Opinion: Alarm bells should be ringing when your goalkeeper plays more passes than anyone else
Burnley's most creative outlet? (photo: Getty Images)

Opinion: Alarm bells should be ringing when your goalkeeper plays more passes than anyone else

35 of Joe Hart's 36 distributions were long balls.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Defeated only by a stoppage time winner against a side in the top four. On the face of it, Burnley's 1-0 defeat to Spurs didn't look a bad result.

The scoreline wasn't a fair reflection

Yet Spurs were dominant against Sean Dyche's side, who have dropped back into the relegation zone, bossing the ball with 70% of possession.

The likes of Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min all wasted golden opportunities, whilst Harry Kane could have been awarded a penalty when he collided with James Tarkowski.

A last-gasp winner by Christian Eriksen was a deserved reward for patient play as Burnley sat back with ten men behind the ball in a 5-4-1 formation. The visitors only really offered a second of threat when Ashley Barnes saw a volley blocked in the penalty area.

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Chasing shadows

Spurs' domination was underpinned by the fact their back four played more passes than the entire Burnley team combined. Whilst Toby Alderweireld and Ben Davies manufactured over 100 passes apiece, Joe Hart was the only Claret to make over 30 passes - and he is the goalkeeper.

Ashley Westwood contributed 29 passes, the most by an outfield player for Burnley. In comparison, substitute Eriksen made just five less despite only coming on in the 64th minute.

However, the biggest worry is the accuracy of the Burnley passing. Only Westwood and Cork found the target with over 75% of their passes as the Clarets offered a mere 60% pass accuracy as a team. Every Spurs player recorded more than a 75% success rate apart from Son who was a late substitute.

No link play

The problem for Burnley was the lack of attacking outlets. Barnes was the lone striker for the majority of the contest with only Robbie Brady and Aaron Lennon recognised offensive outlets on either flank.

Yet the Clarets were constantly pushed back, forcing them to go long in the transition. 29% of their passes were long balls, compared to just 11% from the hosts. Overall, Burnley managed almost 400 less passes but still went long with eight more passes than their opponents.

The net result was just 13 touches for the entire Burnley team combined in the Spurs penalty area - less than Kane and Moura as a duo. They need a number ten to link play otherwise it will be a very long second half of the season for the Lancashire club.

 

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