Burnley v Tottenham: the predictions and the psychology

Tottenham Hotspur may be third in the league, with only the most optimistic of their supporters thinking they might overtake both of the clubs above them to win the league in colour (as their manager suggested the other day), but when it comes to away form, they are supreme.

Away games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 13 9 3 1 24 8 16 30
3 Manchester City 13 8 2 3 25 9 16 26
4 Manchester United 14 8 2 4 27 19 8 26

Over two goals a game away from home scored, and only two matches all season that they have not won.  It is quite a remarkable record.

This form hasn’t come completely out of the blue (they were second in the away league last season) but it is an improvement.  Last season they had four away draws and five away defeats by the end of the season.

Burnley at home however are in the lower part of the league

Home games only

14 Fulham 13 4 3 6 17 26 -9 15
15 Leicester City 12 4 2 6 13 13 0 14
16 Burnley 12 4 2 6 15 22 -7 14
17 Crystal Palace 13 3 4 6 9 12 -3 13
18 Newcastle United 13 4 1 8 12 18 -6 13
19 Southampton 13 2 6 5 15 21 -6 12
20 Huddersfield Town 14 1 2 11 6 22 -16 5

15 goals scored at home and 22 conceded.   On the basis of home and away form this looks very much like Tottenham’s game.

The only thing that might work in Burnley’s favour is Tottenham’s champions league game (this preview being written before that is played).  But other than that there is not too much to unsettle the team.  There have been three defeats in the last seven games, which is unusual, but the last three have been won.

13 Jan 2019 Tottenham H v Manchester United L 0-1
20 Jan 2019 Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur W 1-2
24 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur LC L 2-1 (4-2)
27 Jan 2019 Crystal Palace v Tottenham H  FAC L 2-0
30 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Watford W 2-1
02 Feb 2019 Tottenham H v Newcastle United W 1-0
10 Feb 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City W 3-1

Burnley however are having a tougher time of it

19 Jan 2019 Watford v Burnley D 0-0
26 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Burnley FAC L 5-0
29 Jan 2019 Manchester United v Burnley D 2-2
02 Feb 2019 Burnley v Southampton D 1-1
09 Feb 2019 Brighton and Hove Albion v Burnley W 1-3

The draw with Manchester United game them some hope but otherwise it looks like Tottenham all the way.  I can’t see any psychological factor that will be likely to get in the way.

Tottenham v Newcastle: the psychology, the predictions

If you haven’t been following the home/away form this season this might come as a shock to you, but Tottenham are not that good at home.   In fact the predictions made to the effect that they would fail to make good in their new home have not yet been tested because of building delays.  But the poor form that was predicted has been shown to be as valid in their temporary home of Wembley

Home form only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 12 11 0 1 40 10 30 33
2 Liverpool 12 10 2 0 32 7 25 32
3 Arsenal 13 10 2 1 28 11 17 32
4 Chelsea 12 7 4 1 21 9 12 25
5 Manchester United 12 7 4 1 25 16 9 25
6 AFC Bournemouth 13 7 3 3 25 17 8 24
7 Tottenham Hotspur 11 7 0 4 20 11 9 21

What this means is that if the normal pattern applies – whiich shows that virtually every team runs into trouble when moving from one stadium to another – Tottenham are going to suffer a double blow.  A poor run at Wembley and a poor run at New White Hart Lane.

The one thing that can save them in this match is Newcastle’s away form

Away games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 12 9 2 1 23 7 16 29
3 Manchester City 12 7 2 3 23 9 14 23
4 Chelsea 12 7 1 4 19 14 5 22
5 Manchester United 12 6 2 4 23 19 4 20
6 Leicester City 13 5 3 5 17 18 -1 18
7 Watford 12 4 4 4 17 16 1 16
8 Arsenal 11 4 3 4 22 22 0 15
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 11 4 3 4 11 13 -2 15
10 Crystal Palace 13 4 2 7 18 22 -4 14
11 West Ham United 12 4 2 6 13 19 -6 14
12 Everton 12 3 3 6 15 17 -2 12
13 Newcastle United 11 2 5 4 9 14 -5 11

Newcastle have only won twice away and have only scored nine away goals all season.  Tottenham have scored 20 at “home”.

But there is always a but, and here it is.  Let’s look at Tottenham’s last three home league games

29 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers L 1-3
13 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United L 0-1
30 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Watford W 2-1

Two defeats in three.  Indeed if we look at their last five games we find three defeats.

