Tottenham Hotspur face Burnley this weekend after a lengthy period of rest and rehabilitation, and their recent record against the Clarets bodes well for a thrashing.
Spurs beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in the Champions League last week but did not play at the weekend, due to their elimination from the FA Cup by Crystal Palace.
They return to action with a game against Sean Dyche’s men, a side to whom they have not lost since 2010.
Indeed, under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs have played Burnley nine times. They have won six of them, by an aggregate total score of 14-5. They have never lost during his reign.
Last time out, a late Christian Eriksen goal gave Spurs victory in the 91st minute at Wembley. But this time, there can be no such conservatism – Spurs have to go for the jugular.
Pochettino’s men have kept pace with Manchester City and Liverpool thus far this season and lie five points behind the pair. However, their goal difference is significantly weaker. Spurs have a goal difference of 29; Liverpool’s is 44 and Manchester City’s 54.
Essentially, Pochettino’s side are six points back. If they are to draw level with Liverpool, they will not overhaul them, such is their goal difference.
A trip to Turf Moor, then, comes at the perfect time. Burnley are currently 15th in the league and have conceded 47 goals this season. Only Fulham and Huddersfield Town, in 19th and 20th, have let in more.
They are not lambs to the slaughter, of course, and they have enjoyed a run of relative form recently. They defeated Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 last time out and also drew with Southampton and Manchester United recently.
But Spurs are better than those teams – that includes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s revitalised United.
And they need goals. The game with Burnley comes before back-to-back derbies against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Arsenal at Wembley. They will likely be tight affairs, decided by a single goal or perhaps two.
If the goalscoring gap to Liverpool is to be bridged, then, Spurs need to put plenty past Burnley. They will not expect to score the 15 goals needed to haul themselves level but they need to put some sort of dent in it.
Their biggest win over Burnley in the Premier League came in 2009, in a 5-0 thrashing at White Hart Lane. Robbie Keane scored four goals.
That sort of result is needed again this weekend, and Spurs have just the man to match Keane’s feats.
Harry Kane is nearing a return to full fitness after suffering ankle ligament damage against Manchester United in January and Pochettino confirmed last week that he could play a part against the Clarets.
“He’s doing well. He’s doing fantastic,” said Pochettino, per Metro.
“We have to stop him every day, because he wants to be ahead of his recovery and he’s very optimistic and his determination to play as soon as possible is unbelievable.
“If you see him, he’s nearly ready to play, but we need to be realistic too. I think he’s so close to come back again, not for Sunday and not for Wednesday, but we’ll see after.”
Kane has scored 20 goals in all competitions already this season and netted a hat-trick the last time Spurs visited Turf Moor, scoring all three goals in a 3-0 win.
A repeat performance this weekend would be manna from heaven for Pochettino, but he also has the in-form Son Heung-Min to call on if Kane cannot make the starting XI.
The South Korea international has been masterful since his return from Asian Cup duty with South Korea, scoring in all three of his Premier League outings and also netting the opening goal in the 3-0 trouncing of Dortmund last week.
Pochettino has the armoury he needs to put some dents in Liverpool’s lead over them this weekend. He just has to unleash Spurs and allow them to play the full throttle football that has seen them dismantle the likes of Dortmund, Chelsea and Manchester United already this season.
Momentum, after all, is key in this title race and Spurs cannot pin their hopes of lifting the trophy on winning 1-0 in injury time.