Tottenham Hotspur-Burnley Preview
Tottenham Hotspur are again on a roll, and they might have their star back to help it continue.
Harry Kane could make his much-anticipated return from injury as Spurs attempt to push their winning run over all competitions to five games Saturday against a steadily improving Burnley side at Turf Moor.
Kane, who has missed seven games since suffering an ankle injury in the closing moments of a 1-0 loss to Manchester United on Jan. 13, was originally expected to be out until March. However, he returned to training this week, and is expected to face a late fitness test to confirm his availability for this contest.
"He's good, he's very good," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said during his press conference this week. "I think he's doing well, and we're happy with him. (Kane) wants to be ready as soon as possible. ... It could be a massive impact for everyone."
While having Kane in the fold would obviously provide a major lift for Spurs (20-0-6), it can be argued they don't need him to be rushed back. Tottenham are locked into third place in the top-flight at the moment and 5-0-2 since their star went down. Those losses came at Chelsea within the Premier League and at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup.
They've totaled 12 goals during that stretch, with four courtesy of Heung-Min Son. He opened the scoring and Jan Vertonghen added a goal with an assist in last week's 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in Champions League play.
"It's been proven right, they're not just about Harry Kane," Burnley manager Sean Dyche said of Tottenham at his own press conference this week. "They've got some top, top players."
Kane assisted on Christian Eriksen's goal in the first minute of stoppage time as Spurs managed a 1-0 triumph over the Clarets at Wembley on Dec. 15. Tottenham are 6-3-0 versus Burnley over all competitions dating to a 4-2 loss in May 2010.
That setback began a stretch of three straight defeats for Burnley, who have since turned their season around by going 4-3-0 within the top-flight to enter this matchday 15th in the table. After posting three consecutive draws within the league, the Clarets prevailed 3-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion in their most recent match on Feb. 9.
Chris Wood scored twice and Ashley Barnes had a goal with an assist as Burnley won rather easily while somewhat playing things safe and holding 36 percent of the possession.
"There is still lots of work to be done, but we are in a better place than we were," Dyche told Burnley's official website. "But we have to continue in that vein.
"We don't run away with ourselves because things can change quickly. But the players deserve credit, and they are certainly grounded enough to know there's more to come."
The Clarets could receive a boost to their cause with the possible returns of wing players Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady, after each sat out the Brighton victory. However, it seems unlikely midfielder Steven Defour will remain out with a calf issue, according to the club's official website.
Updated February 21, 2019