13 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United L 0-1
20 Jan 2019 Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur W 1-2
24 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur Lge Cup L 2-1 (4-2)
27 Jan 2019 Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur FAC L 2-0
30 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Watford W 2-1

What we are seeing is a club that is desperate to win something to stop the very long trophy drought, startting to get nerves.   In the space of three days the two competitioins that they had the most realistic chance of winning were lost to them (FA Cup and League Cup).

Are these nerves enough to give Tottenham another defeat?  Newcastle’s last four games suggest that maybe they are

15 Jan 2019 Blackburn Rovers v Newcastle United FAC W 2-4
19 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Cardiff City W 3-0
26 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Watford FAC L 0-2
29 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Manchester City W 2-1

Yes Newcastle went down to Watford, but they then followed that up with a stunning win against Man City.  This could another Newcastle day, and another occasion on which Tottenham wished that they hadn’t chose this particuar route to getting a new stadium.

Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur: predictions, psychology, injuries

For Crystal Palace, home advantage is hardly any advantage at all in this match given their record thus far to date…

Home matches only

Pos Team P W D L F A GD
Pts
17 Southampton 11 2 5 4 13 18 -5 11
18 Newcastle United 12 3 1 8 10 17 -7 10
19 Crystal Palace 11 2 3 6 6 11 -5 9
20 Huddersfield Town 12 1 2 9 5 19 -14 5

Two wins, three draws, six defeats and just six goals scored at home in the league all season.

Tottenham however are the away team of the season

Away games only

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 12 9 2 1 23 7 16 29
3 Manchester City 11 7 2 2 22 7 15 23
4 Chelsea 11 7 1 3 19 10 9 22

Tottenham have scored five times as many goals away from home as Palace have at home, although they have also conceded two more.

Since the 3rd round of the FA Cup Palace have had two defeats

05 Jan 2019 Crystal Palace v Grimsby Town FAC W 1-0
12 Jan 2019 Crystal Palace v Watford L 1-2
19 Jan 2019 Liverpool v Crystal Palace L 4-3

As for Tottenham, since the third round…

04 Jan 2019 Tranmere Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur FAC W 0-7
08 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea Lge Cup W 1-0
13 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United L 0-1
20 Jan 2019 Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur W 1-2

Tottenham have beaten Chelsea in the league cup, lost at home to Manchester United and won away to Fulham – although the latter by only 2-1.

But things get interesting when we look at the injuries…

Tottenham’s injury list includes Alli and Kane.  So while Sissoko, Moura and Wanyama all stand a chance of being fit for the game – the two players they probably want most, certainly can’t play.

Palace have three injuries: Guaita, Hannessey, Souare.

The question is will the injuries to Tottenham’s famous pair unbalance the team?  It is possible.

The psychological issues

Palace have been runners up in the FA Cup twice (1990 and 2016) while Tottenham have won it eight times.  But they have not got the trophy since 1991 – a long wait for a club whose main triumphs have been in the cup competitions rather than the league.

Tottenham will expect to knock Palace aside easily, and I suspect they will do just that – but there is that one psychological issue: the lack of their two key players.  If they think on that, and if Palace sneak the first goal, anything could happen.

Tottenham v Man Utd: the predictions, the psychology, the injuries

Tottenham continue to be that oddity – the team that performs better away from home than at home.

Partly this is to do with the fact that they are at Wembley, instead of New White Hart Lane, despite promises that the ground would be ready for this season.  Partly we have to take into account the fact that they have played fewer home games, courtesy of arrangements with the Football League to help them.

This last point affects the table so today here is the League table for home games only, with the average points per game shown in the final column.

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts Av
1 Manchester City 11 10 0 1 37 10 27 30 2.72
2 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28 2.80
3 Arsenal 11 8 2 1 24 10 14 26 2.36
4 Chelsea 11 6 4 1 19 8 11 22 2.00
5 Manchester United 10 6 3 1 21 13 8 21 2.10
6 Tottenham Hotspur 9 6 0 3 18 9 9 18 2.00

The best performing teams at home are Liverpool and Manchester City, followed by Arsenal, Man U, and then Chelsea and Tottenham.  So Tottenham’s lack of games does not hide a higher position – they are sixth in the home league even when games played are taken into account.

Here is Manchester United’s away record

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 12 10 0 2 28 12 16 30
2 Liverpool 11 8 2 1 22 7 15 26
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20
5 Manchester United 11 5 2 4 22 19 3 17

Man U have certainly been performing more modestly away from home than the hype that constantly surrounds the club would suggest.

