Harry Kane has scored 21 goals in 29 Premier League appearances in 2016. Last season he played in every league game for Tottenham, bagging 25 times to lift the Golden Boot as Spurs came within a whisker of winning the league for the first time in 45 years.
He’s their talisman, star striker and gives hope to the fans that trophies and glory are heading back to the Lane. This season, though, he injured ankle ligaments in the 1-0 win over Sunderland in September (and game in which he inevitably scored the winner) and was forced to miss the next ten games. Now that the 23-year-old is fit again, can he save Tottenham’s season, deliver a trophy and improve the north Londoners’ odds of landing the title in May?
Back in August Tottenham began the season at a steady pace. An opening 1-1 draw at Everton was nothing spectacular and was followed by a nervy 1-0 win against Crystal Palace thanks to new boy Victor Wanyama’s goal. A draw with Liverpool and a 4-0 victory at Stoke stretched the unbeaten run to four games. It was in that win at The Britannia that Kane struck his first of the campaign. Next up were Sunderland. Three points were taken, but at the expense of Harry’s injury during a challenge with Papy Djilobodji. He was carried off on a stretcher and wouldn’t return until the north London derby with Arsenal 49 days later.
At first it appeared Harry’s absence would not be as drastic as the fans and pundits feared. A 5-0 EFL Cup win over Gillingham allowed new £17 million striker Vincent Janssen to score his first of the season and the unbeaten league run went to seven games with defeats of Middlesbrough and, impressively, Man. City. Heung-Min Son became Tottenham’s top goal threat with a double at Boro and a Champions League winner at CSKA Moscow. However, October became a poor month for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, both with results and displays in front of goal. A 1-1 score line at West Brom and consecutive 0-0 games with Leverkusen and Bournemouth were frustrating. The mood was compounded by a 2-1 loss to Liverpool in the EFL Cup and 1-1 draw with struggling Leicester. On November 2 there were no early fireworks from Spurs as defeat to Leverkusen put them at risk of being dumped from the Champions League. Of the games Kane was forced to watch from the side-lines, Tottenham won the first four but then didn’t win any of the next six. A real mixed bag for sure.
Kane’s comeback against Arsenal was marked with a goal from the spot in a 1-1 draw at The Emirates. He then scored a dramatic late double to defeat West Ham 3-2, but even his goal couldn’t prevent a 2-1 loss to Monaco in Europe before London rivals Chelsea stopped their unbeaten Premier League run thanks to a 2-1 victory. Kane responded with a brace in a 5-0 thumping of Swansea and another in a 3-1 Champions League triumph over CSKA, which at least kept them in the Europa League. There’s no arguing with the fact that Kane has cracked in seven goals in seven games since being fit and no manager in the land would pick Janssen or Son over the England international. Inspiring another title tilt after Christmas, like he did last season, must surely be beyond even ‘Super Hurri-Kane’. Right now the fans would happily take just a top-four finish come May and with a guy who’s scored 56 goals in 96 top-flight appearances, don’t rule it out.