Claret Mountain to Climb
Wednesday 21st January 2009
Aint no Mountain high enough, aint no river wide enough to keep... the Clarets from Wembley?
Well if the Clarets are to succeed and achieve their dreams of going to Wembley they will have to scale Everest and cross the Nile at its widest point this Wednesday night by defeating Spurs 3-0 or more in the second leg of the Carling Cup Semi-Final at Turf Moor.
Tottenham Hotspur defeated the Clarets 4-1 in the first leg at White Hart Lane earlier this month, a result that flattered Spurs really after an awesome first half performance from the Clarets who led 1-0 at half-time.
It has been a pretty torrid time for the Clarets over the Christmas and New Year period with only one win (against QPR in the FA Cup third round replay) in seven games in all competitions.
The question is what will the Clarets confidence be like going into this game on Wednesday night? Nothing seems to be going right at the moment. In the league we have lost four games on the trot. In the first three we were awful and in the last against Preston our luck deserted us thanks to two very harsh penalty decisions.
Somehow we have to put our recent form and the results going against us to one side and focus on the Wembley dream. It is such a tall order though to beat any team, let alone a classy Premier League side like Spurs by a margin of three goals or more and stop them getting an appropriate away goal or two. That is what we have to do though and to quote a famous Spurs player of the past, Jimmy Greaves 'It`s a funny old game!`
Well we did beat Arsenal 2-0 at Turf Moor and imagine the pressure Spurs would then be under if we could get a two goal lead again with time to spare to try and get that all important third goal?
The first goal is the key and realistically that goal has to come from the Clarets and as early as possible if we are to be in with a chance.
We just need the lads to play like they did in the first half at White Hart Lane but for 90 minutes and who knows what might happen.
You can do it lads, come on you Clarets shine the crampons and inflate the dinghies!!
Predicted Team Sheet
The Clarets seem to have come through the Preston game unscathed and welcome back Wade Elliott who returns after a one match suspension for a fifth yellow. However the most unlucky player in the squad must surely be captain, Steven Caldwell who finds himself suspended again after missing the first leg at White Hart Lane. This time he has to sit the game out after picking up a fifth yellow in the FA Cup match against QPR a week ago.
That loss inevitably means we will probably be forced to play with a straight back four and no holding midfielder. Duff will be in the centre, his best position to be honest with Alexander taking over the right back role.
With Thompson cup tied, it looks like Blake will play just behind Paterson and after his thunderbolt goal from a 30 yard free kick against Preston on Saturday, may have earned a starting place anyway.
The team could look something like this:
Jensen, Alexander Carlisle, Duff, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Blake, Paterson
Subs from (allowed 7): Penny, Kalvenes, Mahon, MacDonald, McDonald (if fit), Kay, Rodriguez, Akinbiyi
Burnley Team News:
Elliott returns but Caldwell is suspended. Thompson is cup tied. The only injury doubt apart from Van der Schaaf (kidney problem) appears to be Kevin McDonald and Clarets fans await news of his fitness.
Player to watch: Chris Eagles
We need Eagles to be on top form and play like he did in the first leg but this time for 90 minutes rather than go off the boil a bit like he did in the second half. A quality player and the biggest threat to Spurs with his Premier League experience.
Tottenham Hotspur Team News:
I suppose the big question is whether Harry Redknapp will think he has done enough in the first round to risk playing some of his fringe players.
According to the Vital Spurs mob, he has often threatened to do so but never has to date. One young player who is highly rated but has yet to play a first team game for Spurs is 19 year old attacking midfielder, Adel Taarabt. The Frenchman from Morocco could be a candidate for the bench at the very least.
I suspect however Redknapp will want to try and make sure of a place at Wembley and will field his strongest team which could mean we will be seeing Jermain Defoe in the line-up after they paraded their new signing and former player in the first leg at White Hart Lane.
Vital Burnley will bring you the Spurs team news below this article as announcements are made over the next few days
Player to watch: All of them again!
That Pavlovawhatsit chap needs watching and of course if Defoe plays, somehow we will have to keep him quiet
Last Time We Met
It was a cruel bitterly cold night at White Hart Lane in the first leg earlier this month. Burnley fans were warmed by a dazzling first half display by the Clarets who led 1-0 at half time thanks to a clever mazy run by Eagles who crossed for Paterson to score. If only Blake had got the second with his header that went inches wide!
The second half was a different story with the Clarets hit by a sucker punch just two minutes into the start of the second half with Dawson getting the equaliser. 20 minutes later and it was all over and Spurs were leading 4-1 with the shell-shocked Clarets not knowing what hit them. This was cruel justice and I still think that result flattered Spurs.
Hertfordshire referee, Mark Halsey who now lives in Bolton
I have to say 3-0 but I will be happy if we just win if we can`t get the required number of goals. Not many Championship sides (if any) will be able to say they beat four Premier League sides in a game of football all in the same season. The scalps of Fulham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs would look good in the trophy room but the Carling Cup would look even better .Come on you Clarets! By the way just to clarify the law if we are leading 3-0 after 90 minutes: Carling Cup 2008/9 Season Rule 13.5 In the Semi-Final ties, if the aggregate score is level at the end of the second game an extra half-hour shall be played. If the aggregate scores are still level at the end of extra time the tie shall be decided by goals scored away from home counting twice. If the teams remain equal after this procedure the tie shall be determined by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark in accordance with the Laws of Association Football.
If we don`t get to Wembley via the Carling Cup then we will have to try all over again via the FA Cup and it just so happens that the next match will be the FA Cup fourth round game against struggling Premier L:eague side, West Brom at the Hawthorns on Saturday 24th January @3pm KO. Games are coming thick and fast at the moment. We will have played nine matches by the end of January and we shall have to hope this doesn`t take its toll on our promotion hopes.