But Man U’s recent results have been remarkable since their change of manager

2 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Manchester United W 1-5
26 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Huddersfield Town W 3-1
30 Dec 2018 Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth W 4-1
02 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Manchester United W 0-2
05 Jan 2019 Manchester United v Reading FAC W 2-0

16 goals in five games scored and three conceded.   Of course their away wins in this run have been against Cardiff and Newcastle, and indeed all the clubs they have played have had more modest ambitions in terms of the league and cup, but still, it is an improvement over the results gained by the previous manager.

Tottenham’s last five games give us

26 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth W 5-0
29 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers L 1-3
01 Jan 2019 Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur W 0-3
04 Jan 2019 Tranmere Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur FAC W 0-7
08 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea Lge Cup W 1-0

The defeat against Wolverhampton was a surprise – but again a reflection of the stuttering home form.   Conventional wisdom (actually based on quiate a large number of clubs) is that clubs do slip up when they change ground.  There seems to be an air of exceptation among supporters that a new ground means new achievements, but it doesn’t happen.  Tottenham may well have to face this twice because of a season playing home match at Wembley before a season at New White Hart Lane.

But on the other hand they have beaten Bournemouth 5-0 at Wembley and Chelsea 1-0.

The psychology

Manchester United are full of new belief, which is often known as the new manager bounce.   But all new manager bounces come to an end, and then normal service (as in what it was like before the psychological effect kicked in) returns.

Except in Manchester United’s case they were clearly underperforming given the talent available on the pitch, so this is a hard one to call.

As for Tottenham, the players know that Wembley is not home and that they were promised a stadium at home for the start of the season and there has been mumbling from the supporters.

I think the psychology could sway this one and that Manchester United could win.

The injuries.

Tottenham report five injuries according to physioroom.  Moura and Dembele are both a major doubt for this game, Dier, Vertonghen, Wanyama are out.   For Manchester Unitred Sanchez is a doubt, Rojo and Smalling are out.  Pogba might make it to the bench.

So overall, I’ll go for Man U.

Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur, the predictions

Tuesday 1 January 2019

  • 17:30 Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur
  • Referee: Kevin Friend
  • Assistants: Stuart Burt, Matthew Wilkes
  • Fourth official: Simon Hooper

The prediction we’ve thought might well come true with regards to Tottenham is that once they move to their new home stadium they will have a problem.   That’s nothing to do with Tottenham as such, but rather to do with the fact that most clubs on moving grounds have a problem.  It was a pattern that began in the 1990s with Middlesbrough moving and being relegated.  Stoke, Bolton, Derby, Sunderland, Wigan, Reading, Southampton, Hull, and Leicester all followed.

Of course not everyone goes down when they build a new ground – especially if they are funded from the public purse such as Manchester City and West Ham United; but it can happen.

This is not to say that Tottenham will end up being relegated next season, but it is a sign that moving ground can cause a bit of a wobble.

And I wonder if we have seen a little bit of that, even before the new stadium is opened, with Tottenham Hotspur.  Looing at their results of late what we see is…

02 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur L 4-2
05 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton W 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur W 0-2
15 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley W 1-0
23 Dec 2018 Everton v Tottenham Hotspur W 2-6
26 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth W 5-0
29 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers L 1-3

A wonderful run of wins in the league (cup games have been omitted from the above) and then suddenly the wobble on 29 December, after scoring 11 goals in two games.  Of course I am not sure when the actual start date is for the new ground, but it must be sometime soon, surely.

For this game, Cardiff at home are not fairing well, but given their aspirations at the start of the year maybe that is to be expected…

This is the home table…

Club P W D L F A GD
Pts
9 AFC Bournemouth 10 5 2 3 16 14 2 17
10 Watford 11 5 1 5 16 18 -2 16
11 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 10 2 14
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14
13 West Ham United 10 4 1 5 14 16 -2 13
14 Cardiff City 10 4 1 5 13 20 -7 13
15 Fulham 10 3 3 4 12 19 -7 12
16 Burnley 10 3 1 6 12 20 -8 10
17 Southampton 10 1 6 3 11 15 -4 9

Four wins one draw and five defeats so far at home, and they are facing Tottenham, whose away form seems to suggest that they are just relieved not to be playing at Wembley.  This is Tottenham’s away form…

1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 18 7 11 20

Nine wins, two defeats and scoring over two goals a game while letting in just one – that is quite something for an away form.

So can Tottenham pick themselves up after a home defeat?  Certainly if that away form is something they are very conscious of.

