Tottenham 4 Burnley 2
It was a night that ticked most of the boxes for a topsy-turvy FA Cup replay. There was terrible defending; a contender for the miss of the season; arguments and a dash of controversy, not to mention a wild swing in how it all went. And at the end of it, Tottenham Hotspur were easy winners.
It had not looked as though that would happen when Burnley surged into a two-goal lead. Tottenham rode the storm and with Paulinho, Étienne Capoue and Vlad Chiriches scoring their first goals of the season, they got on top of a Burnley team who ran out of puff.
Tottenham’s crowded calender now has another entry – they will face Leicester City here in the fourth round – and they will need to dig deep as they contend with playing every three or four days.
It was a curious 90 minutes because Spurs looked ragged at times. Roberto Soldado somehow missed from point-blank range and there was a bit of edginess, with Jan Vertonghen and the goalkeeper Michel Vorm each having squabbles with the returning captain, Younès Kaboul.
But Tottenham still had too much for a Burnley team which lacked its usual spine of the captain Jason Shackell, Dean Marney and Danny Ings. Marney did come on as a late substitute but Sean Dyche, the manager, looked to have one eye on Saturday's Premier League match at home to Crystal Palace.
Burnley had arrived with the morale boost of having clambered out of the Premier League’s bottom three with the home win over Queens Park Rangers and they were two goals to the good before Tottenham had time to catch their breath.
The opening goal was the result of faintly ludicrous defending and the second was underpinned by a heavy slice of fortune. Burnley did not complain. Mauricio Pochettino had restored the captain, Kaboul, to the centre of the Tottenham defence, after an eight-game absence, but he and Vertonghen were caught out by a long punt forward by Kieran Trippier.
It was taken down by Marvin Sordell and, with Kaboul nowhere and Vertonghen trailing in Sordell's wake, the striker fizzed a shot past Vorm. The second arrived after Benjamin Stambouli had fouled Trippier in a central position, 25 yards from goal. Ross Wallace, who was one of five Burnley changes from the QPR game, hit the free-kick and it deflected heavily off Soldado in the wall to wrong-foot Vorm.
Tottenham needed an immediate response and they got it when Andros Townsend stood up a cross from the right, Michael Duff dithered and Soldado flicked on. Paulinho had timed his run and, having taken a smart touch on his chest, he hooked past Tom Heaton from close range. The midfielder had come to feel like a forgotten man, although not as forgotten as Emmanuel Adebayor. The striker has been fit and available since the league meeting against Burnley here on December 20th but this was the seventh matchday squad in succession from which he was omitted. It does not take a genius to see that Pochettino has lost all faith in him.
Pochettino made seven changes from the team who had lost at Crystal Palace on Saturday and there were teething troubles, which were reflected when Kaboul and Vertonghen exchanged angry words on 22 minutes.
But despite their wobbles, Tottenham played on the front foot and they equalised when Ben Davies crossed, Paulinho tussled with Scott Arfield and the ball ran for Capoue, who thrashed home a low drive.
Soldado was a relieved man. Moments earlier, he had somehow found a way to miss from four yards with the goal at his mercy. From Townsend’s inviting low cross, Soldado lifted his shot against the crossbar.
Burnley’s electric start came to feel like a distant memory. They were pressed back and they struggled to get out. It felt significant that the home crowd had been moved to barrack Heaton for taking his time over a goalkick in only the 38th minute.
Tottenham turned the screw early in the second half, although Dyche argued loudly that they ought not to have had the corner from which Chiriches bundled home at the far post. He felt that Chiriches’s original shot had not deflected off one of his players on its way wide.
Soldado battled to make amends for his howler and he got his second assist with a measured low cross from the right, which Danny Rose stabbed past Heaton. Vorm rounded on Kaboul after a mix-up and Soldado almost added his name to the scoresheet, but Tottenham were home and dry.
Bradford produced another night to remember at Valley Parade and booked a coveted trip to Chelsea by sending 10-man Championship strugglers Millwall spinning to a 4-0 third-round replay defeat.
West Yorkshire club Bradford defied the odds to reach the Capital One Cup final two years ago with famous wins against Arsenal and Aston Villa along the way, and in their latest cup outing they swept aside the Londoners, who never recovered from the early dismissal of defender Mark Beevers.
Ian Holloway's side were reduced to 10 men in the sixth minute, found themselves 3-0 down at half-time following goals from James Hanson, Jon Stead and Andy Halliday and conceded a fourth when Billy Knott struck early in the second period.
FA Cup 4th round: Southampton v Crystal Palace; Cambridge Utd v Manchester Utd; Blackburn Rovers v Swansea City; Chelsea v Bradford City; Derby County v Chesterfield; Preston NE v Sheffield Utd; Birmingham v West Brom; Aston Villa v Bournemouth; Cardiff City v Reading; Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers; Tottenham v Leicester City; Brighton v Arsenal; Rochdale v Stoke City ; Sunderland v Fulham; Bristol City v West Ham; Manchester City v Middlesbrough.
Ties to be played across the weekend beginning January 24th.