench for the first game of the campaign and that this time last year the consensus was that he couldn’t play in a back four.

He has since comprehensively disabused that notion — and has arguably been Spurs’ player of the season.

Charlie Eccleshare

How did Kulusevski fare on the left?

With Richarlison unavailable after picking up a calf injury in training on Friday, Postecoglou stuck with the same forward line he used in Spurs’ 4-2 defeat to Liverpool last weekend. Son Heung-min retained his central role but there was one small tweak as Brennan Johnson and Dejan Kulusevski swapped wings.


You could sense straight away it was an uncomfortable fit for the left-footed Kulusevski on his natural side, and having Oliver Skipp playing out of position behind him would not have helped. Kulusevski repeatedly picked up the ball on the touchline, but instead of dribbling forward, he would frequently turn around and pass backwards.

In the fifth minute, he was caught out by Burnley’s full-back Lorenz Assignon and the move ended with Wilson Odobert whipping a cross into the box. A few moments later, Assignon pinched the ball again and this time won a free kick in a dangerous position.

There were a couple of occasions when Kulusevski found space in behind Burnley’s defence and was unlucky his crosses did not reach their target. Spurs focused nearly half of their attacks down against Burnley, which shows how difficult it was for the winger to get involved.

Just before half-time, Kulusevski gave away possession to Jacob Bruun Larsen right in front of Postecoglou, who hung his head in frustration. It was no surprise that Postecoglou switched the Sweden international and Johnson around for the second half.

Things did not improve too much although, in the 68th minute, Kulusevski intercepted a pass inside Burnley’s box and fired a shot towards goal, which Arijanet Muric saved

Spurs’ squad depth was exposed as they did not have any alternative options from the bench with Richarlison and Timo Werner injured, so 20-year-old Dane Scarlett replaced Kulusevski with 15 minutes left.

Jay Harris

What did Ange Postecoglou say?

“We were dominant enough, their keeper was outstanding today and we had enough chances,” Postecoglou told the BBC.

“It’s always difficult when you lose four matches in a row and it is only natural there will be a bit of anxiety and a bit of stress. It should have been a more comfortable victory but the most important thing is we won the game.”

What next for Tottenham?

Tuesday, May 14: Manchester City (H), Premier League, 8pm BST, 3pm ET

City can all but wrap up the title with victory on Tuesday, which many Tottenham fans may be quite relaxed about given it would deny Arsenal a first championship in 20 years, but they do have a strong record against Pep Guardiola’s team at home.

Spurs have won their last four home league meetings with City, whose winner in January’s FA Cup tie in north London was their first goal at Tottenham’s new stadium in what was their sixth visit.

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(Top photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images)

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