The biggest worry for Cardiff must be that their overall form in December could have been better…

04 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Cardiff City L 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Southampton W 1-0
15 Dec 2018 Watford v Cardiff City L 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Manchester United L 1-5
26 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Cardiff City D 0-0
29 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Cardiff City W 0-1

Just two wins to report, both by 1-0, both against teams that looked possibles for defeat.

If Cardiff were to win, that would certainly put the worries into the Tottenham camp just before the move away from Wembley.  But for the moment I’ll go with a 0-2 to Tottenham.

Totteham Hotspur v Wolverhampton: the predictions

If Tottenham do have a weakness it is at home as this league table based only on home matches shows

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
2 Liverpool 9 8 1 0 22 2 20 25
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 0 2 17 6 11 18

Even if Tottenham won both their home games in hand they would still only be third in the table, and winning both those home games is by no means certain.

Plus they have a problem: they will at some stage move to the new stadium, and unless they overthrow all historic prescedents that will give them some further issues.

It is not that they are bad at home thus far – not at all – but they are not operating at the level of the top two, which is where they aim to be.

As the table below shows they are in fact operating brilliantly away from home.  And this table shows why they certainly ought to win this match with ease for Wolverhampton are very much a mid-table away side

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 9 6 1 2 18 8 10 19
4 Manchester City 9 5 2 2 16 6 10 17
5 Arsenal 9 4 3 2 21 16 5 15
6 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14
7 West Ham United 9 4 2 3 13 12 1 14
8 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14
9 Watford 9 3 3 3 11 10 1 12
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 3 3 3 8 9 -1 12

Three wins, three draws and three defeats with just eight goals scored and nine conceded does not give one the feeling that this team can defeat a team which has won six and lost two at home scoring 17 and conceding six.

Indeed since their defeat to Arsenal away from home Tottenham have regained their form in the league…

05 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton W 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur W 0-2
15 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley W 1-0
23 Dec 2018 Everton v Tottenham Hotspur W 2-6
26 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth W 5-0

Form can’t get better than that, not least with 11 goals in the last two games.  True Wolverhampton have not been doing too bad in the last five…

05 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea W 2-1
09 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers W 1-2
15 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v AFC Bournemouth W 2-0
21 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool L 0-2
26 Dec 2018 Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers D 1-1

And their defence looks solid, so they might well reduce Tottenham down from the five and six level, both because they are a defensive team and Tottenham are at Wembley, but even so anything other than a clear Tottenham victory by two goals or more would be a great surprise.

Other predictions…

 

Arsenal v Tottenham (League Cup 19 Dec). The predictions

League cup games can be harder to predict because of the way that clubs can on occasion put out weaker teams but in the case of Arsenal v Tottenham we probably will see very strong teams from both sides because of the intensity of the competition.

Here is Arsenal’s home form

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 9 9 0 0 33 6 27 27
2 Liverpool 8 7 1 0 18 2 16 22
3 Chelsea 9 6 3 0 19 7 12 21
4 Arsenal 9 6 2 1 17 8 9 20
5 Everton 9 5 3 1 16 9 7 18

Tottenham this season are top of the away form table, although partly this is because of their propensity for playing more away games than home (after they predicted their stadium would open not in 2019 but in September 2018.

To adjust for this a final column is added showing the average points away from home so far this season.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts Av
1 Tottenham Hots 10 8 0 2 19 10 9 24 2.4
2 Liverpool 9 7 2 0 19 5 14 23 2.5
3 Manchester City 8 5 2 1 15 4 11 17 2.1
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 7 9 16 2.0
5 Arsenal 8 4 2 2 20 15 5 14 1.75

Tottenham’s ranking is still very good at 2.4 points per game, second only to Liverpool.

Using this method of average points, Tottenham might expect to beat Arsenal in the league cup match with their 2.4 points per game away from home against Arsenal’s 2.2 points at home.

The goals tally is very close.  Tottenham have 19 goals away from home, conceding ten.   Arsenal have scored 17 at home conceding eight.   So the goal difference is equal.  It looks like the match could come down to who is coping best with the number of injuries.  Both sides have been suffering this season in this regard.

Tottenham are top of the injury league with eight men out at present while Arsenal are on six men unavailable.  So both are suffering there, and I suspect the managers will not only look at the skill of any younger players they want to promote but also their ability to cope mentally with such a high tension occasion.  We may also note that Tottenham will be given a much higher number of tickets than normal.

Tottenham will be keen to avoid the storm Arsenal produced in the league game between the two when Arsenal came back from 2-1 down to win 4-2.   I think a tighter match will happen this time with the game ending in normal time 1-1.   What happens in injury time could be down to who is kicking who and how many players are left on the pitch.