Burnley 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Ben Mee headed Burnley closer to safety as Sean Dyche’s side secured back-to-back wins for the first time in 13 months with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor.
The Clarets had won only one league match all season prior to Saturday’s 3-0 victory away to Brighton, but are now two points from safety after another hugely encouraging performance.
Mee made the difference in the 71st minute when he beat Cristian Romero to head home Josh Brownhill’s free-kick to a huge roar from the Turf Moor faithful, who witnessed only their second home league win since January 2021 – also the last time they won successive matches.
This fixture was originally due to take place on November 28th but was called off due to heavy snow. Instead, it was played out in incessant rain in East Lancashire.
Tottenham – unchanged from Saturday’s 3-2 win away to Manchester City – needed less than 30 seconds to earn their first corner of the night as Son Heung-min teed up Harry Kane whose shot was deflected wide by James Tarkowski on his return to the side.
But other than that early scare, Burnley could claim to have had the better of the first half.
The only shot on target in the opening 45 minutes belonged to them, even if it was a relatively tame volley from Brownhill.
But it was the hosts, with confidence renewed after Saturday’s win, who appeared to be playing with the greater verve, passing the ball quickly and pinning Tottenham back inside their own half.
Rodrigo Bentancur was left in a heap after twisting when Brownhill spun away from him, while Wout Weghorst was again proving a handful, snapping at the heels of Spurs defenders and winning possession back for his side.
Tottenham grew frustrated as they were unable to test Nick Pope and it was telling that, three minutes before the break, Kane lashed a shot into a crowded box from range – apparently devoid of any other ideas on how to break down the hosts’ stubborn back line.
Bentancur was replaced by Harry Winks at the break as Spurs emerged from the tunnel as a more threatening side.
Son ran much of the length of the pitch to win a free-kick he then took, curling the ball in for Kane to head against the crossbar.
Tarkowski then had to be alert to cut out Ryan Sessegnon’s cross before it landed on the head of Romero who was free in front of goal.
After Mee headed directly at Lloris, Burnley had more defensive work to do as Erik Pieters arrived in the nick of time to take the ball off the toes of Dejan Kulusevski before Kane drilled a shot wide from the edge of the area.
Just after the hour Emerson pulled the ball back for Ben Davies but an outstretched hand from Pope got the ball away.
Kulusevski was next to threaten for Spurs, firing narrowly wide, but having survived that onslaught, Burnley took the lead.
Mee should have settled it once and for all in the 83rd minute when a corner came to him at the far post, but his first shot was blocked before his second effort, going wide, was somehow diverted over by Rodriguez from point-blank range.
Tottenham threatened to make him pay. They wanted a penalty when Winks tumbled under the attentions of Pieters but VAR Stuart Atwell said no before Lucas Moura blazed wastefully over.
The ball fell for Steven Bergwijn after a mistake from Mee inside the box, but his shot was straight at Pope. There would be no denying Burnley a much-needed victory.
Watford 1 Crystal Palace 4
Crystal Palace further distanced themselves from the relegation zone with a convincing 4-1 win over struggling Watford at Vicarage Road.
The Eagles had gone into the game on the back of a long winless run, but took an early lead when Jean-Philippe Mateta’s shot took a fortunate deflection off a defender and into the back of the net.
Watford struck back almost immediately through Moussa Sissoko’s header, but Conor Gallagher’s clever strike just before the half-time whistle retook the lead for Palace.
Wilfried Zaha then wrapped up all three points for the visitors with a low drive past Ben Foster in the Watford goal, before capping it off with a curled 85th-minute strike.
Palace had been without a victory in their last six league games before the trip to Vicarage Road, a run extending back until December 28th which, coupled with Newcastle’s resurgence, saw the bottom four close the gap to the others in the lower half of the table.
However, Patrick Vieira’s side looked composed and clinical in the final third as the Eagles boss got the better of his immediate predecessor Roy Hodgson, and Palace climbed above Leicester into 11th place, nine points above 18th-placed Burnley.
The result leaves Watford four points from safety, and with just one win since the former England boss took the mantle following Claudio Ranieri’s departure.